Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1
Saturday, November 28, 1953
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario
Wrapping two early goals into a 60 second power play package, the Maple Leafs knocked off the world champion Montréal Canadiens 3-1 at the Gardens Saturday night.
Once again, the stupendous backstopping of Harry Lumley was a major factor, and the largest crowd of Toronto’s NHL season – 14,288 – appreciated it, even if the three star selector didn’t.
Rudy Migay, a defensive standout, and Smoothie Sid Smith popped goals one minute apart for a 2-0 lead in the opening four minutes, with rearguard Dollard Saint-Laurent of the Habitants sweating out a penalty. Another defensive centre, Long John McCormack, spoiled a shutout for Lumley little more than halfway through the game, but Harry Watson got that back 43 seconds later.
It stayed that way because of Lum’s zing, and because the Leafs carried the play in the final period. It should have been the Habs who were pressuring then. But they didn’t get a chance in the wall of fore-and-backchecking set up by the locals. The first placers were outshot 10-4 over that final 20 minutes to wind up with their first loss in six games.
The Grey Cup night gathering, including scores of cream hatted Westerners trying to drown sorrow amid ice not associated with glasses, witnessed some rigid adherence to the rules.
Referee Bill Chadwick called 14 minors, eight to Toronto, in a fast game where a jolting bodycheck was as scarce as a little Grey (Cup) home in the west. Chadwick bore down because chief referee Carl Voss had been most unhappy over Chadwick’s whistle tooting in a sometimes vicious Leaf-Red Wings game in Detroit last Thursday, when only 10 penalties were called. The Canadiens were weakened early when Elmer Lach’s injured ankle collapsed in the opening period, leaving them with two centres. The ankle was hurt in the game immediately preceding this one, and Lach was sent back to Montréal alone after the game here. Coach Dick Irvin said he feared a fracture.
With Saint-Laurent off, Migay opened the scoring after picking up a loose puck when Eric Nesterenko, who had carried up, was checked. Migay was jostled as he shot, and the drive found the net corner.
Smith was Mr. Opportunity a minute later, after Tim Horton’s long shot hit the post. The puck fell between a sprawling Gerry McNeil and the goal, and Smith reached over to sink it.
Lumley was playing Bouchard’s long hoist perfectly when the puck hit McCormack’s stick and ricocheted into the opposite corner. It was the Goose’s initial goal against his old team since he became Hab property in ’51.
Watson nullified that quickly – with his foot. He zipped across the goalmouth, trying to take a pass from Tod Sloan, and the puck glanced into the net off his skate boot.
NOTES: Lumley stole “Rocket” Richard blind on three occasions. A key play came late in the first when, with the Leafs ahead 2-0, Lum came up with an impossible ankle save on a sizzling Richard backhander…Nesterenko was cut accidentally for seven stitches on the shin by a Canadien skate early in the last period.
Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 30, 1953
MTL PEN – 02:51 – Saint-Laurent, tripping
TOR PP GOAL – 03:13 – Migay (Nesterenko, Thomson)
TOR PP GOAL – 04:13 – Smith (Horton, Kennedy)
TOR PEN – 06:28 – Sloan, interference
MTL PEN – 11:48 – Lach, hooking
TOR PEN – 15:32 – Smith, hooking
TOR PEN – 18:35 – Flaman, holding
TOR PEN – 19:52 – Stewart, holding
MTL PEN – 01:55 – Johnson, spearing
MTL PEN – 02:45 – Saint-Laurent, interference
MTL PEN – 06:31 – Richard, hooking
TOR PEN – 10:19 – Stewart, interference
MTL PP GOAL – 12:38 – McCormack (Bouchard, MacKay)
TOR GOAL – 13:21 – Watson (Sloan, Thomson)
TOR PEN – 15:16 – Flaman, tripping
TOR PEN – 19:37 – Migay, tripping
TOR PEN – 09:50 – Horton, delay of game
MTL PEN – 10:13 – Harvey, high sticking
TOR – Lumley (W, 21-22)
MTL – McNeil (L, 18-21)
SHOTS ON GOAL
TOR – 5+6+10 = 21
MTL – 6+12+4 = 22
TOR – Goaltenders: Harry Lumley. Defence: Fern Flaman, Tim Horton, Jim Morrison, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Earl Balfour, Bob Hassard, Ted Kennedy (C), Howie Meeker, Rudy Migay, Eric Nesterenko, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith, Ron Stewart, Harry Watson.
MTL – Goaltenders: 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, Calum MacKay, John McCormack, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Maurice Richard.