Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 0
Saturday, November 16, 1946
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario
Canada’s largest ever hockey crowd – 16,315 paid – jam packed Maple Leaf Gardens Saturday night, where the amazing Maple Leafs outfought their arch-rivals, the Montréal Canadiens, for a decided 3-0 decision under probably the most dramatic circumstances in the modern history of the National League.
The drama was there long before the game. Here were two teams, along with the Boston Bruins, tied for first place. Each had charges of roughness at each other, and the tilt came following a league order to referees to crack down on such goings-on as rough play and arguing. Not only that, but the Leafs had been humiliated five successive times on Toronto ice by the Canadiens last season.
Perhaps because of the official edict, the smash-em-down-and-carry-em-out type of game that marked the teams’ first meeting of the season in Montréal didn’t develop. Referee King Clancy ruled hard and the game was a lightning fast, hard fought struggle featured by a terrific, two goal effort by “Teeder” Kennedy an the spectacular goaltending of 32 year old Turk Broda, who hung up his first shutout since coming back from overseas service the latter part of last season.
The Turk had the breaks too in the first period, after evergreen Syl Apps shot his fifth goal of the season to open the scoring. Maurice “The Rocket” Richard let go a short drive that had Broda beaten. The puck hit the post and bounded out.
Apps’ tally came on a play set up by Gaye Stewart, who carried the puck into a corner, took time to look around, then passed out to Gus Bodnar. That great little artist relayed it to Syl in front of the net, and Apps beat Durnan cleanly. Gaye got an assist, his first point on Toronto ice this season. Exactly a year ago to the night, Stewart scored four goals in finding the form that carried him to the league scoring title.
Pure fight by Kennedy gave him the first of his two second period tallies. He took a pass from his battling rookie linemate, Howie Meeker, inside the Canadien area, lost the puck, battled for it and got it again, then backhanded it into the net.
Émile Bouchard, perhaps the best of the Habitants, was in penitence for boarding Jimmy Thomson when Kennedy counted his second score midway through the frame. Wally Stanowski, maintaining his vastly improved form that showed the previous Saturday here, carried the puck up the ice on one of his typical, old-time rushes, passed to Kennedy parked in front of goalie Bill Durnan. A quick flick and it was in.
The Leafs, fresh after a week of rest, had most of the play and, indeed, had the visitors, playing their third game in four nights, bewildered at times as they swept in relentlessly.
Frank Selke, the Canuck general manager who had hurled pregame charges that the Leafs were “wrestlers and killers,” said in a postgame discussion that “the Leafs are the best team in the league.”
Coach Dick Irvin, like Selke formerly with Toronto, sat a bit disconsolate on a trunk in the dressing room, said softly: “The Leafs outplayed us, outfought us and out-everythinged us tonight.”
General Manager Conn Smythe of the Leafs, who had termed the Canadiens “woodchoppers,” said with jubilation in the Toronto dressing room just before the team dashed for the New York train: “This does my heart good. We really pasted them after all those defeats last year. These Leafs sure are a great team of fighters…I think Jimmy Thomson played the greatest game of his amateur or professional career.”
Thomson certainly gave a great display. He looked far from the 20 year old rookie he is, was a tower of strength and broke up many Canadien rushes, to the roar of the crowd standing four deep in the aisles. But Broda was the individual star, just as the Kennedy-Meeker-Vic Lynn line was the best unit.
The new attendance mark replaces the previous record of 16,242 at the seventh game of the 1941-42 Stanley Cup Finals between the Leafs and Detroit here.
Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 18, 1946
TOR PEN – 01:09 – Meeker
TOR GOAL – 05:32 – Apps (Stewart, Bodnar)
MTL PEN – 01:55 – Reardon
TOR GOAL – 06:55 – Kennedy (Meeker)
TOR PEN – 08:09 – Boesch
MTL PEN – 10:07 – Bouchard, boarding
TOR PP GOAL – 10:45 – Kennedy (Stanowski, Lynn)
TOR PEN – 11:52 – Stanowski
MTL PEN – 13:09 – Richard
TOR PEN – 07:04 – Thomson
MTL PEN – 15:13 – Leger
TOR – Broda (W + SO)
MTL – Durnan (L)
TOR – Goaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Garth Boesch, Gus Mortson, Wally Stanowski, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Syl Apps (C), Gus Bodnar, Bill Ezinicki, Ted Kennedy, Joe Klukay, Vic Lynn, Howie Meeker, Nick Metz, Bud Poile, Gaye Stewart.
MTL – Goaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Glen Harmon, Roger Leger, Ken Reardon. Forwards: George Allen, Toe Blake (C), Bob Fillion, Léo Gravelle, Elmer Lach, Leo Lamoureux, Kenny Mosdell, George Pargeter, Jimmy Peters, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard.
TOR – 6-1-3 (.750)
MTL – 5-4-3 (.542)