Game 213 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2

Game 213
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2
Saturday, March 3, 1945
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Operating from a script that had “You Can’t Fence Me In” as the theme, the Toronto Leafs put on their greatest puck chasing show of the season to conquer the Montréal Canadiens 3-2 at Maple Leaf Gardens Saturday night.

A crowd of 13,844 could testify the Leafs were masters of all they surveyed, as they went through an exciting dress rehearsal for the Stanley Cup playoffs that are just around the corner.

Lorne Carr hit the high notes in the chorus, as the Leafs shook loose from a lengthy winless string, won their fifth game of a 10 game meeting with hockey’s most powerful machine, and established the home birds as a good bet to wind up the season as trophy winners.

Carr figured in all three Toronto goals, scoring two of them and executing the pass to Sweeney Schriner for the other. Both Montréal goals were long shot efforts that McCool muffed.

It was 1-0 after one period with Carr’s opening goal off Nick Metz’s pass putting the locals in front. The second period was a customer’s nightmare, with the Leafs playing shorthanded six minutes out of the 20, while Pratt was doing two penalty box stretches and Kennedy one. Yet Dick Irvin’s highly publicized Habitants failed to consolidate their offensive forces.

Glenn Harmon tied up the game early in the third with a long shot form inside the Toronto blue line. Schriner and Carr answered with two goals in a four minute span. Elmer Lach, the outstanding visitor in all three periods, sneaked a long shot past McCool late in the third, and the game finished 3-2.

Coach Hap Day was probably the most serious minded gent in the Gardens Saturday night. So serious, he exploited his talent in typical Stanley Cup fashion. He gambled on two forward lines against three Montréal trios. He didn’t use Art Jackson or Tommy O’Neill at all. He had Elwin Morris back as Babe Pratt’s defence partner for the first time in many weeks at home.

Babe Pratt delivered his best all-round performance of the current campaign, and stood out over every defenceman on the big pond. Morris, relegated to the sidelines in favour of Ross Johnstone for home games in recent weeks, was a good running mate for Toronto’s Hart Trophy holder.

Maurice Richard, Montréal’s 45 goal producer and all-time NHL scoring champion, was lost in the shuffle. Bob Davidson and Nick Metz had the speed boy thoroughly blanketed. He didn’t touch the puck a dozen times, and he never carried it the length of his stick. Lach was Montréal’s big gun, followed closely by Harmon. Irvin’s most dangerous line was the one of Mosdell, Getliffe and Chamberlain.

In arranging his attackers, Day used Nick Metz at left wing and centre. He had Davidson at right wing and at left wing.

Carr’s first period goal was a nifty piece of skating, with defenceman Bouchard as the victim. Lorne raced in from right wing to pick up a long pass from Metz. Bouchard made a feeble and futile effort to knock him off stride. Lorne’s shot hit Durnan’s pads and caromed into the net.

Of the four goals in the third period, Schriner’s was the neatest trick. The score was 1-1, Harmon tying up the game with his long drive. Then Carr skidded a long forward pass in front of the Montréal cage. Schriner thrust out his stick and deftly turned the fast traveling puck past Durnan.

The Canadiens played shorthanded six minutes of the third period, but the Leafs were no more successful than the visitors were in the second while holding a similar advantage.

Sitting in on the big session were Major Conn Smythe, the Garden’s general manager, and Gunner Ted Reeve of the 30th Battery. It was the first NHL game at the Gardens for these two distinguished World War II men since the 30th Battery went off on its attack assignments two years ago.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 5, 1945

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:47 – Pratt
MTL PEN – 05:01 – Chamberlain
MTL PEN – 06:19 – Harmon
TOR GOAL – 10:00 – Carr (Metz)
MTL PEN – 10:57 – Lach
TOR PEN – 10:57 – Stanowski

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 01:22 – Pratt
TOR PEN – 10:04 – Kennedy
TOR PEN – 12:55 – Pratt

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 03:55 – Bouchard
MTL GOAL – 09:39 – Harmon (Lach)
TOR GOAL – 10:12 – Schriner (Carr)
MTL PEN – 13:48 – Blake
MTL PEN – 14:01 – Chamberlain
TOR PP2 GOAL – 15:53 – Carr (Pratt)
MTL GOAL – 16:31 – Lach (Richard)

TOR – McCool (W)
MTL – Durnan (L)

TORGoaltenders: Frank McCool. Defence: Reg Hamilton, Moe Morris, Babe Pratt, Wally Stanowski. Forwards: Gus Bodnar, Lorne Carr, Bob Davidson (C), Mel Hill, Art Jackson, Ted Kennedy, Nick Metz, Tom O’Neill, Sweeney Schriner.
MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Frank Eddolls, Glen Harmon. Forwards: Toe Blake (C), Murph Chamberlain, Fern Gauthier, Ray Getliffe, Dutch Hiller, Elmer Lach, Leo Lamoureux, Kenny Mosdell, Buddy O’Connor, Maurice Richard.

TOR – 20-20-4 (.500)
MTL – 33-6-4 (.814)