Friday, June 8, 2012

Putting in some Overtime

It is always a treat to open up the sports page and read a reference to the Original Six era.

Such was the case the morning following game two between New Jersey and Los Angeles. Going through various reports, many made mention that for the first time in 61-years, the first two encounters of the Cup Final went into overtime.

The last time this occurred was in the 1951 Stanley Cup Final, when Montreal and Toronto squared-off.

Game one in 1951 took place on April 11th at Maple Leaf Gardens. After regulation time, the score was knotted at two goals apiece. At the 5:51 mark of OT, Sid Smith sent the Leaf supporters home with the result they were hoping for.

A newspaper report provided a description of the sudden death game winning tally: "Sid Smith's winning goal was engineered by Kennedy, who bore into the Canadien zone, drew three checks before losing the puck which caromed around behind the goal. There, Tod Sloan and Bud MacPherson struggled for possession with Sloan getting it over to Sid Smith, who was unchecked. Sid picked it up, whirled out in front like a hoop around a barrel and slipped it into the far corner. McNeil never had a chance."

Game two of the Leafs and Canadiens Final got underway on April 14, 1951. The venue remained unchanged. Similar to game one, the score was tied at two-all following sixty-minutes of action. This time around, the scoring hero would emerge from the Canadiens roster. Early in the first overtime period, at 2:55, Rocket Richard worked his magic against Turk Broda and his teammates.

With no newspapers publishing on Sunday, the game story from the second contest appeared in editions printed on Monday April 16. Here is an account of the Richard goal. "The winning counter came on one of the Habs favourite plays. Doug Harvey moved over his own blue line, deked a Leaf to retain possession long enough for Richard to infiltrate the Leaf defence. Then Harvey fired a forward pass which the Rocket picked up and zoomed in on the helpless Turk Broda. Rocket left Leafs Gus Mortson standing still and deked Broda down and out before slipping it into the open cage."

While all five games in the '51 Final went into OT, game three in the Kings and Devils Final was won 4 to 0 by LA, with Jonathan Quick recording the shutout. On Wednesday night, with Los Angeles up by three games and the Stanley Cup in the building, the Devils extended the Final by defeating LA 3 to 1.

On April 21, 1951, Bill Barilko's overtime goal delivered another Stanley Cup championship to the city of Toronto.

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