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Flashback Canadiens-Bruins: 1953

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
Maurice Richard and Elmer Lach

MONTREAL -- As the Canadiens and Bruins gear up to renew hostilities beginning on Thursday night at the Bell Centre, here’s a look back at some of the memorable playoff clashes between these storied rivals. Next up, their Stanley Cup Finals matchup in 1953.
Stanley Cup Finals
Boston vs Montreal

After battling through a grueling seven-game war with the Blackhawks before reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, the Habs still had their work cut out for them in their quest from Cup No. 7. Awaiting them in the Finals, fresh from bumping off the league-leading Red Wings, were the Bruins who boasted a 9-3-1 regular season record against the Canadiens that year.

The Habs picked up a series-opening 4-2 win over the Bruins at the Forum to get the ball rolling, but Boston bounced right back with a 4-1 victory to send the series to Beantown knotted 1-1. Looking to shake things up, Montreal head coach Dick Irvin rolled the dice by replacing Jacques Plante with Gerry McNeil in the Habs’ crease. The gamble paid off for the Canadiens’ coach, with McNeil posting a shutout in Game 3 to give the Habs a 2-1 edge in the series, before a Maurice Richard hat-trick the following game provided the Canadiens with a 3-1 series stranglehold.

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Back in the cozy confines of the Forum, the Habs had the chance to clinch the Cup on home ice in Game 5. McNeil continued to shine, matching “Sugar” Jim Henry of the Bruins save-for-save through 60 minutes of regulation that solved nothing.

The scoreless tie was broken early in overtime with Elmer Lach emerging as the hero by scoring a goal he would remember the rest of his life whenever he looked in the mirror. His clinching goal only 1:22 into overtime and his subsequent airborne embrace with linemate Maurice Richard left Lach with a broken nose to go with the third Stanley Cup of his career.

Manny Almela is a writer for
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