Playoff Game 16 – Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 0

Playoff Game 16
Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 0
Stanley Cup Finals, Game 1
Tuesday, April 8, 1947
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Commanding play in every period, the Montréal Canadiens served impressive notice that they are still worthy defending world champions, as they smothered the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-0 before 12,320 fans here tonight.

The red shirted Montréalers were full measure for their victory, as the Leafs failed to get organized. They tried desperately, however, to the bitter end to at least spoil netminder Bill Durnan’s successful bid for a shutout.

It was a very costly defeat for the Toronto cause, as the Blue and White squad’s leading playoff performer, veteran Nick Metz, was injured late in the second period. Club physician Dr. Bob Galloway said the redhead had suffered a rib separation, and indicated he might be lost for the balance of the series. Metz was hurt checking spirited Maurice Richard along the boards. X-rays will be taken tomorrow morning to determine the extent of the damage.

In taking this first game of the final round for the Stanley Cup and universal supremacy, the winners gave ample indication they are anxious to finish the business as quickly as possible, and get away on a planned tour of Canada and the United States.

However, the Leafs are far from down and out. They got a bad game out of their system. There is every reason to believe they will play better hockey when the battle is renewed here Thursday night.

The Canadiens played clever man-for-man playoff hockey, while the Leafs appeared to be stricken with an attack of jitters that stayed with them almost throughout. Coach Dick Irvin’s men came up with a good demonstration of positional hockey. Time and again, they caught the Leafs out of position and sured in on the Toronto net. But for the inspired playing of netminder Turk Broda, the score might easily have reached double figures.

The Montréalers surged to an early lead with a first period goal while Jimmy Thomson was serving a penalty. That tally upset the Torontonians, putting them off their game. Buddy O’Connor was the first scorer. The Canadiens added two in the middle period, with Billy Reay and Maurice Richard beating Broda while Reay, George Allen and Murph Chamberlain all tallied during the final 20 minutes.

The Leafs were outshot every period, Broda handling 33 chances to 20 for the invincible Durnan.

It was a comparatively mild contest, judged by previous rugged encounters between the teams during the regular season. On several occasions tempers flared, but referee King Clancy was on top of the play at all times to smother a smouldering flame. In fact, the Irish arbiter was a bit too eager with his whistle. Once he spoiled a Toronto scoring threat by halting the play, when he evidently thought the flying puck was going over the boards. Instead, it dropped in front of Garth Boesch, but Clancy did not give the Toronto rearguard a chance to get a shot away. On another occasion, he stopped the play just as Ted Kennedy got the puck loose from a scramble in front of the Montréal net. But those two decisions had no effect on the eventual result.

The league’s top goal scorer, “Rocket” Richard, and Reay were the two leading Montréal attackers. Butch Bouchard, who played more than 30 minutes, was a big stumbling block behind the Habitants’ blue line, while Durnan gave ample evidence of his right to possess the Vézina Trophy.

The chief Leaf-ian fault appeared to be a desire to get rid of the puck. The players did not come up with their usual hefty bodychecking, and kept throwing the puck up into the Montréal zone whenever a Red Shirt approached, instead of carrying it in with passing plays.

The Toronto defence, which played so brilliantly during the Detroit series, was below par. Thomson and Gus Mortson played well. The latter made many spectacular rushes, but his teammates were repeatedly blocked in their efforts to take his passes. Boesch’s timing was erratic, while Wally Stanowski, who took his regular turn on defence, was weak defensively and did not come up with his usual spectacular rushes. Bill Barilko did not once make use of his dangerous snake hips that earned him a place on the team when he was brought up from Hollywood in midseason.

Veterans carried the load for the Leafs. Syl Apps, Toronto’s team captain, was the best attacker, but did not get much help from his linemates. Once hit the goal post and the puck dropped behind Durnan, but did not cross the line.

The Leafs actually scored in the first period when Harry Watson took Apps’ forward pass on or just over the blue line to skate in beautifully and outmanoeuvre Durnan. However, the linesman ruled offside, and Clancy disallowed the goal. Many of the large delegation of Toronto supporters maintained the Blue player was onside. Had the goal been allowed, it might have been a different story, as the Canadiens only led by a single goal at the time.

The Toronto Kid Line of “Teeder” Kennedy, Vic Lynn and Howie Meeker had many chances and kept trying, but repeatedly juggled the puck as though stricken by stage fright whenever they got around the Montréal net. Nick Metz was sadly missed in the third period.

All the Montréalers played well, with special mention to Durnan, Reay, Bouchard (they were the three stars), Johnny Quilty, Murph Chamberlain and Jimmy Peters.

Bill Ezinicki and Don Metz were the particular targets of what rough play there was. In light of Irvin’s pregame remarks, in which he still maintained the younger Metz intentionally injured Elmer Lach earlier in the season, it looked as though his players were determined to square accounts by roughing up the Western wheat farmer.

Officials stated that although the 12,000-plus crowd was a sellout, the figure was still below the mark for the junior playoff game the previous night.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, April 9, 1947

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:32 – Thomson
MTL PP GOAL – 02:20 – O’Connor (Leger)
MTL PEN – 03:53 – Lamoureux
MTL PEN – 08:21 – Lamoureux
MTL PEN – 12:51 – Bouchard
TOR PEN – 16:36 – Ezinicki

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 02:08 – Quilty
TOR PEN – 07:44 – Ezinicki
MTL PP GOAL – 08:17 – Reay (Harmon)
MTL PP GOAL – 09:41 – Richard (O’Connor)
MTL PEN – 11:58 – Eddolls

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 05:40 – Allen (Bouchard)
MTL GOAL – 11:04 – Reay (Allen, Bouchard)
MTL GOAL – 18:28 – Chamberlain (Quilty, Peters)

MTL – Durnan (W + SO, 20-20)
TOR – Broda (L, 27-33)

MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan, Floyd Perras. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Frank Eddolls, Glen Harmon, Roger Leger. Forwards: George Allen, Toe Blake (C), Murph Chamberlain, Leo Lamoureux, Hub Macey, Murdo MacKay, Buddy O’Connor, Jimmy Peters, John Quilty, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard.
TORGoaltenders: Gordie Bell, Turk Broda. Defence: Bill Barilko, Garth Boesch, Gus Mortson, Wally Stanowski, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Syl Apps (C), Bill Ezinicki, Ted Kennedy, Joe Klukay, Vic Lynn, Howie Meeker, Don Metz, Nick Metz, Gaye Stewart, Harry Watson.