Game 232 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 4

Game 232
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 4
Saturday, February 15, 1947
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Fighting to the final whistle and favoured by a late period smile from Lady Luck, the Toronto Maple Leafs overcame a two goal deficit to tie the more experienced defending world champion Montréal Canadiens 4-4 at Maple Leaf Gardens Saturday night.

The break that made for an even division of points came with less than five minutes remaining until full time. Harry Watson lobbed a high basketball shot deep into the Montréal zone, and the alert Syl Apps raced in to bat the puck down with his glove and scoop it into the net with his stick.

“I was lucky,” the team captain admitted after the game, but it saved the day for Toronto, and left the blue and white squad six points behind the league leading Montréal team, as both teams headed out of town for Sunday engagements.

A crowd of 14,335 witnessed a rough and tumble contest with frequent exchanges of bone jarring bodychecks as tempers simmered throughout. There is no love lost between the bitter Canadian rivals, and animosity reached the fighting stage in the dying seconds of the first period.

Big Butch Bouchard tangled with the usually mild tempered Wally Stanowski, and the spark of battle was inflamed. Seconds later, 12 players were throwing fists into each other’s faces, with even the rival netminders, Turk Broda and Bill Durnan, getting into the middle of the action.

Out of it all, Bill Barilko, the Leafs’ promising rookie rearguard, who was at the opposite end of the ice when the brawl started, was banished for two minutes along with Bouchard. The fight might have had more serious consequences, as Kenny Reardon rushed into the fray, waving his stick in proper woodchopping fashion. Fortunately, no one was injured.

The game was patterned after the last Toronto meetings of the two clubs – a wild opening period, with the Canadiens settling down to a fine passing and close checking game in the middle session.

For the loop leading Canadiens, the Punch Line in general and Maurice Richard, one of the greatest all time right wingers, in particular, carried the mail. Richard, playing the best game of his career on Toronto ice, scored three of the Montréal goals and assisted on the other.

The Leafs’ attack was born mainly by the crew cut kids, tenacious Ted Kennedy, Howie Meeker and Sid Smith. This line accounted for three goals, with Apps getting the other. Defensively, Jimmy Thomson and Bill Barilko played well for Toronto, with the dynamite duo of Bouchard and Reardon always a threat for Les Habitants.

Twice the Leafs came from behind to tie the score and lead at the end of the first period 2-1. Montréal scored twice in the second, with the Leafs having the edge 2-1 in the third. Four goals were scored with the defending team shorthanded.

Toe Blake opened the scoring in the first period, and then with Murph Chamberlain serving a penalty, the Leafs scored twice within 19 seconds. Ted Kennedy got the first, and Howie Meeker the second. Richard tied the score late in the middle period, and made it 4-2 for Montréal at 8:22 of the third. Four minutes later, Ted Kennedy fought hard for possession behind the Canadiens goal, and finally got a pass out to Smith, who made sure of it. Apps’ goal ended the scoring.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 17, 1947

1st Period
TOR PEN – 06:28 – Thomson
MTL GOAL – 14:28 – Blake (Richard)
MTL PEN – 15:29 – Chamberlain
TOR PP GOAL – 16:02 – Kennedy (Meeker, Smith)
TOR PP GOAL – 16:43 – Meeker (Kennedy)
MTL PEN – 19:13 – Bouchard
TOR PEN – 19:13 – Barilko

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 01:52 – Barilko
MTL PP GOAL – 02:58 – Richard
MTL GOAL – 14:53 – Richard (Blake, O’Connor)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 07:03 – Thomson
MTL PP GOAL – 08:21 – Richard (O’Connor)
TOR GOAL – 13:53 – Smith (Kennedy)
TOR GOAL – 14:57 – Apps (Watson)

TOR – Broda (T)
MTL – Durnan (T)

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

TOR – 25-13-7 (.633)
MTL – 28-12-7 (.670)