Game 208 – Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 2

Game 208
Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 2
Thursday, December 14, 1944
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

With three of their stars missing, the Toronto Maple Leafs showed enough power in all departments Thursday night to hold the Montréal Canadiens to a 2-2 deadlock before a capacity crowd at the Forum.

In splitting the two points, the Leafs moved into sole possession of second place, one point over the idle Detroit Red Wings. The Canadiens maintained their league leadership at three points.

Featuring the brilliant display of Frankie McCool, the Toronto goaltender, the Leafs checked their rivals closely throughout, and matched the Habitants goal for goal in a wide open hockey game.

Butch Bouchard and Buddy O’Connor led the parade for the Flying Frenchmen, turning in stellar roles, while Jack McLean and Lorne Carr were the mainstays for the Leafs. Maurice “Rocket” Richard and Elmer Lach were the Habitant goal getters, while Mel Hill and Bob Davidson tallied the Toronto markers.

In the first few minutes of play, the Leafs came near scoring on several occasions, but the brilliant work of Bill Durnan quelled the uprising. Play continued with both teams boring into each other’s goal zones repeatedly.

The first break of the game came at this juncture when Ted Kennedy was banished for roughing. Playing five men up, the Canucks tested McCool from all angles, only to be thwarted by the cagey custodian. Kennedy returned, and before a minute elapsed, Mel Hill picked up Lorne Carr’s pass at the Habitant blue line and beat Durnan with a low, whistling shot that found the corner of the cage.

In the ensuing few minutes, McCool was given very little chance to breathe, as the Habitants worked arduously to neutralize matters. A penalty to Frankie Eddolls sent the Canadiens back to a defensive game, and Elmer Lach drew rounds of applause for his chore in keeping the puck away from the Leafs. Getliffe followed Eddolls to the cooler minutes later, and the Habitants were left two men short, but a stout defensive display by Bouchard and Lamoureux kept the Leafs from fattening their margin.

When Eddolls returned, the line of Blake, Lach and Richard kept the disc inside the Toronto blue line, and came close to scoring on numerous occasions. Finally, Richard got a shot away from a scramble in front of the Toronto cage, and McCool, his vision screened, was caught unaware. Bouchard and Blake drew assists on the play.

The Canadiens dominated the play for the first minutes of the middle stanza, with O’Connor, Gauthier and Hill causing McCool much anxiety. The Leafs were forced to play kitty-bar-the-door a few minutes later when Bob Davidson was chased for roughing.

In his absence, Elmer Lach battled the puck into the net to send the Habitants ahead 2-1. Blake and Bouchard were both credited with assists on the goal. Davidson served his minor penalty and hopped on the ice just in time to take a pass from Kennedy and McLean to deadlock matters once more.

The third and final session saw both teams display a rushing brand of hockey, but both goalers stayed off repeated rushes. Buddy O’Connor worked his way around the three Leaf players and lost control of the puck just in front of the Toronto net. Play continued at a torrid pace until the final gong sounded.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 15, 1944

1st Period
TOR PEN – 04:43 – Kennedy
TOR GOAL – 08:33 – Hill (Carr, Metz)
MTL GOAL – 12:58 – Richard (Blake, Bouchard)
MTL PEN – 15:58 – Eddolls
MTL PEN – 17:25 – Getliffe

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 09:49 – Davidson
MTL PP GOAL – 11:25 – Lach (Blake, Bouchard)
MTL PEN – 11:50 – Richard
TOR GOAL – 14:44 – Davidson (Kennedy, McLean)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 06:03 – Davidson
MTL PEN – 08:16 – Bouchard

MTL – Durnan (T)
TOR – McCool (T)

MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Frank Eddolls, Glen Harmon. Forwards: Toe Blake (C), Bob Fillion, Fern Gauthier, Ray Getliffe, Dutch Hiller, Elmer Lach, Leo Lamoureux, Kenny Mosdell, Buddy O’Connor, Maurice Richard.
TORGoaltenders: Frank McCool. Defence: Pete Backor, Reg Hamilton, Moe Morris, Babe Pratt. Forwards: Lorne Carr, Bob Davidson (C), Mel Hill, Ted Kennedy, Jack McLean, Nick Metz, Tom O’Neill.

MTL – 11-4-2 (.706)
TOR – 10-6-1 (.618)