Game 300 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1

Game 300
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1
Thursday, March 13, 1952
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Ides of March came a couple of days early for the Maple Leafs, but they can spend the extra time fitting themselves mentally for first round Stanley Cup jousting with the Detroit Red Wings.

The Montréal Canadiens all but mathematically assured themselves of a second place finish by outscoring the Leafs 3-1 here tonight, in a game which was played with what amounted to a $250 side bet per man. The difference between a second and third place team is $500 per man reward money. The crowd was 14,476.

A blistering 95-foot shot from the centre ice line by Doug Harvey was the payoff blow that crippled the Toronto team’s hopes of evading the powerful Detroits in Stanley Cup play. Not that a blistering 95-foot shot should be remotely considered a good scoring thrust, but this one took a wicked hop as it bounced right in front of the crease, and the puck needled its way into the cords without touching Rollins.

That goal, coming 15 seconds from the end of the second period, gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead, Dick Gamble having fired the opening scoring shot 25 seconds from the end of the first period. It wasn’t actually a shot. He merely held his stick at chest level and deflected a wide backhander by Bernie Geoffrion.

Sid Smith flipped in a backhander a little past the midway mark in the third to undermine the home side’s lead, but large Butch Bouchard went on an offensive rampage that salted the decision for good.

Bouchard bulled his way down the boards, shook off a jolting check by Bill Juzda, rammed the puck against the side of the net, shook off another Juzda belt, and got the rubber out to Geoffrion, who popped his 29th goal into the vacant side.

Although Gerry McNeil and Doug Harvey won the star awards for the Canadiens, Bouchard was their big man. He was throwing his bulk around effectively, and when that missed, his long legs and arms stopped the Leafs.

McNeil was pretty terrific all right, but the Leafs helped him a lot, especially in the second period when Bentley hit the post, Kennedy shot wide and Smith deflected a pass past the nets, all of these with Gerry out of position and the Leafs storming around while Lach was off.

Kennedy was the game’s third star and deservedly. He worked his britches off, but the Canadiens, besides having McNeil in top form, and checking well and closely, were reaping the reward of clean living. On Toronto pressure plays the puck was skittling between skates, sticks and bodies in front of the Montréal goal, but never did it bounce the way it would hurt the Habs.

Referee Bill Chadwick clamped down early in every period in an effort to suppress belligerence. He thumbed Hugh Bolton for charging just 10 seconds after play started, and he nabbed Bouchard for kneeing five seconds after the middle session started.

This didn’t deter Paul Meger and George Armstrong from tangling in a one punch, one sided fight. The pair had high sticked each other and Chadwick whistled for penalties. Then Meger speared Armstrong in the chest, and linesman Sam Babcock got between them.

They formed a moving threesome, each player struggling to get at the other. Armstrong held his right cocked and suddenly flashed a hard uppercut that jolted Meger’s head back sharply. That was it. There was no more, except a rapidly growing mouse under Meger’s left eye.

For all the fighting he did, Meger shouldn’t have won himself a major penalty, but he could have been tagged with an extra minor for spearing. Chadwick also let Bernie Geoffrion get away with jamming his fist in Babcock’s chest, although the referee did speak roughly to “Boom Boom.”

Ray Timgren had two of the game’s best scoring chances when Gardner, then Armstrong, set him up, but both times McNeil saved. Danny Lewicki didn’t see much action, but from the bench he managed to pick himself up a misconduct penalty.

He shouted something from the bench at Chadwick, who had given rookie Bob Sabourin a penalty for holding. If Sabourin is at all confused about what constitutes an illegality, he can be pardoned. Johnson grabbed him and rammed him into the edge of the glass backstop, then grabbed him again seconds later. It was then that Sabourin grabbed Johnson and bingo, there was Mr. Chadwick glaring at him with whistle in mouth.

NOTES: Chadwick was just going to drop the puck for the second period when he skated down to the Montréal end and couldn’t find the goal judge…Saint-Laurent tried to body Sabourin once, but the Saint took the tumble and had to go to the dressing room for repairs…Tod Sloan worked hard up front, and Thomson played well on defence, but Juzda was the only real thumper the Leafs had. They miss Flaman and Mortson.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 14, 1952

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:10 – Bolton, charging
MTL PEN – 08:51 – Harvey, tripping
TOR PEN – 12:41 – Armstrong, spearing + fighting major
MTL PEN – 12:41 – Meger, spearing + fighting major
TOR PEN – 17:52 – Watson, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 19:35 – Gamble (Geoffrion, Reay)

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 01:05 – Bouchard, kneeing
MTL PEN – 05:10 – Lach, hooking
MTL PEN – 09:42 – Harvey, hooking
TOR PEN – 10:09 – Bentley, tripping
TOR PEN – 11:37 – Sabourin, holding
TOR PEN – 11:37 – Lewicki, misconduct
MTL GOAL – 19:45 – Harvey (Olmstead)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 02:26 – Kennedy, slashing
MTL PEN – 02:26 – McCormack, hooking
TOR GOAL – 11:27 – Smith (Sloan, Thomson)
MTL GOAL – 12:56 – Geoffrion (Bouchard)
MTL PEN – 16:52 – Olmstead, holding

MTL – McNeil (W)
TOR – Rollins (L)

MTLGoaltenders: Gerry McNeil. Defence: Butch Bouchard (C), Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Bud MacPherson, Dollard Saint-Laurent. Forwards: Floyd Curry, Dick Gamble, Bernie Geoffrion, Elmer Lach, John McCormack, Paul Meger, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Billy Reay.
TORGoaltenders: Al Rollins. Defence: Hugh Bolton, Bill Juzda, Jim Morrison, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: George Armstrong, Max Bentley, Cal Gardner, Ted Kennedy (C), Danny Lewicki, Howie Meeker, Bob Sabourin, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith, Ray Timgren, Harry Watson.

MTL – 33-23-9 (.577)
TOR – 27-22-16 (.538)