Game 200 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2

Game 200
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2
Saturday, February 12, 1944
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Pressure hockey, the kind of a modern puck chasing machine pours out while the opposition is shorthanded, was the dominating factor as the Montréal Canadiens edged the Toronto Leafs 3-2 at the Gardens Saturday night.

Capitalizing on a Toronto penalty late in the first period, the National League leaders punched home two quick scores, stayed out in front despite their own three shorthanded stretches in the second period, and scored goal for goal with the Leafs in the third.

Maurice Richard, a freewheeling right winger who was one of the top operators for the Canadiens all through the good wartime hockey exhibition, counted two of the three goals. Richard and Lamoureux counted in quick order while Reg Hamilton was doing a penalty stretch late in the first period. Richard scored again early in the third.

George Boothman provided both Toronto goals, one early in the second period, the other two minutes after Richard’s red lantern trick in the third. Bob Davidson and “Teeder” Kennedy collaborated on both Boothman thrusts.

Dick Irvin’s gambling style of pressure hockey triumphed over Hap Day’s cautious, more conservative tactics in coping with referee Norm Lamport’s penalty decisions. Irvin used four forwards and defenceman Leo Lamoureux in a five man drive while Reg Hamilton was in the cooler late in the first period. The system brought goals by Richard and Lamoureux.

In the second period, Phil Watson had two trips to the penalty box, with one for Glen Harmon sandwiched in between. All three offences were in the first ten minutes. Yet Toronto’s pressure hockey bogged down, Day stuck to the orthodox style, three forwards and two defencemen, and failed to score. Boothman’s goal at 5:38 came while the clubs were at even strength.

Wipe out the pressure hockey developed by penalties, and you would have had a final count of 2-1 for the Leafs.

The Canadiens paraded the most formidable lineup here this winter, and it was a combination of fine netminding by Paul Bibeault and stubborn Toronto checking tactics that held the score down. Bill Durnan gave a fine display of puck stopping workmanship, but most of the heavy duty was at Bibeault’s end of the rink.

Offensively they didn’t have much to offer, but McLean, O’Neill and Jackie Hamilton did a 10-karat job of hounding Montréal’s rugged line of Getliffe, Chamberlain and Watson. Bibeault was at his best against this Canadiens trio, which failed to score.

Comparing the two clubs on a player for player basis, you find it difficult to determine how Toronto’s wartime lineup has managed to make such an impressive showing against Montréal’s war plant athletes and seasoned campaigners. Yet the Leafs have blanked them, tied them and lost to them by a single goal in three meetings.

“Spirit,” explained Hap Day after the game, “our club has plenty of it. And we need it all against a team so loaded with experienced material as the Canadiens. There isn’t a weak spot in Irvin’s lineup. Good goaltender, three strong defencemen who are also scoring threats, and three good forward lines. But they only beat us by one goal. I’m still proud of my club, any way you look at them.”

Phil Watson was the only puck chaser inclined to rekindle the fires of the last Canadiens-Leafs brawl. Between temper displays, he was one of the best performers on the ice. Chamberlain, one of the principals in the last uproar, stuck to business and gave Bibeault plenty of trouble. Davidson, Carr and Bodnar played particularly well for the homesters.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 14, 1944

1st Period
MTL PP GOAL – 17:42 – Richard (Lach, Blake)

MTL PP GOAL – 18:57 – Lamoureux
MTL PENS – Fillion, Harmon, Watson
TOR PENS – Davidson, R. Hamilton

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 05:39 – Boothman (Kennedy, Davidson)

MTL PEN – Watson
TOR PENS – Davidson, R. Hamilton

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 04:11 – Richard (Blake, Lach)
TOR GOAL – 05:54 – Boothman (Kennedy, Davidson)

MTL – Durnan (W)
TOR – Bibeault (L)

MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Glen Harmon. Forwards: Toe Blake (C), Murph Chamberlain, Bob Fillion, Ray Getliffe, Gerry Heffernan, Elmer Lach, Leo Lamoureux, 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, Ted Kennedy, Jack McLean, Tom O’Neill, Don Webster.

MTL – 25-4-6 (.800)
TOR – 17-18-3 (.487)