Game 197 – Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 3

Game 197
Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 3
Tuesday, January 4, 1944
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Leafs put on a rugged, tight checking exhibition against the Canadiens here tonight, but came out on the short end of the score, 6-3.

The largest midweek crowd of the season turned out to see the game, testimony that the Toronto team is one of the best drawing clubs in the loop when they hook up here with the Habitants.

But it was a bad night for the Leafs. In addition to losing the game, they may lose the services of Bob Davidson, the veteran winger, who came in contact with Toe Blake’s stick late in the third period and spat out a mouthful of his front teeth. It was an accident as Davidson, in an attempt to check Blake from behind, spun the Habitant around and Blake’s stick came up and hit him in the mouth.

Lorne Carr was easily the best of the Leafs, and was one of the best men on the ice, scoring two of their three goals. The other went to Don Webster.

Paul Bibeault, the former Habitant netminder now with the Leafs, blew hot and cold. He fanned on a couple of shots in the high scoring first period, but from then until the end, played sensationally. The Leafs checked, checked, checked all over the ice, but the Habitants had a little too much speed and finesse.

Maurice Richard scored a pair of goals in the opening period to give the Habs an early lead. His first was a rebound from Blake’s shot, and his second was a backhander from a scramble in front of the Leafs’ goal.

Don Webster then notched the Leafs’ first goal when his shot struck Harmon on the foot and caromed into the Canadien cage.

This seemed to stimulate the Canadiens, and they came right back with a pair of markers. Reg Hamilton was back all alone on the first one and three Habitant forwards worked around him, Majeau going right in to beat Bibault. But the second was a 50-footer from the stick of Phil Watson that caught Bibeault flat footed.

Babe Pratt fed Lorne Carr a pass, and the veteran winger let go a soft one that never left the ice, and Bill Durnan made his first excusable error of the season on the shot, the puck going right under his foot. But back came Butch Bouchard to score for the Canucks with a backhander from a scramble in front of the Toronto net.

There was plenty of rugged checking all through the second period until Lorne Carr scored with less than two minutes of the period to play. A pass from Bob Davidson sent him into the clear, and he went right in on Durnan to score one of the prettiest goals of the night. The Canadiens got it back in 10 seconds, Toe Blake combining with Elmer Lach and giving Bibeault no chance to save. The third period was scoreless.

Both Hap Day and Frank Selke were disappointed in the Leafs’ showing, though they would say little after the game. Before the game, they said the Leafs had improved considerably, and they were hopeful of pulling out a win and making it three straight. Dick Irvin, in the Habitants’ dressing room, was also disappointed. He said the team was Pullman-punchy after the long train trip to Chicago, from which it only returned this morning,and that to him and his team looked tired.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, January 5, 1944

1st Period
MTL PEN – 01:38 – Bouchard
MTL GOAL – 04:55 – Richard (Blake, Lach)
TOR PEN – 06:14 – Ingoldsby
MTL GOAL – 14:10 – Richard (Harmon, Blake)
MTL PEN – 15:06 – Lamoureux
TOR PEN – 15:06 – O’Neill
TOR GOAL – 15:13 – Webster (J. Hamilton)
MTL GOAL – 15:41 – Majeau (Heffernan, Harmon)
MTL GOAL – 15:52 – Watson (Harmon)
TOR GOAL – 16:55 – Carr (Pratt)
MTL GOAL – 17:25 – Bouchard (Getliffe, Fillion)
TOR PEN – 17:52 – Boothman

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 04:34 – Blake
MTL PEN – 10:10 – Richard
TOR PEN – 10:10 – Hamilton
TOR GOAL – 18:09 – Carr (Davidson)
MTL GOAL – 18:19 – Blake (Lach)
MTL PEN – 19:30 – Bouchard

3rd Period

MTL – Durnan (W)
TOR – Bibeault (L)

MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Glen Harmon. Forwards: Toe Blake (C), Bob Fillion, Ray Getliffe, Gerry Heffernan, Elmer Lach, Leo Lamoureux, Fern Majeau, Buddy O’Connor, Maurice Richard, Phil Watson.
TORGoaltenders: Paul Bibeault. Defence: Reg Hamilton, Moe Morris, Babe Pratt. Forwards: Gus Bodnar, George Boothman, Lorne Carr, Bob Davidson (C), Jackie Hamilton, John Ingoldsby, Ted Kennedy, Tom O’Neill, Don Webster.

MTL – 18-2-3 (.848)
TOR – 12-11-2 (.520)