The December 20, 1953 game between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens saw stick work between Ron Murphy and Bernie Geoffrion. Geoffrion wanted to fight and had dropped his stick but Murphy wouldn't let go of his. Geoffrion retrieved his stick and swung it at Murphy until he made contact with his head. Murphy was knocked unconscious, suffered a broken jaw and concussion and missed the reason of the season recovering from the attack. Geoffrion was suspended for all remaining games versus the Rangers for the season.
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.