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Saisons

1951-1952
season card
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TEAM
GP Games played - Number of games the team has played
W Wins - Games the team has won, either in regulation or in overtime
L Losses - Games the team has lost in regulation
T Ties - Games that have ended in a tie
PTS Points - Team points, calculated from W, L, T, OTL and SOL; used to determine standings
GF Goals for - Number of goals the team has scored
GA Goals against - Number of goals scored against the team
Detroit Red Wings 70 44 14 12 100 215 133
Montreal Canadiens 70 34 26 10 78 195 164
Toronto Maple Leafs 70 29 25 16 74 168 157
Boston Bruins 70 25 29 16 66 162 176
New York Rangers 70 23 34 13 59 192 219
Chicago Blackhawks 70 17 44 9 43 158 241
Season's leaders see the complete stats
# SKATERS
GP Games played - Number of games the player has set foot on the ice
G Goals - Number of goals the player has scored
A Assists - Number of goals the player has assisted in
PTS Points - Scoring points, calculated as the sum of G and A
16 Elmer Lach 70 15 50 65
5 Bernard Geoffrion 67 30 24 54
9 Maurice Richard 48 27 17 44
20 Paul Meger 69 24 18 42
14 Billy Reay 68 7 34 41
# #1 GOALIE
GP Games played - Number of games the player has set foot on the ice
RECORD Record - Goalie record (W-L-T)
SO Shutouts - Number of games where the goaltender has not allowed a goal
GAA Goals against average - Mean goals-per-game scored on the goaltender
1 Gerry McNeil 70 34-26-10 5 2.34
Season results
DATE AWAY HOME

THE REGULAR SEASON

The Montreal Canadiens enter the 1951-52 season in the midst of a youth movement with only four players over the age of 30.

Rookie Dickie Moore breathes new life into a line that features veterans Maurice Richard and Elmer Lach. Proving himself to be the best replacement yet for Toe Blake on the Punch Line, the combative Moore records 33 points in as many games.

Bernard Geoffrion, still eligible for rookie of the year honors, wins the Calder Cup on the strength of a 30-goal, 54-point campaign, leading all Habs marksmen. Richard lights the lamp 27 times despite missing 22 games to injury, and rookies Paul Meger and Dick Gamble notch 24 and 23 goals respectively. Floyd Curry replaces the injured Richard and makes the most of his chances, finishing the year with 20 goals to his credit.

Veteran center Elmer Lach, a solid performer for over a decade, led all NHL playmakers with 50 assists, becoming the all-time leader for both points and assists during the 1951-52 season.

Diminutive Gerry McNeil played every game between the pipes, posting the NHL’s third-best goals-against average. McNeil backstops a youthful defensive corps anchored by captain Butch Bouchard and Doug Harvey, already recognized as one of the game’s smartest players.

With Detroit dominating the NHL, the rest of the league plays for the remaining three playoff slots. After a slow start, Montreal battles Toronto for second spot all season long, going 14-5-3 between late January and mid-March to finish with 78 points, four more than the third-place Maple Leafs.

Frank Selke announces that Jean Beliveau and Bernard Geoffrion, two of the organization’s star junior players, will have a chance to showcase their skills against NHL opponents on December 16 in a game against the New York Rangers at the Forum.

The anticipation leading up to the game is unprecedented. A crowd of 14,158 is on hand for the game and they don’t leave disappointed. In his first game in the Habs’ famed red, white and blue uniform, Geoffrion scores the Canadiens’ only goal in a 1-1 tie against the Rangers.

Maurice Richard and Elmer Lach pace the Canadiens’ offense. The Rocket posts yet another strong season with 66 points, including 42 goals, in 65 games. He finishes second in the NHL scoring race to Gordie Howe. For his part, Lach scores 21 goals and finishes the season with 45 points.

With Reardon gone, Doug Harvey becomes the pillar of Montreal’s defense and adds 29 points in 70 games.

In his first full season with the Canadiens, goalie Gerry McNeil records 25 wins and six shutouts.

During a late season game against the Detroit Red Wings, the Rocket is handed a misconduct penalty for arguing with referee Hugh McLean. Furious, Richard makes his way to the penalty box where Detroit’s Leo Reise makes derogatory comments to him. Richard explodes in anger and punches Reise. When linesman Jim Primeau steps in, Richard strikes him with his stick.

The following day, in the lobby of a New York hotel, the Rocket finds himself face to face with McLean and Primeau. No punches are exchanged this time but Richard grabs McLean by the tie and Primeau once again intervenes. NHL president Clarence Campbell fines Richard $500 for damaging hockey’s reputation.

THE PLAYOFFS

Gerry McNeil allows a single goal in the first two games of the semifinals, as the hometown Habs roll over the Bruins 5-1 and 4-0. Back in Boston, the home team continues to dominate, winning 4-1 and 3-2. A 1-0 shutout at The Forum gives the Bruins a stranglehold on the series with the next game slated to be played at the Garden.

Game six goes unresolved until center Paul Masnick scores the biggest goal of his career, almost eight minutes into the extra frame, extending the series to seven games and bringing it back to Montreal.

Maurice Richard takes a knee to the head in the first period of game seven, missing most of the action. Still reeling and unaware of the score he returns to the bench late in the game, finds the twine behind Boston goalie, Jim Henry, and sends his team to the Finals.

The photograph of the post-game handshake between Richard and Henry is one of the greatest sports images of all time.

The Canadiens good fortune does not follow them into their series against the rested Red Wings, who had enjoyed a week off after rolling over Toronto in their semifinal.

Paced by the Production Line of Gordie Howe, Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay, the team is backstopped by Terry Sawchuck and features future Hall of Famers Red Kelly and Marcel Pronovost on the blue line.

Holding Montreal to only two goals in the series, Detroit shuts out the Habs in the two final games of their four-game sweep, becoming the first NHL team to go undefeated on the road to the Stanley Cup.

The playoffs roadmap
Semi-finals - Boston Bruins
Date AWAY   HOME  
March 25th, 1952 BOS 1 MTL 5  
March 27th, 1952 BOS 0 MTL 4  
March 30th, 1952 MTL 1 BOS 4  
April 1st, 1952 MTL 2 BOS 3  
April 3rd, 1952 BOS 1 MTL 0  
April 6th, 1952 MTL 3 BOS 2  
April 8th, 1952 BOS 1 MTL 3  
Canadiens won best-of-seven series 4-3
Stanley Cup Finals - Detroit Red Wings
Date AWAY   HOME  
April 10th, 1952 DET 3 MTL 1  
April 12th, 1952 DET 2 MTL 1  
April 13th, 1952 MTL 0 DET 3  
April 15th, 1952 MTL 0 DET 3  
Detroit won best-of-seven series 4-0