Game 333 – Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 4

Game 333
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 4
Thursday, November 18, 1954
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The streaking Maple Leafs came from behind twice and went ahead once, before the Montréal Canadiens cooled them out with a last minute 5-4 victory in front of 14,692 jumping Forum customers tonight.

Jean Béliveau’s sharp blast from the edge of the crease, while Rudy Migay was serving the only penalty of the period, unwrapped the third tie situation of the game and ended Toronto’s seven game winning streak and nine game unbeaten string.

The game was marked by Ted Kennedy’s 500th National League scoring point, when he drew an assist on the first Toronto goal. When this was announced, Kennedy, the top Leaf hand of the evening, drew generous applause. More of the same, but more subdued, followed the announcement in French.

Les Habs pulled a midgame goaltending switch to recover the three point NHL lead that had been reduced to one in Toronto the night before.

Claude Evans, jittery as he had been in Toronto, yielded two soft first period scores, and Charlie Hodge, a pint-sized number three man on the Canadien goaltending pole, came along to chase his predecessor right back to the senior Royals.

The Canadiens, who were rather reluctant front men for Evans, played with considerably more sparkle for Hodge and assumed command of the situation right from the start of the second period.

Jimmy Thomson and Parker MacDonald gave the Leafs a 2-1 first period edge to offset the opening score of the game by Eddie Litzenberger. It was Thomson’s first goal of the season, his third in four years, and came on an ice-hugging shot from the right point and appeared to strike Evans’ stick and trickle underneath it. MacDonald’s goal was from a bad left wing angle and trickled through the nervous Evans’ pads.

The Canadiens, who could easily have won by a wider margin but for the difference in goaltending, skated the Leafs into harried mistakes in the second period, and managed to tie the count on Bud MacPherson’s screened shot after Thomson cleared the puck onto his stick. Somehow or other, “Rocket” Richard and Bert Olmstead were awarded assists.

Hockey’s best one-two punch, Richard and Bernie Geoffrion, landed solid blows in the third period, Richard scoring on a little flubber that took a weird and wicked hop high over Lumley’s stick and straight as an arrow between his pads. Geoffrion’s 16th goal of the season was a low blast to the far corner, from close in.

With a 4-2 cushion, Les Habs relaxed, a serious error as it turned out. Joe Klukay made it 4-3 with a shot that hinged off Jackie LeClair’s stick past a startled Hodge. Then Ron Stewart flashed in from right wing to blister home the rebound from Migay’s shot from outside the defence.

Neither side showed any inclination to pour on the coal from then, until Migay was whistled off for tripping Doug Harvey.

Lumley didn’t have a chance on the winner. Richard and Geoffrion whipped the puck around a bewildered Leaf bunch, closing in steadily, and finally “Boom Boom” whistled a pass right onto Béliveau’s stick by the crease. The big fellow, who hadn’t been too noticeable, didn’t waste a motion while converting it into the far corner.

The Canadiens’ edge showed in the 37 shots they flung at Lumley, while Evans and Hodge shared 23 Toronto blasts.

Of the game’s eight penalties, five went to the Leafs. Two of the Montréal penalties were served in company with the Leafs, which meant they played shorthanded only once to three by the visitors.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 19, 1954

1st Period
TOR PEN – 06:34 – MacDonald, tripping
MTL GOAL – 11:12 – Litzenberger (MacKay, Mosdell)
TOR GOAL – 11:24 – Thomson (Kennedy)
TOR GOAL – 15:10 – MacDonald (Thomson)
TOR PEN – 16:53 – Morrison, boarding
MTL PEN – 19:26 – Mosdell, high sticking

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 05:32 – Thomson, hooking
MTL PEN – 05:32 – Richard, slashing
TOR PEN – 10:31 – Morrison, roughing
MTL PEN – 10:31 – MacKay, roughing
MTL GOAL – 18:51 – MacPherson (Richard, Olmstead)

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 02:15 – Richard (Johnson)
MTL GOAL – 12:40 – Geoffrion (Béliveau)
TOR GOAL – 13:05 – Klukay (Bolton)
TOR GOAL – 16:51 – Stewart (Migay, Bolton)
TOR PEN – 18:24 – Migay, tripping
MTL PP GOAL – 19:46 – Béliveau (Geoffrion, Richard)

MTL – Evans (6-8), Hodge (W, 13-15)
TOR – Lumley (L, 32-37)

MTL – 16+8+13 = 37
TOR – 8+9+6 = 23

MTLGoaltenders: Claude Evans, Charlie Hodge. Defence: Butch Bouchard (C), Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Bud MacPherson. Forwards: Jean Béliveau, Floyd Curry, Bernie Geoffrion, Jack LeClair, Ed Litzenberger, Calum MacKay, Dickie Moore, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Maurice Richard.
TORGoaltenders: Harry Lumley. Defence: Hugh Bolton, Tim Horton, Jim Morrison, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: George Armstrong, Ted Kennedy (C), Joe Klukay, Parker MacDonald, Rudy Migay, Eric Nesterenko, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 12-5-1 (.694)
TOR – 9-4-4 (.647)