Game 215 – Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 1

Game 215
Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 1
Wednesday, November 14, 1945
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

It’s come to the point where saliva tests and X-ray pictures seem to be necessary to get a scientific answer to “what’s wrong with the Leafs?”

A few nights back, the Leafs put on a long overdue display of speed and checking skill in front of rookie Gord Bell’s good goaltending to knock off the Chicago Black Hawks.

It looked as if we were out of the wilderness at last, with Bell the answer to Toronto’s goal worries and Bob Goldham promising to become the classiest all-round defenceman the homesters have had in years.

Last night, Dick Irvin’s Montréal Canadiens got about five minutes of sturdy opposition from the Leafs in each of the first two periods. At the finish, the Flying Frenchmen had registered a 6-1 decision and moved into a first place National Hockey League tie with the Black Hawks.

The Canadiens knocked the Leafs back on the heels of their well worn blades with two goals inside the first six minutes of play, added another in the second and finished with three in a stretch of three minutes and 36 seconds in the third.

Toronto’s lone goal came late in the first period when Sweeney Schriner took a pass from Babe Pratt and snaked a lazy backhand shot through Bill Durnan’s legs.

Four of the six Montréal goals were scored while the Toronto defence combination of Goldham and Stanowski was patrolling in front of Bell. One was scored while Pratt and Morris had three forward liners to help them, another against the same pair while Goldham was in the penalty box. Two of the goals were from shots well out in the Toronto defence zone. All three forward lines were penetrated for scores.

Looking back over the show, however, it appeared to us that the ineptness of the Leafs last night came from all directions, rather than from any one department. The Canadiens simply packed too much speed, much better passing and superior defensive weapons. Bill Durnan had a comparatively dull evening in his cage patrol.

It was the same Montréal club the locals had beaten five times, tied once in 10 meetings last winter, and then pushed out of the Stanley Cup semifinals.

Off Saturday night’s game against the Hawks, and improved condition of players back to strengthen the Stanley Cup champions, the Leafs rated to make a battle of their first Gardens engagement with the Montréalers. But they didn’t.

“Worst game we’ve played this year,” was the way Hap Day described it. “I didn’t think our players had any fire from the start, certainly none after the Canadiens had scored twice in the first period.”

Day didn’t put the blame on goaltending, defence or forward spots. “The team was bad. Only two or three players appeared to have anything.”

Bob Fillion started the Canadiens on their way early in the first period, after Murph Chamberlain had lugged the puck into the Toronto zone. Murphy passed to Peters on on right wing, and the Montréal rookie flipped a knee high puck in front of the Toronto nets. Fillion batted it out of the air for a goal.

While Goldham was in the penalty box for tripping, Hiller shifted around Morris from left wing for a goal off O’Connor’s pass.

Schriner scored late in the period with a backhander that Durnan reached for with his glove, but failed to trap. Just before the period ended, Gaye Stewart barged through on Durnan for the only other wide open chance at the visiting cage the balance of the evening.

Toe Blake sifted inside the Toronto defence on Lach’s pass for the only goal of the second period. Blake, Bouchard and O’Connor potted the third period goals. The three came in a space of three minutes and a half. As O’Connor bagged the sixth and final goal, referee Bill Chadwick fell on the seat of his pants, doubtless overcome by the slipstream of the Montréal attack.

Defenceman Kenny Reardon, back to the visitors after two years’ army service, pulled up lame after Goldham belted him in the first period. General manager Tommy Gorman reported the injury as a charley horse. Mike McMahon, the beefy rearguard and fifth defenceman dressed by Irvin, took his place.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 15, 1945

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 02:57 – Fillion (Peters)
TOR PEN – 04:54 – Goldham, tripping
MTL PP GOAL – 06:03 – Hiller (O’Connor)
MTL PEN – 08:11 – Harmon
TOR PEN – 08:45 – Pratt
MTL PEN – 15:12 – Lamoureux
TOR GOAL – 18:09 – Schriner (Pratt)

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 03:43 – Chamberlain, game misconduct
TOR PEN – 05:22 – Morris
MTL PEN – 11:35 – Richard
MTL GOAL – 19:12 – Blake (Lach)

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 08:03 – Blake (Lach)

MTL GOAL – 09:40 – Bouchard (Chamberlain, Peters)
MTL GOAL – 10:40 – O’Connor (Hiller)

MTL – Durnan (W)
TOR – Bell (L)

MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Glen Harmon, Mike McMahon, Ken Reardon. Forwards: Joe Benoit, Toe Blake (C), Murph Chamberlain, Bob Fillion, Dutch Hiller, Elmer Lach, Leo Lamoureux, Buddy O’Connor, Jimmy Peters, Maurice Richard.
TORGoaltenders: Gordie Bell. Defence: Bob Goldham, Moe Morris, Babe Pratt, Wally Stanowski. Forwards: Syl Apps (C), Gus Bodnar, Lorne Carr, Bob Davidson, Bill Ezinicki, Mel Hill, Ted Kennedy, Sweeney Schriner, Gaye Stewart, Billy Taylor.

MTL – 5-2-0 (.714)
TOR – 1-7-1 (.167)