Hal Laycoe suffered a knee injury in training camp resulting in Ray Gariepy taking his place. Laycoe returned on November 5, 1953 while Gariepy played 35 games (of 36 career) over the season.
The 1953-54 season was one of parity across the league, with the exception of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Bruins were only 14 points out of first place despite finishing fourth and frequently beat the league leaders Detroit and Montreal. Bruins scoring was up from the previous year with nine Bruins forwards registering double digit goal totals. The Fleming Mackell, Ed Sandford, Johnny Peirson line finished 1-2-3 on the team while the second line of Dave Creighton, Joe Klukay and Leo Labine registered 20, 20 and 16 goals respectively. Sandford was voted to the Second All-Star team. Rookie Doug Mohns made the team out of the juniors and impressed as did the newly acquired veteran Cal Gardner who'd play four full season for the Bruins.
The Bruins defense was solid led by goalie Jim Henry who played all 70 games and registered 8 shutouts. The November 14, 1953 game versus the Toronto Maple Leafs resulted in Real Chevrefils and All-Star defenseman Bill Quackenbush both breaking their legs. Quackenbush missed 25 games which resulted in a slight rise in goals against from the previous season. The Bruins missed Chevrefils' scoring as he was lost for the season.
Near the end of February 1954, the Bruins were in fifth place trailing the New York Rangers for the last playoff spot. Boston finished strong, losing only once in the last 12 games of the season to make the playoffs.
The teams met the previous year in the 1953 Stanley Cup Finals where Montreal prevailed 4 games to 1. The Canadiens won in convincing fashion, never trailing in a game and despite Maurice Richard not registering a point in the series. Jacques Plante was brilliant, allowing only 4 goals in 4 games and posting 2 shutouts. At the end of the playoffs, after managing the Bruins since their first season in 1924-25, Art Ross announced his retirement and was replaced by Lynn Patrick.
Game 1 at the Montreal Forum saw the Canadiens pepper Bruins goalie Jim Henry with 43 shots. After Canadiens Lorne Davis opened the scoring at 4:25 in the second period it appeared Boston had tied it up when a Doug Mohns eluded Plante and skittered towards the open net. Doug Harvey batted it out and the goal judge declared the puck hadn't crossed the line. The Bruins couldn't solve Plante and Bernie Geoffrion scored in the third period for a 2-0 Montreal win.
Game 2 in Montreal saw the Canadiens dominate from the opening faceoff as Dickie Moore scored 10 seconds into the game. Montreal scored three more in the first period then Moore potted his second for a 5-0 lead. After Jean Béliveau scored his first career playoff goal early in the second, the game got chippy. Fleming Mackell scored Boston's only goal of the game at 13:02 and then several fights broke out. The fighting continued in the third period as 94 minutes in penalties were called in the game. Paul Meger and Beliveau added goals for a 8-1 Canadiens romp and 2-0 series lead.
Game 3 at the Boston Garden was the closest game of the series. After a scoreless first period, Butch Bouchard and Cal Gardner traded goals in the first minute of the second period. Geoffrion and Bouchard made it 3-1 going into the third period. The Bruins fought back hard and goals by Doug Mohns and Milt Schmidt (the last of his career) tied it up with four minutes left. Dickie Moore scored with 1:30 left to win it 4-3 for Montreal.
Game 4 in Boston saw Montreal sweep the series on goals by Floyd Curry and Dickie Moore's 4th of the series.