The New York Rangers seem to have been in the giving mood on December 18 in 1952 and 1965 as they just kept letting in their opponents’ goals. In both games, they tied up in the first two periods but then let their opponents go on scoring sprees in the third. In 1952, the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Rangers 6-2, and in 1965, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat them 8-4. Both winning teams had two players score hat tricks, while one of the Rangers managed their own in 1965. That means that there were five hat tricks between the two games.
On December 18, 1952, the Rangers faced a tough time in Montreal thanks to the debut of a new Canadiens player, Jean “Gros Bill” Beliveau, and their previous rookie-of-the-year, Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion. The former scored his first NHL hat trick while the latter scored his second, and the two were the first two of the season for Montreal. According to the New York Daily News, “[The] unusual double feat [occurred] in a bristling, scrappy game in which two Montreal goals were disallowed [early in second period] and two major penalties were handed out, culminating a rousing fight.”
Beliveau had not even signed with the Canadiens yet. He played on a three-game lend-lease basis from the Quebec Aces. Playing on the Punch Line, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard earned assists on all three of Beliveau’s goals. The Montreal Gazette crowed, “Beliveau was really flying last night at the Forum, much to the chagrin of New York Goaler Chuck Rayner and his defensive crew. They could do little to stop the broad-shouldered centre player.” Beliveau scored the first goal of the game off Richard’s rebound. “He pulled the puck instead of slapping at it and lifted it over the prostrate Rayner.” Geoffrion followed with his first goal of the night.
During the second period, as the Daily News summarized, “The Rangers, who battled the Canadiens all the way, then struck for their two goals. Mickoski’s long angle shot, whipped into the net off goalie Gerry McNeil’s glove and Ronty scored on Neil Strain’s passout.” Unfortunately for the Rangers, Beliveau then swooped in with his tie-breaking back-to-back goals. After a major fight, the Canadiens were on a power-play when Beliveau sent “a whistling slapshot that was past Charlie Rayner before he could move. One minute and 50 seconds later, just after MacIntosh had returned and the sides were even, Beliveau took a pass from Maurice Richard and scored on a shot that caromed in off Rayner’s pads to make it 4-2 for the Habitants.”
The third period was all about Geoffrion. As Dink Carroll wrote for the Gazette, “The first of Geoffrion’s two markers in the final period was a beauty. He took a pass in the corner, stickhandled out in front and beat Rayner clearly.” Finally, “His closing goal came as a result of a passing play with Billy Reay.” All in all, he summarized, “Canadiens outshot the Rangers, 32 to 22, and had much the better of the territorial play.” The 6-2 win continued the Canadiens’ undefeated streak of five games.
On December 18, 1965, the Rangers played at Maple Leaf Gardens. Between theirs and two from the Maple Leafs, the game featured a hat trick of hat tricks. Toronto started strong with the first goals by Dave Keon and Bob Pulford. New York’s Earl Ingarfield responded with two goals in just over four minutes to tie the game. The first period ended with another New York goal, by Bob Nevin. The second period saw the completion of two of the hat tricks. In the first seven minutes, Keon scored two goals to earn his first NHL hat trick. Less than 30 seconds later, Ingarfield tied the game up again by scoring his third goal. Ingarfield was the one to keep the Rangers in the game, but after this, they failed to score again. Within the first three minutes of the third period, Keon “set up Frank Mahovlich for the tally that broke a 4-4 deadlock.” Towards the end of the game, as the Associate Press reported in the New York Daily News, “Pulford, Eddie Shak and Pulford again beat goalie Ed Giacomin within less than four minutes.” This gave Pulford his second NHL hat trick. Despite the score, both teams had 39 shots on goal. However, Toronto came out with their third consecutive win while the Rangers faced their eleventh defeat.
- “Beliveau Performs ‘Hat Trick’ To Lead Canadiens to 6-2 Win,” Montreal Gazette, 19 Dec. 1952, p. 1.
- Dink Carroll, “Beliveau Scores Three as Habs Win,” Montreal Gazette, 19 Dec. 1952, p. 23.
- “Rangers Bunnies for 2 Canuck Hat Tricks, 6-2,” New York Daily News, 19 Dec. 1952, p. 76.
- “Leaf Hat Tricks Fit Rangers, 8-4,” New York Daily News, 19 Dec. 1965, p. 144.