Game 318 – Canadiens 1, Maple Leafs 0

Game 318
Canadiens 1, Maple Leafs 0
Thursday, November 19, 1953
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Montréal’s “Boom Boom” Geoffrion shattered the Maple Leafs’ unbeaten string tonight with a second period snipe shot that lasted for a 1-0 victory.

Goalie Gerry McNeil’s third shutout of the NHL season thus combined with that shot to keep the Canadiens atop the league.

There wasn’t any doubt the Habs deserved the win, second here in as many games. In handing the Leafs their first loss after five triumphs and three ties, they had the better of the play, especially over the first half of the game. But for Harry Lumley, tremendous in the Toronto cage, they might easily have won by more.

The Leafs appeared disorganized at times, and part of the reason may have been line shifting resulting from the absence of George Armstrong. “The Big Chief” accompanied the team here, and it was thought he would play, despite an eight stitch gash above the inside ankle bone of his right foot. But, by game time, the injury remained too sore.

The Habs, who have lost only one game in 11 on home ice this season, were the last team to beat the Leafs before Clancy’s clan ran the streak to eight. Tonight, before 14,421 in The Forum, Tim Horton might have made it a tie instead of a loss on one of those rink length rushes of his in the closing seconds. He would up on McNeil’s goal crease, and Gerry trapped the puck to loud cheers.

Although the game was rugged in spots, the only outbreak came with less than two minutes remaining. Jim Thomson, who, like the other Toronto rearguards played well, collided with Bert Olmstead in front of Lumley. They shoved, and Olmstead threw his glove in Thomson’s face. Thomson took up the ancient challenge, but they were separated after Swinging Jim stopped one blow. They took roughing minors.

The Leafs were most fortunate to stagger through the opening period to a 0-0 draw. The Habs had a wide edge in the play, with an almost perpetual bombardment in the general direction of Harry Lumley’s cage.

With the forwards disorganized and the rearguards hard pressed, it was Lumley who kept them in there. Among his sparkling stops was what looked like a certain goal by Elmer Lach after a passing play in front of the cage. Lum slid from one side to the other to grab Lach’s hard backhand slap with his hand.

Lumley’s personal sound barrier was broken in the fifth minute of the second period. The way the Frenchmen were flying it had to happen, although the Leafs perked up somewhat after that.

Ole Elmer Lach set up the goal by banging a puck past the Leaf defence to “Boom Boom” Geoffrion. “The Boomer,” with no one in front of him but Lumley, scored on a short shot.

NOTES: Leafs assistant manager Hap Day came into town from Pittsburgh, towing Earl Balfour of the Hornet farm hands. The husky left winger, a Marlboro junior two seasons back, played on a line with Bob Hassard and Eric Nesterenko. He replaces Bob Solinger, who joins the Hornets…In place of Armstrong, rookie Bob Bailey started at the right wing spot tonight, his first appearance in eight games. After a couple of shifts, however, coach King Clancy put centre Tod Sloan on right wing and moved Rudy Migay to centre, with Harry Watson retaining his portside patrol. That made for two makeshift lines…”It’s tough when you get hit down the middle,” said managing director Frank Selke of the Habs here after the game, in reference to the continued absence of Jean Béliveau and Dickie Moore through injuries. The great Béliveau, he said, might be out another two weeks or a month, “who knows?”, with that cracked ankle bone. Moore, waiting mending of a broken collarbone, isn’t expected back before the New Year, Selke said. “We’re desperately in need of a centre, and there’s no one I can call for help,” he added…The Leafs’ best line was the only intact one – Ted Kennedy, Sid Smith and Ron Stewart…Lumley, a standout, pulled off a terrific save on “Rocket” Richard in a late minute goalmouth play. Lumley now has allowed 10 goals in the last nine games.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 20, 1953

1st Period
TOR PEN – 07:49 – Balfour, interference
MTL PEN – 12:35 – Harvey, tripping
MTL PEN – 13:51 – Johnson, hooking

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 04:31 – Geoffrion (Lach)
TOR PEN – 09:49 – Smith, interference

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 09:40 – Mazur, hooking
TOR PEN – 17:24 – Morrison, holding
TOR PEN – 18:36 – Thomson, roughing
MTL PEN – 18:36 – Olmstead, roughing

MTL – McNeil (W + SO, 20-20)
TOR – Lumley (L, 22-23)

MTL – 11+7+5 = 23
TOR – 8+4+8 = 20

MTLGoaltenders: Gerry McNeil. Defence: Butch Bouchard (C), Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Bud MacPherson, Eddie Mazur, Dollard Saint-Laurent. Forwards: Floyd Curry, Dick Gamble, Bernie Geoffrion, Elmer Lach, Ed Litzenberger, Calum MacKay, John McCormack, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Maurice Richard.
TORGoaltenders: Harry Lumley. Defence: Fern Flaman, Tim Horton, Jim Morrison, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Bob Bailey, Earl Balfour, Bob Hassard, Ted Kennedy (C), Rudy Migay, Eric Nesterenko, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith, Ron Stewart, Harry Watson.

MTL – 12-7-1 (.625)
TOR – 8-5-5 (.583)