Playoff Game 11 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2

Playoff Game 11
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2
Stanley Cup Semifinals, Game 2
Thursday, March 22, 1945
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The old champion shook tousled locks, heaved a sigh, looked at the troubled faces of his handlers, and sank dismayedly into his corner, beaten but unafraid.

Having just had his ears punched off by an upstart challenger from Ontario, a challenger, by the way, that grows more confident if not cockier under each bout, the champion is understood to have whispered to his chief second that not only is his punch going, but his wind has already gone.

That the incredible not only happens in playoff hockey, but that it reoccurs, was demonstrated as the cocky Leafs knocked out the champion “greatest team of all time” (it said here some time ago) not only once but also again.

They had beaten him 1-0, and now it was 3-2 for them. The champion, while not knocked out, is weaving groggily, and isn’t sure today that he even knew the score.

What we are seeing up to now in these playoffs is the equivalent of Lou Nova beating Joe Louis, or a couple of Jim Fair’s horses winning the King’s Plate and the Coronation at the Woodbine.

It was hockey of the catch-as-catch-can, rough and tumble variety beloved by the multitude.

First Kennedy hoisted a puck away that beat Durnan. Then Bouchard let one go in a jam session that eluded McCool. This drew such a terrific outburst from the pent-up crowd that play, or even thought, was impossible for minutes.

Such a shower of rubber fell upon the ice, if it had been collected by any of the astute tire companies, all of us would soon be equipped with nice new tires for our gasoline buggies.

It was about time, too, the great throng said emphatically, that the champion threw a punch to disturb this protestant enemy.

Yet a few minutes after this remarkable outburst of “joie de vie,” one Lorne Carr threw a puck past Durnan and so, by all the powers of punch, did Nicky Metz. So there was the champion, sprawled on the canvas, breathing with difficulty and extended at full length.

He came out for the next round, but he was psychologically whipped. This was evident when he threw caution aside and the puck away from him so that he might chase it. The challenger laid back and boxed him.

The fight ended before the third period began. Only the accident of penalty to Morris enabled Lach to respectabilize a situation which already had the crowd and Forum directors shrinking deeply into their heavy coats and mink wraps, by throwing a puck past McCool, so that on the record the Canadiens finished on the lamentable end of a five goal splurge.

Our hopes that the tempo of the match would be accelerated by the injection of Clancy as a referee were abundantly fulfilled. There was a fight or what you may hear was an exhibition of brutality. If so, you have been misinformed.

True, first Stanowski and Blake, then Davidson and Richard, struggled. True, they were all penalized. Think no more of it. All we got for our hopes of a Donnybrook was a subsequent lessening in hockey skill and craft.

Story originally published in The Toronto Daily Star, March 23, 1945

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:57 – Hamilton
MTL PEN – 03:05 – Chamberlain
TOR PP GOAL – 04:07 – Kennedy (Davidson, Pratt)
MTL PEN – 11:32 – Getliffe
MTL PEN – 17:48 – Blake, major
TOR PEN – 17:48 – Stanowski, major
MTL PEN – 17:48 – Bouchard
TOR PEN – 17:48 – Davidson
MTL PEN – 17:48 – Richard

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 07:11 – Metz
MTL PP GOAL – 08:15 – Bouchard
TOR GOAL – 10:58 – Carr (Schriner)
MTL PEN – 15:02 – Lach
TOR PP GOAL – 15:39 – Metz

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 15:54 – Morris
MTL PP GOAL – 17:21 – Lach (Bouchard, 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, Jack McLean, Nick Metz, Sweeney Schriner.
MTLGoaltenders: 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.