Game 222 – Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1

Game 222
Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1
Saturday, March 9, 1946
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Digging in as if elimination of the Toronto Leafs was the most important assignment of the 1945-46 campaign, the Montréal Canadiens accomplished the “blot-out” trick with a 2-1 victory at Maple Leaf Gardens Saturday night.

The Leafs needed a win to keep alive the last playoff breath. The defeat ended the thin mathematical chance they entertained of hitting the postseason Stanley Cup tournament. Last year, the Leafs not only mesmerized the Habs during the regular sked, but knocked ’em out of the playoffs.

A spectacular bit of broken field running late in the first period by Glen Harmon started the Canadiens on their victory march. Harmon travelled solo from his own blueline, weaved around Toronto forwards, neatly outshifted Goldham and Stanowski on the defence, and sneaked the puck through Broda’s feet.

Early in the second period, Mosdell fell heir to a puck Wally Stanowski fumbled inside the Toronto blueline, and next thing the customers knew, the puck was behind Broda again. Our side never recovered from the Harmon and Mosdell blows, although Bill Ezinicki crowned his most impressive NHL performance by scoring off a pass from Syl Apps at 13:22 in the third period.

The first period unfolded as much hard skating, good passing and sustained action as any 20 minute stretch at the Gardens since an early season thriller between the Leafs and Hawks. The second period was away off the early pace. The tempo of the first period was revived in the third after Sweeney Schriner twice made promising bids for his 200th major goal; and Pratt missed potting the rebound off Sweeney’s second try. Apps’ long pass from left wing to Ezinicki gave the Leafs new life, but not enough.

Toronto-born Bill Durnan delivered another of his netminding masterpieces, as the Canadiens finished their 1945-46 visiting program at the Gardens undefeated in five appearances. He had Shriner practically daffy. Seeking that 200th goal, Sweeney had as many scoring chances as a week ago, when he did his three goal act against Chicago. He had a big chance in the first off a long pass from Bud Poile.

He had what looked like a sure setup early in the third off Lorne Carr’s relay. Midway through the period, he let one go that mysteriously finished up the ice. Some folks claimed that shot hit a goalpost. Others said it bounced off Durnan’s stick. The rebound settled at Babe Pratt’s feet, and Babe let drive with another shot that Durnan apparently swallowed, for it never reached the netting.

Syl Apps had another big night left winging for the Leafs. I thought he was the best individual artist on the rink. His right wing partner, Bill Ezinicki, was the most aggressive campaigner of either club, and came through with his best game as a National Leaguer on home ice.

Dick Irvin introduced a fast moving left wing rookie in Gerry Plamondon, and had the pesky Murphy Chamberlain going at full tilt in his first Toronto showing since being injured here several weeks back. Ken Reardon, Glen Harmon and Goldham were the pick of the defence fraternities.

Billy Taylor, who suffered a foot injury requiring three or four stitches, did not accompany the Leafs to Boston for their Sunday game. His hurt is “nothing serious,” according to club physician Dr. Bob Galloway.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 11, 1946

1st Period
MTL PEN – 06:10 – Bouchard
MTL PEN – 10:15 – Reardon
MTL GOAL – 19:37 – Harmon

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 04:50 – Mosdell
TOR PEN – 14:46 – Schriner
TOR PEN – 18:55 – Pratt

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 13:22 – Ezinicki (Apps)

MTL PEN – 19:48 – Richard

MTL – Durnan (W)
TOR – Broda (L)

MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Glen Harmon, Ken Reardon. Forwards: Toe Blake (C), Murph Chamberlain, Bob Fillion, Dutch Hiller, Elmer Lach, Leo Lamoureux, Kenny Mosdell, Jimmy Peters, Gerry Plamondon, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard.
TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Bob Goldham, Moe Morris, Babe Pratt, Wally Stanowski. Forwards: Syl Apps (C), Gus Bodnar, Lorne Carr, Bill Ezinicki, Jackie Hamilton, Nick Metz, Bud Poile, Sweeney Schriner, Gaye Stewart, Billy Taylor.

MTL – 26-16-4 (.609)
TOR – 17-23-6 (.435)