Game 196 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2

Game 196
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2
Saturday, December 11, 1943
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

“Teeder” Kennedy, a 17 year old youngster from Port Colborne, was a prolific scoring figure as the Toronto Leafs raided the lion’s den to throttle the Montréal Canadiens 4-2 at Maple Leaf Gardens Saturday night.

The National Hockey League leaders left three of their hottest performers, Elmer Lach, Buddy O’Connor and Toe Blake in Montréal, but picked up the slack through the best goaltending display of the season, as they took their second defeat in 16 starts.

With or without the benefit of Lach, O’Connor and Blake, the Leafs were hot enough Saturday night to bowl over a club admittedly the most formidable in wartime major professional hockey. If it hadn’t been for Toronto born Bill Durnan, the final count wouldn’t have been a respectable 4-2 score.

Frank Brimsek, Johnny Mowers, Turk Broda and others of the modern netminding wizards were never in better form than the much barraged Durnan.

One of the biggest crowds of the early campaign, 12,120, watched the Leafs come from behind to knock off the Canadiens. It was 1-0 at the end of the first period in favour of the Montréalers, after a Toronto goal had been wiped out by referee Norm Lamport. It was 2-1 at the end of the second.

In the third period Babe Pratt, Kennedy and Boothman slapped pucks back of the agile Durnan to produce the 4-2 win, and the second setback of the season for the Montréalers.

“We love knocking you guys off,” chuckled Murph Chamberlain, an ex-Leaf, as he skated past the Toronto bench, just before Pratt’s third period goal that tied the score at 2-2.

“It’s too bad,” answered Hap Day, “that you don’t play more hockey and pay less attention to our youngsters.” Chamberlain had just finished taking a healthy charge at Windy O’Neill, his sparring mate of the second period.

“We’ll take you birds any time and any place,” challenged Chamberlain, as he walked into the Canadiens’ bench.

“That,” Day screamed after him, “is what you think. You fellows aren’t so tough. You just think you are.”

Kennedy figured in a five goal Toronto splurge Saturday, four that counted in the official records, and another he tallied off Mel Hill’s rebound that was ruled out.

The third period was delayed several minutes when pent up customers showered the ice with programs after a penalty to Babe Pratt for smothering the puck in front of the Toronto nets.

The Canadiens led 1-0 at the end of the first period as a result of a trick goal by Gerry Heffernan. Gerry reached out with his stick as he skated across the Toronto goalmouth, and tipped in a skidding shot fired by Majeau.

Early in the second period, Chamberlain darted behind the Toronto nets, grabbed a loose puck, and dumped it in front for a scoring play executed by Ray Getliffe. Kennedy scored off a relay with Hill and Boothman for the first Toronto goal in this period.

Early in the third period Pratt, an outstanding performer in the scuttling of the Montréalers, spanked home a rebound after Boothman and Kennedy had combined to put Durnan in a jitterbug dance.

The Canadiens had two men in the penalty box, Phil Watson and Mike McMahon, in the third period when Kennedy scored to send the Leafs into a 3-2 lead. Boothman’s 4-2 goal completed the picture.

The highlight of the first period was slugging match that featured Chamberlain and O’Neill. The ex-Leaf muscle man, who worked centre and right wing patrols for the eight man Montréal forward crew, accused O’Neill of carving his nose with a stick. Chamberlain fortified his argument by punching the Leaf rookie. The youngster took three punches, answered with a sharp righthand uppercut that had Jack Allen screaming for his contract. A confused public address announcer finally revealed that Chamberlain had drawn a minor and a major, O’Neill a major, out of the bout.

McMahon, the league’s “bad man,” was the most frequent penalty box visitor. His toughest act was in the felling of Lorne Carr in the third period with a lumberjack’s mighty swoop. Shortly before, Carr had been cut under the right eye by Watson in a major penalty trick.

Two things the game established: Bill Durnan is the smartest netminder the National League has produced in this or several other seasons, and the Leafs have as much fighting spirit as any club mustered here in many years.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 13, 1943

1st Period
MTL PP GOAL – 16:13 – Heffernan (Majeau)

TOR PENS – O’Neill (major), J. Hamilton, Pratt
MTL PENS – Chamberlain (minor + major), McMahon

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 11:05 – Getliffe (Chamberlain)
TOR GOAL – 11:58 – Kennedy (Boothman, Hill)
MTL PEN – Bouchard

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 02:18 – Pratt (Kennedy, Boothman)
TOR PP2 GOAL – 08:34 – Kennedy (Hill, Pratt)
TOR GOAL – 18:59 – Boothman (Hill)
TOR PENS – Boothman, McLean, Pratt
MTL PENS – Watson (major), McMahon (2), Majeau

TOR – Grant (W)
MTL – Durnan (L)

TORGoaltenders: Benny Grant. Defence: Reg Hamilton, Moe Morris, Babe Pratt. Forwards: Gus Bodnar, George Boothman, Lorne Carr, Bob Davidson (C), Jackie Hamilton, Mel Hill, Ted Kennedy, Jack McLean, Tom O’Neill.
MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Glen Harmon, Mike McMahon. Forwards: Tod Campeau, Murph Chamberlain, Bob Fillion, Ray Getliffe, Gerry Heffernan, Leo Lamoureux, Fern Majeau, Maurice Richard, Phil Watson.

TOR – 8-6-2 (.563)
MTL – 11-2-3 (.781)