Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Boston & Montreal 1943

As another thrilling playoff series between Montreal and Boston comes to a close, we take a look back to their first encounter in the Original Six era.

The date was March 21, 1943, when Boston hosted Montreal to begin their best-of-seven semi-final round.

Suffering from a case of the jitters, Boston couldn't get on track in the early going of game one and fell behind 3-0. Then, Montreal got the shakes and allowed the Bruins to get back into the game. Following sixty-minutes of play, the score was knotted at 4 goals apiece.

At the 12:30 mark of the first overtime period, Boston's Don Gallinger ended the game. After picking up a rebound from a shot by Bep Guidolin, the Bruins centre went around the Habs net and emerged out front. On his backhand, Gallinger beat goalie Paul Bibeault.

Obviously not suffering from the jitters, 17-year-old Gallinger opened the scoring in game two at Boston Garden. It was his third goal of the series. Holding a slim 4-3 lead in the final moments of period three, Boston's Art Jackson stripped the puck from Buddy O'Connor. The Bruins forward finished the play when he proceeded to "ram the puck through goalie Bibeault, who appeared stunned by the spectacular solo effort," noted The Canadian Press.

Hoping for a different result at home, the Canadiens faced off against the Bruins on March 25th at The Forum.

Similar to game one, Montreal went in front, but couldn't finish. Boston clawed back on tallies by Herbie Cain and Dit Clapper. For the second time, extra-time was required to break the 2-2 deadlock. Down a man in the overtime, Boston's Harvey "Busher" Jackson took advantage of an error made by Bibeault. The Montreal goalie kicked out Jackson's initial shot, but the rebound went right back to the former member of Toronto's Kid Line. Jackson buried the puck to give his team a 3-2 win in sudden-death.

Facing elimination in game four, Montreal put the brakes on their losing efforts. They received solid goaltending from Bibeault, who recorded the shutout in Montreal's 4-0 victory.

Still, the odds were stacked in Boston's favour as they returned to the Garden. Montreal had no wiggle-room, while Boston had three kicks-at-the-can remaining.

Montreal gave it their all in game five, as overtime was once again necessary. But it was the same old story for the visitors. Ab Demarco's game-winner sucked the life out of their opponent and the Bruins advanced to play another day.

Tonight, a new chapter will be added to this wonderful story.

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