Game 226 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2

Game 226
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2
Wednesday, December 11, 1946
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The hockey wise Montréal Canadiens discarded their badman tactics at the end of a murderous first period last night, to come up with a fine exhibition of the professional puck pastime and defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2, before 13,815 cash customers at Maple Leaf Gardens.

The astutely coached Habitants overcame a two goal deficit to win going away, and emphasized they are still champions of the world. The victory changed the National League leadership, with Montréal now on top holding a one point advantage over the Leafs.

For the young Leaflets, it was a bitter lesson in strategy. In the initial period, the Canadiens forgot there was such a thing as a puck, and laid about them with might and main in what was obviously a carefully planned scheme of operations. The Leafs hit back equally as hard and banged in two goals.

Then, from the start of the second on, the Dick Irvin coached lads started to play hockey according to the book. Twenty minutes later, they were leading 3-2, and worthy of the advantage.

For the greater part of the game, the Canadiens outplayed the Leafs, having their greatest advantage in the disastrous second frame. The Toronto kids, however, never stopped trying, and fought back only to be “deked” time and again by the stonewall netminding of big Bill Durnan during the last half of the third period.

The first period was rugged in the extreme, with referee George Hayes having his work cut out to prevent a possible riot. Glen Harmon was chased soon after the game started for slashing at Syl Apps, and five minutes later Kenny Reardon was given the thumb for attempting to “strangle” “Wild Bill” Ezinicki. The Montréal rearguard applied a full nelson on Ezinicki twice within a matter of seconds, but escaped the eagle eye of Mr. Hayes the first time.

That penalty was the signal for a wild melee with 10 players milling around. Butch Bouchard boarded Joe Klukay and then climbed on the Toronto player’s back, jockey style. The aggressive Murph Chamberlain joined the fray and when a spectator grabbed at his stick, the terrible tempered Mr. Chamberlain slashed wildly across the boards, narrowly missing a woman’s head.

Hayes had no sooner got that fight straightened out when the usually mild Nick Metz became embroiled in an argument with Leo Lamoureux behind the Canadien net. Both were banished for two minutes. It was the first penalty this season for Metz.

Harmon went off again, this time for slashing at Jimmy Thomson, and the Canadiens played two men short for more than a minute.

The fans were expecting more fireworks in the second period, but instead were treated to some fine play with rookie Léo Gravelle, Billy Reay, George Allen, Maurice Richard, Toe Blake and Buddy O’Connor pacing the attack. Bouncing Butch Bouchard and Kenny Reardon backed them up with some stellar defence work.

It was Gravelle who scored the first Montréal goal on an assist from Allen. These two and Buddy O’Connor made several dangerous rushes in the opening minutes of the middle stanza, and it was mainly the outstanding work of Turk Broda that kept the score down.

Ted “Teeder” Kennedy was chased for boarding Bouchard and the veteran Metz and Joe Klukay came up with another of their amazing penalty killing stints. The Canadiens only had one shot on goal while having the manpower advantage.

Billy Reay came up with Montréal’s second goal at 16:04 of the second period, finishing off a power play with Allen and Roger Leger getting assists. Three minutes later, the final score of the night came from Richard’s stick with Harmon getting the assist.

The Leafs did all their scoring in the first period. Ezinicki scored first. The Leafs sent five men up and there was a wild scramble around the net. Wally Stanowski scooped the puck out to Ezinicki, and the Toronto forward blazed a shot through a maze of players into the net.

The Canadiens were a man short when the Leafs scored again. Kennedy was the goal-getter with the hard skating Vic Lynn and the durable Klukay getting assists.

NOTES: Harry Taylor was dressed, but did not play, with Klukay working on the KLM line in place of the injured Howie Meeker…Ken Mosdell broke out of a Leaf ganging attack in the first period, skated down the ice with no one in front of him except Turk Broda. But the levelheaded Toronto netminder was equal to the occasion and blocked the shot…For almost a minute in the third period, the Leafs had seven men on the ice, but apparently the fact escaped the notice of the referee and the entire Montréal team. As a matter of fact, Hayes sent Buddy O’Connor off for tripping a Leaf player before coach Happy Day got the extra man off the ice.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 12, 1946

1st Period
MTL PEN – 03:12 – Harmon, slashing
TOR GOAL – 07:43 – Ezinicki (Stanowski)
MTL PEN – 09:22 – Reardon, roughing
MTL PEN – 11:16 – Lamoureux
TOR PEN – 11:16 – Metz
MTL PEN – 12:03 – Harmon, slashing
TOR PP GOAL – 13:47 – Kennedy (Lynn, Klukay)

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 03:32 – Gravelle (Allen)
TOR PEN – 05:19 – Kennedy, boarding
MTL GOAL – 16:04 – Reay (Allen, Leger)
MTL GOAL – 19:19 – Richard (Harmon)

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 07:23 – O’Connor, tripping
TOR PEN – 08:18 – Boesch
MTL PEN – 11:28 – Gravelle
TOR PEN – 18:30 – Lynn

MTL – Durnan (W)
TOR – Broda (L)

MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Glen Harmon, Roger Leger, Ken Reardon. Forwards: George Allen, Toe Blake (C), Murph Chamberlain, Bob Fillion, Léo Gravelle, Leo Lamoureux, Kenny Mosdell, Buddy O’Connor, Jimmy Peters, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard.
TORGoaltenders: 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, Nick Metz, Bud Poile, Gaye Stewart, Harry Taylor, Harry Watson.

MTL – 12-6-3 (.643)
TOR – 11-5-4 (.650)