Game 230 – Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 0

Game 230
Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 0
Thursday, January 30, 1947
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Paced by the sensational performance of their renowned “Punch Line,” the defending world champion Montréal Canadiens defeated the league leading Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 in a bitterly fought contest here tonight.

A crowd of 12,275 excited fans, the largest attendance at the Forum this season, saw their heroes out-battle the injury riddled Toronto squad, to come within a single point of the top in the NHL championship race.

For the slumping Leafs, it was the fourth game in which they have not been able to gain a decision, a tie against Chicago last Sunday night being their best effort in almost two weeks.

The Montréalers were deserving of victory, and in getting his second shutout of the season, Vézina-minded Bill Durnan played a terrific game in the Habitants net, although he was not kept as busy as Turk Broda in the Toronto cage.

It was the fine work of Maurice Richard, Toe Blake and Elmer Lach, playing what veteran Montréal sports writers said was their smoothest game of the year, that spelled victory for Dick Irvin’s lads. After a slow start, this trio picked up speed midway through the second period and were nothing short of sensational. They were the one line that could do anything against the hard checking Toronto team, and the cagey Irvin, realizing this, played them a lot more than his other combinations.

The Leafs tried hard, and at times looked as though they might pull through at least a tie. The hardworking trio of Syl Apps, Harry Watson and Bill Ezinicki had innumerable chances, as did Gaye Stewart and Bud Poile. But it was Durnan’s night.

The score could have been much higher if it had not been for the work of Wally Stanowski. Time and again, the lean rearguard blocked rushes and used his body to good advantage, a trick he has used only in the last half dozen games. The two rookie rearguards, Gus Mortson and Jimmy Thomson, worked hard, but Stanowski was tops for the Toronto cause.

The first score came late in the second period when Howie Meeker was serving a penalty. Rocket Richard was the scorer, with Lach and Blake getting assists. The time was 17:36. Less than five minutes later, in the final frame, this troublesome trio did it again, with Blake scoring, and Lach and Ken Reardon getting the assists.

The opening 20 minutes had little to recommend it in the way of exciting hockey. It was a dull, close checking affair with referee Bill Chadwick thumbing the boys to the penalty bench for the slightest infraction of the rules, even though NHL prexy Clarence Campbell was several hundred miles away in New York.

Rival nettenders Turk Broda and Bill Durnan each made five stops, but there was not a clear shot on the net in the lot.

Jimmy Thomson was hurt trying to stop Maurice Richard and fell to the ice with blood streaming from his face. With the game only eight minutes old, it looked as though the Leafs might have to carry on with only two rearguards. However, the 20 year old rookie was patched up in time to return for his regular shift.

The second period was so different from the first, it looked like a different game. Both teams came out fighting in the best traditions of ring warfare. It was a ding dong battle, with no feelings spared.

The Leafs, and particularly Syl Apps, Harry Watson and Bill Ezinicki, had several chances, but could not penetrate the stone wall put up by Durnan. The Montréal netminder and leading Vézina Trophy contender was sensational. Twice it looked as though Watson would score, but Durnan would have no part of it.

Then, just before the period ended, with the Canadiens shorthanded, Gaye Stewart blasted a terrific drive from 10 feet out, but Durnan managed to get a glove down in time to prevent a score.

Play roughened up in the middle session. Bill Ezinicki and Glen Harmon were chased for roughing. Soon after they returned, the usually mild tempered Bud Poile went off for charging Murph Chamberlain.

Meeker was penalized at the 15:38 mark for holding big Butch Bouchard, and there were only two seconds of his sentence remaining when the Punch Line finally beat Broda. Like his adversary, Broda made stop after stop. Several times Richard, Toe Blake and Elmer Lach were in close, but Broda managed to get in the way.

Finally, at 17:36, Richard, the league’s leading goal scorer, shoved the puck into the net after a wild scramble with his two linemates getting assists.

The Leafs pressed in an effort to get the equalizer. Ken Mosdell was penalized with less than one minute of the middle period remaining to play. Before the action was resumed, Bouchard took a run at Gaye Stewart, and the two players locked sticks. Chadwick stepped in before the boys could get a blow in.

Then the Leafs, particularly Poile, Stewart and Don Metz, kept the puck in the Montréal zone until the period ended.

The Punch Line continued their terrific pace throughout the final period. They made it 2-0 at 2:29, and only the terrific work of the weakened Leaf defence, especially the amazing Stanowski, kept the score that low.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, January 31, 1947

1st Period
MTL PEN – 05:15 – O’Connor
MTL PEN – 09:21 – Fillion
TOR PEN – 11:48 – Thomson
MTL PEN – 14:57 – Chamberlain
MTL PEN – 18:27 – Richard
TOR PEN – 18:27 – Mortson

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 03:26 – Harmon
TOR PEN – 03:26 – Ezinicki
TOR PEN – 06:47 – Poile
TOR PEN – 15:38 – Meeker, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 17:36 – Richard (Lach, Blake)
MTL PEN – 19:27 – Mosdell

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 02:29 – Blake (Lach, Reardon)

TOR PEN – 13:25 – Mortson

MTL – Durnan (W + SO)
TOR – Broda (L)

MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Glen Harmon, Roger Leger, Ken Reardon. Forwards: Toe Blake (C), Murph Chamberlain, Bob Fillion, Léo Gravelle, Elmer Lach, Leo Lamoureux, Kenny Mosdell, Buddy O’Connor, Jimmy Peters, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard.
TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Gus Mortson, Wally Stanowski, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Syl Apps (C), Gus Bodnar, Bill Ezinicki, Ted Kennedy, Howie Meeker, Don Metz, Nick Metz, Bud Poile, Gaye Stewart, Harry Watson.

MTL – 24-11-5 (.663)
TOR – 24-11-6 (.659)