Game 227 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1

Game 227
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1
Thursday, December 26, 1946
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Montréal Canadiens performed like the Flying Frenchmen of a decade ago, as they played brilliantly tonight to defeat the National League-leading Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 before 11,756 happy customers, the largest crowd of the season.

The hard earned victory in a bitterly fought contest stopped the youthful Toronto team’s winning streak at six games.

The second place Canadiens, who cut their margin behind the leaders to 1½ games, had the edge from the outset. They scored early in the first period and were never headed, picking up another goal in the second period and scoring twice in the final 20 minutes. The lone Toronto tally came late in the middle period.

Although outplayed, the travel-weary and hungry Leafs (their train from Detroit was late, arriving in Montréal an hour before game time, and the players had no chance to eat before the game) never stopped trying. Goalie Turk Broda played brilliantly.

But it was Montréal’s night, and Dick Irvin’s boys played like the defending world’s champions they are. It was hard to pick individual stars. All three Red Shirt forward lines played excellent hockey, while Kenny Reardon and Butch Bouchard gave the league’s top goaltender, Bill Durnan, amazing support.

Tempers flared briefly in the final period after referee King Clancy had the game under strict control in the first two periods. Bouchard and Jimmy Thomson mixed, with the Montréaler throwing the Toronto youngster over the boards. Gus Mortson rushed to his defencemate’s aid, as did Reardon to the side of Bouchard. Bouchard and Mortson received minors. The foursome clashed again later, but there were no penalties.

From the outset, Clancy, who had his hands full officiating previous rugged contests between these two hard hitting teams, ruled with an iron hand. He sent players off for the slightest infraction of the rules. There was, however, no scoring when the teams were shorthanded.

This rigid policing of the game had a tendency to slow down the action, and for minutes on end, the rabid French Canadian fans who love action sat silent.

Seven penalties, including a 10 minute misconduct to Gus Mortson, were handed out in the first period, three in the second and three in the third. Toronto played two men short for more than a full minute of the opening period, but the Canadiens’ attack could not get organized, due to the hard work of Nick Metz, Gus Bodnar and Thomson. The odd shot they did get away was ably handled by the competent Broda.

Dick Irvin iced three forward combinations that came up with well executed passing plays, and again it was mainly the work of Broda that kept the score down. The opening Montréal score came from the fast skating trio of Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, Buddy O’Connor and Toe Blake. It was the latter who put the puck into the net at 3:26, taking a pass from Richard. The Rocket skated in close, turned completely around and shot an accurate backhander onto his linemate’s stick.

The second Montréal score came at the start of the second period. Kenny Mosdell finished off a Montréal ganging play after the opening faceoff. The clock read :33 when the red light went on. The hardworking Murph Chamberlain got an assist.

The Leafs finally penetrated netminder Bill Durnan’s stonewall toward the end of the middle period. The KLM line, with Joe Klukay on left wing, pressed, giving the netminder a busy time. Finally, out of a maze of sticks and bodies, Ted Kennedy banged home a hard shot. Klukay got the assist.

The Canadiens made it 3-1 at 9:49 of the third period. The score came from the Montréalers’ best forward combination of Mosdell, Chamberlain and Jimmy Peters. It was Peters who took the puck after several dangerous rushes, and it was the line’s second tally of the night. Chamberlain was given an assist.

The fourth Canadian goal was scored by George Allen at the 15 minute mark of the final period. It was another nicely executed passing play with Billy Reay and Bobby Fillion getting assists. Allen received the pass inside the Toronto defence and shot a hard one that Broda partially blocked. The Montréaler made sure of the rebound.

The game ended with the Canadiens pressing as the Leafs were shorthanded, Thomson serving his third penalty of the tilt. The Leafs left immediately after the game for Toronto and Saturday night’s game with the Boston Bruins.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 27, 1946

1st Period
TOR PEN – 01:06 – Mortson
MTL GOAL – 03:26 – Blake (Richard, O’Connor)
MTL PEN – 03:49 – Reardon
MTL PEN – 06:37 – Gravelle
TOR PEN – 11:35 – Boesch
TOR PEN – 12:33 – Mortson, minor + game misconduct
MTL PEN – 15:30 – Mosdell

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 00:33 – Mosdell (Chamberlain)
MTL PEN – 01:20 – Lamoureux
TOR GOAL – 17:05 – Kennedy (Klukay)
MTL PEN – 17:17 – Reay
TOR PEN – 17:17 – Boesch

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 05:02 – Bouchard
TOR PEN – 05:02 – Mortson
MTL GOAL – 09:49 – Peters (Chamberlain)
MTL GOAL – 15:00 – Allen (Reay, Fillion)
TOR PEN – 18:20 – Thomson

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, Howie Meeker, Don Metz, Nick Metz, Bud Poile, Gaye Stewart, Harry Watson.

MTL – 16-7-3 (.673)
TOR – 17-6-4 (.704)