Playoff Game 12 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1

Playoff Game 12
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1
Stanley Cup Semifinals, Game 3
Saturday, March 24, 1945
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

That first goal continues to be the solar plexus punch of Stanley Cup playoff hockey. Dick Irvin’s Montréal Canadiens proved it Saturday night at Maple Leaf Gardens, by riding to a decisive 4-1 win over the Leafs after Bill Durnan had provided his mates with just the spark they needed by beating off a sustained Toronto ganging attack early in the first period.

The Leafs were never the same after Durnan had put on his sensational puck booting exhibition while Murph Chamberlain was doing a two minute penalty box stretch for riveting Mel Hill against the boards.

Chamberlain stepped out of the cooler in time to pick up a long forward pass from Elmer Lach. Murph returned the puck to Montréal’s perpetual motion centre, and the scoring play at 11:42 decided the contest.

The Canadiens were much the best the rest of the distance. They picked up three more goals in the second, took the play right away from the locals, outroughed and outbumped them, and made us like it.

A standing room only crowd of 15,087 sat in on the first Gardens game of the Stanley Cup semifinals, and there wasn’t a customer in the rink that could figure out how the Leafs had taken two straight from the Canadiens on Montréal ice.

Both clubs will have a light workout at the Gardens today, limbering up for the fourth game of the set here Tuesday. A fifth game is now needed in Montréal Thursday. The boys may even be back here next Saturday.

Dick Irivn had a five star special working against the Leafs Saturday night. Reading from left to right, upside down and backward, the big guns of the Montréal charge were Émile Bouchard, Murph Chamberlain, Dutch Hiller, Bob Fillion and Bill Durnan. Bouchard’s defensive display was one of the best back division exhibitions put on at the Gardens in a long time.

Although he drew two penalties that put his team under heavy pressure, Murph Chamberlain was a tooth jarring campaigner as well as one of the most dangerous puck pushers. He offset his first period penalty by rushing from the sidelines in time to collaborate with Lach on the opening goal, that was to prove the deciding point in the third Stanley Cup meeting of the two clubs. And his second period goal off a pass from Bouchard was the slickest scoring trick of the night.

Dutch Hiller created more havoc among Toronto puck carriers than any other forward on the big pond. He had three healthy body jolts at Ted Kennedy in the first period before drawing a penalty, was always causing trouble. He climaxed his big night by scoring the third Montréal goal off a play with Johnny Mahaffy.

Bob Fillion, a fast moving southpaw right winger, scored twice in the second period, but got official credit for only one. He scored the second Montréal goal at 7:25 in the period off a pass from Chamberlain, but the latter was chased for cross checking Carr on the play, and referee Bill Chadwick ruled the goal out. Chamberlain was just getting comfortable in the cooler when Fillion intercepted a pass from Pratt inside the Montréal blueline, and went racing up the rink for a score. Nick Metz chased the speedy Montréaler and managed to head him to the end of the rink, but Fillion whipped a scoring shot past McCool before crashing the boards.

Toronto’s only goal came off a ganging play while Hiller was in the penalty box at 9:02 in the third period. It was Carr to Pratt to Davidson officially, although the scoring sequence was disputed by the visitors. Davidson, camped at the Montréal goalmouth, appeared to tip Pratt’s blueline shot behind Durnan. Montréal players insisted the puck had actually gone into the nets off Ray Getliffe’s stick.

One minute after the third period opened, McCool stopped a shot from Elmer Lach with his forehead, dropped like a log. Players of the two clubs were ushered to their dressing rooms for 10 minutes while the Toronto goalie was being patched up.

Although the Montréalers set the fashion in body jolting, gave Toronto forwards a rough passage throughout the evening, the closest to a flareup was a grappling match between Babe Pratt and Maurice Richard. The latter was hounded all night by Bob Davidson, and seldom able to get McCool’s range.

The Canadiens appeared without Buddy O’Connor and Frankie Eddolls, using Frank Stahan from the Montréal Royals and Johnny Mahaffy in their places.

Hap Day’s surprise move was the injection of Don Metz into the lineup in place of Art Jackson. It was Don’s first NHL appearance since the Leafs won the Stanley Cup from Detroit.

“The Canadiens,” said Day afterwards, “took the play right away from us, and we had the kind of letdown a coach always fears in playoff competition after getting off to a good start. But don’t forget the Canadiens have a good hockey club, and we’ll have to play a lot better to beat them.”

Hap figured Durnan’s hot goaltending during Toronto’s hectic ganging attack in the first period while Chamberlain was in the penalty box, was an important factor in the Montréal win. “If we had been able to beat Durnan on those drives,” Day said, “it probably would have been a different hockey game. Meanwhile, I think we’re all pretty well agreed that the first goal in a playoff game is a big item.” Day thought Bouchard and Chamberlain were Montréal’s standout players.

The customers didn’t fancy the rough and ready tactics of Hard Rock Murph, formerly a robust bouncer for the Leafs. As he was heading for the Montréal bench for a rest early in the second period, Chamberlain was given a catcall salute, and responded by thumbing a perspiring nose at his hecklers.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 26, 1945

1st Period
MTL PEN – 09:35 – Chamberlain
MTL GOAL – 11:43 – Lach (Chamberlain)
TOR PEN – 12:45 – D. Metz
MTL PEN – 17:17 – Hiller

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 03:16 – Richard
TOR PEN – 03:16 – Pratt
TOR PEN – 05:27 – Morris
MTL PEN – 07:24 – Chamberlain
MTL SH GOAL – 07:58 – Fillion
MTL GOAL – 11:14 – Hiller (Mahaffy)
TOR PEN – 11:55 – D. Metz
MTL GOAL – 18:55 – Chamberlain (Bouchard)

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 08:31 – Hiller
TOR GOAL – 11:02 – Davidson (Pratt, Carr)
MTL PEN – 15:28 – Richard

MTL – Durnan (W)
TOR – McCool (L)

MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Glen Harmon, Butch Stahan. Forwards: Toe Blake (C), Murph Chamberlain, Bob Fillion, Fern Gauthier, Ray Getliffe, Dutch Hiller, Elmer Lach, Leo Lamoureux, John Mahaffy, Maurice Richard.
TORGoaltenders: Frank McCool. Defence: Reg Hamilton, Moe Morris, Babe Pratt, Wally Stanowski. Forwards: Gus Bodnar, Lorne Carr, Bob Davidson (C), Mel Hill, Ted Kennedy, Jack McLean, Don Metz, Nick Metz, Sweeney Schriner.