Playoff Game 13 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 3 (OT)

Playoff Game 13
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 3 (OT)
Stanley Cup Semifinals, Game 4
Tuesday, March 27, 1945
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Gus Bodnar’s overtime goal – it defeated the Canadiens 4-3 – put the challengers up three games to one over the champions, sent a capacity crowd noisily off into the night.

This goal, a chimera that was snapped recklessly at Durnan from a faceoff to the left of his cage, sent a team into defeat that was so magnificently served by its goalkeeper, hundreds in the audience were pulling for him to come through, and I was one of them.

It was a great team that the Leafs defeated last night. But its greatness lay exclusively in its goalkeeper. He stopped 56 shots to McCool’s 25. He has hands like Brimsek had, a body like Lorne Chabot, an eye like Hughie Lehman.

He was down and he was up like an express elevator. He blocked shots from all angles. He rode others oft, his body extended at full length. He was buried under friendly and enemy forms. He was struck viciously on the knee and almost rendered “hors le Canadiens.”

He was beaten by a shot fired at his net by Pratt from the blue line. He was finally worsted by Bodnar’s smack at the puck from a faceoff, and that’s a hundred to one against in any hockey book.

The Leafs should now be home free in this series. But each hockey game is the only one you can write form on. Thursday night in Montréal, Chadwick will referee, and there will be no entanglements. The Canadiens should win it.

Clancy permits holding, clutching, bodying and interfering without penalty. That’s the way playoffs should be handled. The chips are down. Let davilment occur.

What else do the customers pay money for? To see two teams engaged and all the chippy penalties that the book prescribes called, or to see them wing it over the ice and lustily but legally fling each other around?

The surprising feature of the Leafs’ win is that when the going is free but tough, they can take the physical and mental measure of the team that so many have been insisting is great.

It was a great last season for the company it was up against. It isn’t so great or, if it is, the Leafs are super great. How many of you care to make that admission offhand, or even off the record today?

Goals have been cheap in this series: they will continue to be, so long as the present style of play is not changed.

The Canadiens struck almost before the rivals had shaken hands and hit the deck. Lach beat McCool in 22 seconds. Richard and Lach conspired for a second fall in less than three minutes.

The outlook wasn’t pleasant for the Mudville boys. The Leafs appeared to be playing back to their February form, or should I bring that up?

They came out fighting for the second round, and Hill blasted a puck past Durnan that climaxed a sustained power play that did everything to the champion but stand him on his head. Schriner got another past Durnan ere the period passed.

Clancy banished Pratt. While was a penitent, Fillion put the Canadiens on top. McCool was absent-without-leave on that one. In what he describes as retributive justice, Pratt fired the evener from the blue line. Into overtime we went, sweating and swearing that Durnan is a wizard.

Perhaps the Canadiens were licked when the Leafs protested the eligibility of Johnny Mahaffy, and Dutton sustained it. Apparently Johnny was bought from Pittsburgh too late for him to qualify in the playoffs. Having already lost O’Connor, Mosdell, Eddolls of his regulars, and being forced to set Mahaffy aside, Irvin used Rossignol and Stahan.

“A lot of so-and-so, crybabies,” Irvin growled, re the Mahaffy incident. “We lost him on a technicality.”

“In hockey law,” said Conn Smythe, “we could protest Saturday’s win with Mahaffy playing and probably win it. We won’t do it.” “We lost Nick Metz and they lost Mahaffy. That’s a fair enough tradeoff, isn’t it?”

Day used Don Metz and Jack McLean, played two front lines by interchanging, and his four defencemen back.

The Canadiens do not like to be roughed up. Day hadn’t a player on the ice who didn’t play heads up at all times and hit a rival whenever he saw one.

When you see Pratt and Schriner throwing punches, even itsy bitsy ones like they threw ’em last night, the evidence is clear that the top dog spots on the ice aren’t being occupied by the Canadiens any more.

The Leafs, it is said, discovered Mahaffy’s sale wasn’t kosher on Monday. They protested and were sustained. This is the first time, in my recollection, that a protest has occurred in professional hockey. Aren’t we having fun though, Butch?

Story originally published in The Toronto Daily Star, March 28, 1945

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 00:23 – Lach (Bouchard)

MTL GOAL – 02:14 – Richard (Lach)

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 02:34 – Hill (Kennedy)
MTL PEN – 06:48 – Rossignol
TOR GOAL – 16:15 – Schriner (Metz, Bodnar)

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 01:02 – Chamberlain
TOR PEN – 01:02 – Schriner
TOR PEN – 02:54 – Pratt
MTL PP GOAL – 03:48 – Fillion
TOR GOAL – 09:16 – Pratt

TOR GOAL – 12:36 – Bodnar

TOR – McCool (W, 22-25)
MTL – Durnan (L, 52-56)

TORGoaltenders: Frank McCool. Defence: Reg Hamilton, Moe Morris, Babe Pratt, Wally Stanowski. Forwards: Gus Bodnar, Lorne Carr, Bob Davidson (C), Mel Hill, Ted Kennedy, John McCreedy, Jack McLean, Don Metz, Sweeney Schriner.
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, Maurice Richard, Roly Rossignol.