Game 304 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1

Game 304
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1
Thursday, November 13, 1952
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Toronto Maple Leafs bumped the Montréal Canadiens off the National Hockey League’s top rung and grabbed it themselves tonight on some solid thumping that produced a 3-1 triumph over the slowed-down Flying Frenchmen.

Appearing like an entire new road company over the dismal cast that was shut out 4-0 in Boston Tuesday afternoon, the Leafs took over after a dull opening period. They scored all their goals in the middle session, by way of Harry Watson, Ted Kennedy and rookie Ron Stewart. Then they held off a determined attack by the Habitants over the final 20 minutes, with Leaf goalie Harry Lumley a large-sized factor.

Once again, the Leafs held “Rocket” Richard off the scoring summary, as they did in a game here a week ago when he was seeking to break Nels Stewart’s record of 324 goals. “Rocket” produced a new record with a tally against Chicago here last Saturday, but couldn’t add to it tonight in the face of some staunch body and stick checking by newcomer Frank Sullivan (up from the Pittsburgh Hornets and in his second game as a Leaf), rookie Leo Boivin, Gordie Hannigan and Watson.

It was Richard’s linemate, Bert Olmstead, who potted the lone Montréal goal before 14,495 rabid fans in the Forum. That came in the second period and tied the game briefly at 1-1.

Although the tilt came nowhere near some of the classic bang-and-speed affairs put on by the two teams over the years, it did have its rugged action, and flareups threatened a couple of times. With seconds to go in the middle period, Leaf Jim Thomson suffered a cut leg when it was pierced by defenceman Tom Johnson’s skate in a corner melee for possession of the puck. Thomson was treated in the Forum hospital, came back to the Toronto bench for part of the final period, but wasn’t used. It wasn’t known immediately if he’d be kept out of blueline action this weekend.

Watson never will get an easier goal than the one that opened the scoring just 17 seconds after the middle period started. He was standing almost in the goal crease, being checked by Doug Harvey, when Jim Thomson’s long shot struck the Watson stick and zipped into the net.

The Habitants, never as scrappy nor rough as the Leafs, took just 40 seconds to tie it, when Olmstead cashed a backhander while his check, Tod Sloan, breathed down his neck.

Kennedy, kept off the scoring list of late, put the Leafs ahead to stay at the 12 minute mark. He and Stewart broke away from the Leafs end, Kennedy took a pass just inside the Hab blueline, and McNeil could only wave as the puck went by him shoulder high.

Stewart broke out of a scoring slump too, for the tally that made it 3-1 with less than four minutes of the middle period remaining, and was one of the game’s top stars. The goal came off fine teamwork by the Kennedy line, with Smith taking the puck from Harvey beside the Canadiens net to start the proceedings. Kennedy grabbed the puck and bounced it across to Stewart, standing uncovered in front of the cage.

Before that big second period, the teams made it look like a dull evening, although it had a couple of players in stitches. Midway through the opening session, “Rocket” Richard, being hugged by Tim Horton, attempted to extricate his stick, and it wound up by carving a five stitch gash in the noggin of young Leo Boivin, the Leaf rearguard.

A few minutes later, a slap shot by Horton struck Paul Meger on the face, and he escaped with only one stitch in a lip cut. It could have been far more serious.

NOTES: President Clarence Campbell of the NHL was booed so loudly when he went to centre ice to present “Boom Boom” Geoffrion with the Calder rookie trophy before the start of the third period, he couldn’t be heard. Some French speaking press box observers felt the unpopularity was because Campbell overruled a penalty decision handed down by referee George Gravel of Montréal in a Toronto-Boston game several weeks ago. Campbell upheld a Toronto protest of the Gravel decision, the first time Campbell had overruled one of his officials publicly…Max Bentley, suffering from an attack of stomach flu, was off his usual game…Bill Chadwick refereed after taking a couple of needles to relieve lumbago pains in his back…Gerry McNeil, back in the Canadiens cage again, played well. He had missed four games after suffering a fractured cheekbone in Toronto, and his recovery was considered ultra-fast.

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

1st Period
TOR PEN – 03:06 – Sullivan, hooking
TOR PEN – 09:20 – Horton, holding
MTL PEN – 12:02 – Curry, tripping

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 00:17 – Watson (Thomson, Migay)
MTL GOAL – 00:57 – Olmstead (Harvey)
MTL PEN – 09:07 – Masnick, holding
TOR GOAL – 11:54 – Kennedy (Stewart)
TOR GOAL – 16:25 – Stewart (Kennedy, Smith)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 05:37 – Horton, tripping

TOR – Lumley (W, 26-27)
MTL – McNeil (L, 18-21)

TOR – 4+12+5 = 21
MTL – 5+11+11 = 27

TORGoaltenders: Harry Lumley. Defence: Leo Boivin, Fern Flaman, Tim Horton, Frank Sullivan, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: George Armstrong, Max Bentley, Gord Hannigan, Bob Hassard, Ted Kennedy (C), Rudy Migay, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith, Ron Stewart, Harry Watson.
MTLGoaltenders: Gerry McNeil. Defence: Butch Bouchard (C), Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Dollard Saint-Laurent. Forwards: Floyd Curry, Dick Gamble, Bernie Geoffrion, Elmer Lach, Paul Masnick, John McCormack, Paul Meger, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard.

TOR – 8-5-2 (.600)
MTL – 7-4-3 (.607)