Playoff Game 06 – Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 1

Playoff Game 06
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 1
Stanley Cup Semifinals, Game 2
Thursday, March 23, 1944
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Maurice Richard, a hockey will-o-the-wisp who has been haunting the Toronto Maple Leafs all winter, stepped out at the Forum here Thursday night with a five goal charge to give the Canadiens a 5-1 decision in the second game of the latest of Stanley Cup playoff panics.

The Leafs fought off the Canadiens through a close checking first period in which only eight shots were handled by the two goalies. Richard broke loose early in the second frame. By the time this 20 minute stretch was over, he had counted three times. He added two more goals in the third period to complete one of the greatest one man swamping jobs in Stanley Cup playoff history.

Richard, a Montréal born puck chaser, is a graduate of the Montréal Victoria juniors, the Verdun juniors, and the Canadiens senior amateur before swinging in major professional company last winter with Dick Irvin’s Habitants. The previous winter, he had been shelved with a broken arm. In his second game with the Canadiens last winter, he broke a leg and was out eight weeks.

So impressive was Richard’s five goal avalanche that the august authorities selecting the three stars of the contest set a National League precedent by naming Richard on all counts. There simply wasn’t any other star in their books.

But Richard’s five goal sweep was accomplished with the solid assistance of two master workmen, Toe Blake and Elmer Lach. Blake figured in all five goals, and Lach in four of them.

The Canadiens look tonight more like the powerful hockey machine that had gone through the regular season without a defeat. Their play improved as the game progressed. In the third period, for example, they had 17 shots at Bibeault, while Durnan was kicking out six.

The official attendance was announced at 12,243. The Leafs left immediately after the game for Toronto, where the series continues Saturday night and next Tuesday. The Canadiens will leave for Toronto Friday night.

Coach Dick Irvin, apparently disturbed by the playoff punch of the Toronto Leafs in the opening game of the series here Tuesday night, elected to dress four defencemen in the second game Thursday night. It meant a forward line rearrangement, showing only eight forwards. Irvin had Harmon, Lamoureux, McMahon and Bouchard in uniform.

The first period was a battle of cagey puck chasers. Paul Bibeault had five shots to handle, and Bill Durnan only three. Most of the hockey was played between the blue lines. Harmon was accidentally cut when he fell to the ice after being checked by Don Webster. Montréal players screamed for a penalty. Bill Chadwick was the referee, with Stan McCabe, the former Detroit Red Wing, and Bert Hedges of Toronto as the linemen.

It looked as if coach Irvin was attempting one of Walter Hagen’s delayed action sessions at the first tee before the game started. The Leafs warmed up for 15 minutes before the Canadiens put in an appearance, and the game was five minutes late starting.

Irvin’s first forward line combination was Chamberlain, Watson and Getliffe. His second trio was O’Connor, Heffernan and Blake. Then he shuffled in Blake with Richard and Lach. Irvin used four defencemen – Bouchard, Harmon, Lamoureux and McMahon. It was five minutes and 30 seconds before the Canadiens had a shot on the net, although they were carrying the play most of the time.

Irvin opened the second period with Blake, Lach and Richard opposing Bodnar, Carr and Davidson. It took the Canadiens less than two minutes to score. It was Richard from Blake and McMahon at 1:48. Seventeen seconds later, Richard scored again on a play with Lach and Blake. Reg Hamilton got one back for the Leafs at 8:50 while Richard was in the penalty box for tripping. Hamilton’s shot never left the ice. It looked like a 2-2 tie when Carr fired at Durnan and Davidson whipped a rebound shot right back at the Montréal goalie. Richard, a scoring phenom against the Leafs all winter, collected his third straight goal at 16:46 in the second period. Blake and Lach collaborated and made it 3-1 for the Montréalers.

Richard ran his scoring string to four straight goals after one minute of play in the third period. Elwin Morris was in the penalty box at the time. Lach split the defence with a neat pass, Richard, a southpaw right winger, tore in at top speed and coolly golfed the rolling puck past Bibeault. Morris had drawn his penalty split seconds before the end of the second period. Just after Richard’s fourth scoring effort, Elmer Lach sneaked inside the Toronto defence for a shot that caromed off the goal post at Bibeault’s left side. The Forum crowd, rapidly recovering from the shock of Tuesday night’s setback, was in rare vocal form after the first Richard goal in the second period. The Canadiens were in full hockey flight after putting the score at 3-1. The Forum was a mad house when Maurice Richard bagged his fifth straight goal at 8:54 in the third period. Richard fell as he hit the Toronto goal mouth but swept the puck past Bibeault. Montréal mates rushed to Richard, and escorted him back to centre ice with rousing back slaps. Above the din of the patrons, an announcer managed to make it known that Richard had tied a new modern Stanley Cup playoff record.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 27, 1944

1st Period
MTL PEN – 06:43 – Lamoureux

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 01:48 – Richard (Blake, McMahon)
MTL GOAL – 02:05 – Richard (Blake, Lach)
MTL PEN – 08:34 – Richard, tripping
TOR PP GOAL – 08:50 – R. Hamilton (Carr, Morris)
MTL PEN – 12:20 – Richard
TOR PEN – 12:20 – Webster
MTL GOAL – 16:46 – Richard (Lach, Blake)

TOR PEN – 19:24 – Morris

3rd Period
MTL PP GOAL – 01:00 – Richard (Blake, Lach)
MTL GOAL – 08:54 – Richard (Blake, Lach)
MTL PEN – 14:57 – Heffernan

MTL – Durnan (W)
TOR – Bibeault (L)

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


Maurice Richard (MTL)
⭐⭐ Maurice Richard (MTL)
⭐⭐⭐ Maurice Richard (MTL)