Playoff Game 10
Maple Leafs 1, Canadiens 0
Stanley Cup Semifinals, Game 1
Tuesday, March 20, 1945
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec
Ted Kennedy swung the most potent early spring golf shot of the 1945 season as the Toronto Leafs stepped into a one game lead in the Stanley Cup playoff series against the Montréal Canadiens here tonight.
It was a golf swinging stroke by Kennedy at 19:38 in the third period that gave the Leafs a 1-0 decision over the Canadiens in the first game in a best four in seven set, and came with such dramatic suddenness that the game was over before victory thirsty Montréalers realized their club was on the short end.
Bob Davidson started the play that gave the Leafs their 1-0 shutout decision. His shot caromed off a Montréal defence player. The puck did a hop in front of the Montréal cage. Kennedy took a backhand swing at the puck. The rubber hit a goalpost, touched Bill Durnan’s leg, and then skidded into the cage.
The details of the goal were supplied by referee Bill Chadwick and linesman Babcock. The score came at the opposite end of the rink to Toronto newspapermen, and visiting scribes were unsure of the scoring play.
“It was one of the oddest plays I’ve seen in a long time,” referee Bill Chadwick told us in his dressing room after the game. “The puck hit one of the Montréal defencemen after Davidson shot from well out on right wing. Kennedy had his back to the puck and took a bat at it. The puck hit the goalpost, touched Durnan’s pads and then dropped into the nets.”
Kennedy’s goal broke up a hockey game that was devoid of thrills. It was a close checking affair from start to finish, and the two goaltenders had spells when they could easily have been employed selling programs to the 11,783 customers. It was that kind of a contest.
It was a Stanley Cup playoff game fought between the two blue lines. Neither goaltender was under pressure at any time, unless it was during those stretches when the penalty box was occupied. Even then, the penalized team was able to set up a defence capable of handling the extra pressure. On the whole, it was a dull contest.
The toughest moment of the game from a Toronto standpoint came early in the third period. Maurice Richard, the 50 goal sniper for the Canadiens, broke into the clear from the Toronto blue line. He had the puck at his command, and only McCool to beat. Richard’s quick drive missed the net from 15 feet out. The Montréal player trapped the rebound off the boards and snapped another shot that McCool tossed aside. It was Montréal’s only wide open scoring chance of the night.
You couldn’t pick a standout play in a game that was played so close to the vest. Yet coach Hap Day sent out his athletes with so much confidence that he paraded three lines against the Montréalers for the first time in several engagements. He had Art Jackson, Johnny McCreedy and Nick Metz working as his third combination in the second and third periods. Earlier, he used Nick as an alternate for Kennedy at centre.
Frankie Eddolls, the former Toronto chattel who was traded to the Canadiens for Kennedy a couple of seasons back, was a surprise started with the Montréalers. Earlier in the day it had been announced that Frank Stahan, the burly Portage la Prairie boy, had been called up from the Montréal Royals to substitute for Eddolls, hurt in a recent game against Boston.
Frank McCool had in front of him Tuesday night the stoutest checking wall that ever patrolled for him in NHL competition. The combinations of Pratt and Morris, Stanowski and Hamilton spread a defensive blanket that gave him his easiest job of the winter. Durnan at the other end had equally stout protection. Consequently, it became a check-check-check game between the blue lines, and so few exciting plays in front of the opposing nets that the customers seldom were worked up to anything that approached hockey frenzy.
Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 21, 1945
TOR PEN – 02:31 – Morris
MTL PEN – 05:11 – Chamberlain
TOR PEN – 08:10 – Hamilton
MTL PEN – 12:02 – Bouchard
MTL PEN – 18:22 – Richard
TOR PEN – 03:45 – Hamilton
TOR PEN – 14:43 – Morris
TOR GOAL – 19:38 – Kennedy
TOR – McCool (W + SO)
MTL – Durnan (L)
TOR – Goaltenders: 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, John McCreedy, Nick Metz, Sweeney Schriner.
MTL – Goaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Frank Eddolls, Glen Harmon. Forwards: Toe Blake (C), Murph Chamberlain, Bob Fillion, Fern Gauthier, Ray Getliffe, Dutch Hiller, Elmer Lach, Leo Lamoureux, Buddy O’Connor, Maurice Richard.