Friday, February 6, 2015

The Last Time it Happened

On January 29th and January 31st, 2015, the Montreal Canadiens won consecutive games by a score of 1-0. In victories over the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, Carey Price earned the shutouts and Montreal forward Max Pacioretty scored the winning goals.

The last time the same goalie and skater accomplished this in back-to-back 1-0 contests was in 1954.

Early in the 1954-55 season, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings met in home-and-away games. The first encounter took place at the Olympia in Detroit on November 11, 1954. Starting in goal for Toronto on the road was Harry Lumley. After a scoreless opening period, Toronto's Sid Smith beat Detroit goalie Terry Sawchuk in the middle frame. The Globe and Mail described Smith's goal as follows:

Smith grabbed a pass from skipper Ted Kennedy before letting go a short shot that struck the stick of Detroit defenceman Bob Goldham, and sipped off-course into the cage.

Toronto's game-winning-goal was scored at the 19:44 mark, resulting in the Red Wings having to wait until the final twenty-minutes for a prolonged stretch of time to try and score the equalizer. And they came out blasting. Detroit carried the play for most of the period and out shot Toronto 15-5. Harry Lumley, who was celebrating his birthday, kept the barn door shut and the Leafs departed the Motor City with a 1-0 win.

Two nights later, on November 13, 1954, Toronto hosted Detroit at Maple Leaf Gardens. Fresh off a brilliant performance on Thursday evening in Detroit, Lumley got the call to start at home. Once again, the two clubs played a tight defensive game with Lumley and Sawchuk not allowing a single shot to get past them. The lone goal of the game came early in the third period with Sid Smith finding a way to give his team the lead.

Writing in the Toronto Daily Star, Gordon Campbell noted:

But came the third, and at the 42-second mark Wings' Tony Leswick was doing penance for hooking Ted Kennedy at 19:52 of the second period when Sid Smith scored the game's only goal. He was in like a flash to fire (shooting) Kennedy's across-the-goal-mouth pass into the rigging. 

Right down to the final moments, the Red Wings attempted to tie the game. Detroit coach, Jimmy Skinner, pulled Sawchuk for the extra-attacker and as Al Nickleson observed in The Globe and Mail:

The Leafs, fighting bitterly, prevailed and Detroit's Johnny Wilson helped by missing the net when in alone, to climax a spine-tingler.

The next night at Boston Garden, Sid Smith continued to hold the hot-hand for Toronto. He scored two goals in the Leafs 3-1 win over the Bruins.

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