Having last met in the 1946 Stanley Cup Finals where the Habs defeated the Bruins 4 games to 1 with three games going to overtime, the 1952 Semi-final series would be even closer with Montreal edging Boston 4 games to 3. The series is famous for Jim Henry playing Games 6 and 7 with a broken nose and Maurice Richard scoring the Game 7 winning goal having been concussed and cut. The photo of the two battered players shaking hands has become iconic.
Game 1 at the Montreal Forum was a clean game that was dominated by Montreal. After Richard put the Habs up in the first period, he assisted on a goal by Dickie Moore in the second. The Bruins Pentti Lund, playing blind in one eye, cut the lead to 2-1 but Richard's second of the game made it 3-1 Montreal at the end of the second period. Goals by Billy Reay and Floyd Curry completed Montreal's 5-1 win.
Game 2 at Montreal was a repeat of Game 1 with a goal by Ken Mosdell and a Hat trick by Bernie Geoffrion. However, Mosdell collided with Boston's Ed Sandford, broke his right leg and was lost for the playoffs. Boston's Gus Kyle was also lost for the remainder of the series and was replaced with rookie Bob Armstrong, who'd go on to become a regular on the Bruins blueline for the next decade.
Game 3 at the Boston Garden had no goals in the first period. At 2:05 of the second period, Hal Laycoe's shot deflected off Doug Harvey's stick past Gerry McNeil for the Bruins first lead of the series. 33 seconds later, Dave Creighton made it 2-0 Boston. 29 seconds later, Ed Sandford's shot fell in the crease and as McNeil tried to clear it, he ran into Paul Meger who accidentally put the puck in his own net. Boston led 3-0 after scoring three goals in 1:02. In the third period, Fleming Mackell made it 4-0 until Montreal's Floyd Curry scored a consolation goal for a 4-1 Bruins win.
Game 4 at Boston saw the first career playoff goal by Real Chevrefils put the Bruins up 1-0 at 9:53 of the first period. In the second period, Milt Schmidt made it 2-0 until Mackell took a tripping penalty and Curry scored a late power play goal. At 6:48 of the third period, Curry tied the score until Mackell scored the game winner on a three on two break. With a 3-2 win, the Bruins had evened the series.
Game 5 at Montreal saw the Bruins play a defensive game. After two scoreless periods, Dave Creighton forced a turnover, passed to Johnny Peirson who fed it to Jack McIntyre. Flying down the right wing, the left shooting McIntyre fired a shot far side that beat McNeil. The Bruins held a 3-2 series lead with Jim Henry posting his first playoff shutout in 10 years.
Game 6 at Boston saw the Bruins jump out to a 2-0 lead on first period goals by Dave Creighton and Milt Schmidt. The Habs Eddie Mazur, who'd never appeared in a regular season game for them, cut the lead in half at 4:53 of the second period. Eight minutes into the third period, Bruins goalie Jim Henry had his nose broken by a Doug Harvey shot. The game was delayed for 17 minutes as Henry was treated. He courageously returned to play but with both eyes black and swollen, he struggled to see the puck at times. At 11:05, Richard fired a 30 foot shot through a screen that sent the game into overtime. After a scoreless first OT, Paul Masnick rapped in a rebound from a Harvey shot that ended the game at 7:49 of the second OT. The series was tied heading back to Montreal.
Game 7 at Montreal was an iconic game for Maurice Richard. In the second period, with the score tied on goals by Eddie Mazur and Ed Sandford, Richard's attempt to cut between Bruins Hal Laycoe and Leo Labine resulted in him falling and hitting his head on the ice. Bleeding from a cut above his left eye and unconscious, he was roused and brought to the dressing room for repairs. While being stitched up, he lost consciousness again. With five minutes left in the game and the teams playing four on four (Laycoe and Billy Reay were in the box for high sticking), Richard made his way back to the Habs bench. Assuring coach Dick Irvin that he was all right, Irvin could see Richard wasn't as he didn't know the game's score and admitted his vision was blurry. Nevertheless, Richard went on the ice, took a pass from Butch Bouchard on the right wing, beat Bill Quackenbush to the outside, faked a shot to the near post on Jim Henry, cut in front of the Bruins net and put the puck in the far side of the net (see Gallery for a photo). Deliriously happy Montreal fans rained debris on the ice and the game was stopped for 5 minutes to clean the mess up. With the Bruins goalie pulled, Bill Reay scored with 34 seconds left for a 3-1 Habs victory and the series win. The players shook hands after the game with Milt Schmidt congratulating Habs rookie Dickie Moore, who he'd battled for most of the series. Jim Henry and Richard's handshake became one of hockey's most iconic photos with Henry's blackened eyes from his broken nose and Richard's bandaged eye still bleeding.