Game 236 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1

Game 236
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 1
Wednesday, October 29, 1947
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

It took the Toronto Maple Leafs four leagues to warm up, but they hit their proper stride last night. The outcome was a 3-1 victory over their bitter interprovincial rivals, the Montréal Canadiens, in the first real exhibition of pro hockey at Maple Leaf Gardens this young season.

The victory moved the Leafs into a second place tie with the Detroit Red Wings, one point back of the Boston Bruins, the opposition here Saturday night.

The initial clash between the Ontario and Québec NHL representatives in the 1947-48 season was another of those rousing, bone cracking games which regularly mark the appearance of the two squads on the same sheet of ice.

The game produced a little of everything for the action hungry 13,912 fans. There were snappy scoring plays, plenty of hard bumps and solid checking, good netminding, and even the inevitable Leaf-Canadien brawls, with half a dozen players shoving each other around, but no solid blows being struck. Fourteen minor penalties were assessed by referee King Clancy, eight to the Leafs.

The fray was not without casualties. Canadiens rookie Tod Campeau went out with a dislocated shoulder in the second period, while Leaf Howie Meeker, although he finished the game, will be sidelined for a week with a badly bruised shoulder. In addition, Gus Bodner, recalled from Pittsburgh yesterday, will not be ready for a few days. He suffered a kidney injury in Providence Sunday.

The stars of the game were many – the Leafs played good hockey from goal out, while the Canadiens proved worthy adversaries. The outstanding performer was Syl Apps, who appears to grow younger with the passing years. In his 11th season with the Leafs, he has seldom looked better than last night. It was Apps and his two linemates, Harry Watson and Bill Ezinicki, who did all the Toronto scoring. The Punch Line accounted for the Canadiens’ lone tally, with Maurice Richard getting the goal.

Should Harry Watson match last night’s performance in the next 55 games, he will undoubtedly be the overwhelming choice for left wing all star honours. The big winger was sensational, and his first period goal was one of the prettiest scoring plays witnessed at the Gardens in a long time.

As usual, Bill Ezinicki took on a big load in the body checking department, giving as good as he received. He was a tired performer when the final bell rang. It was Ezinicki who opened the scoring in the first period, finishing off a three way passing play. Watson’s picture effort came near the end of the same period, while Apps rapped home the final Toronto tally early in the third period. Richard scored near the halfway mark of the middle session.

The KLM trio played an outstanding game, with Ted Kennedy coming up with one of the greatest competitive efforts of his career. Vic Lynn crashed and chewed his way into plenty of action, while Meeker worked hard despite aggravation of a shoulder injury suffered Saturday night against Chicago.

The Metz brothers, Nick and Don, worked most of the game with Joe Klukay, and his threesome tied up the Punch Line in pestiferous fashion. Gaye Stewart was used sparingly. Turk Broda played well in the Toronto net, robbing the Canadiens from close range on several occasions. He received good defensive support from Garth Boesch, Bill Barilko, Jimmy Thomson and Gus Mortson. Wally Stanowski was dressed, but not used.

The Canadiens were paced by the Punch Line of Richard, Elmer Lach and Toe Blake, with their all star defence duo, Kenny Reardon and Butch Bouchard, working hard. The best individual Canadien performer was Billy Reay.

Two of the Toronto goals came with the defending team shorthanded. Rookie Jacques Locas was on the penalty bench when Ezinicki scored. The Toronto right winger was Johnny-on-the-Spot in front of the Canadiens goal when Apps passed out from behind the net. Harry Watson set Apps up.

Lach had just been sentenced for elbowing Barilko when the Apps line swept up the ice from a faceoff deep in the Toronto zone. Watson was ahead of Apps, and the Toronto team captain tossed the puck up to him. Watson was almost flying, and he actually leaped over Roger Leger, as he sped in to beat Bill Durnan.

Richard’s tally ended a wild goalmouth scramble. Broda managed to get a piece of the puck and juggled it on his chest, but was hemmed in by players on all sides, and the elusive rubber fell into the net.

The final score came after 75 seconds of play in the third period. Watson carried the puck into Canadien territory, cleverly drew his check out of position, and slipped the puck across to an unmolested Apps, who blazed a hard one past Durnan.

NOTES: Kenny Reardon, as tough a competitor as there is in the game, drew an unusual penalty in the second period. He was banished for throwing Don Metz into the boards, after Clancy had stopped the play for an offside…Bill Barilko drew four penalties, while Butch Bouchard, Jimmy Thomson and Jacques Locas were each banished twice…The Leafs work today at 11 a.m…The Canadiens, forced out of the Forum by the Icecapades, will remain in town until Saturday, but will not practice today. Friday, three NHL teams will work at the Gardens: the Leafs, Canadiens and Boston Bruins.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, October 30, 1947

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:28 – Watson, interference
MTL PEN – 03:15 – Locas, holding
TOR PEN – 08:31 – Barilko, tripping
MTL PEN – 10:15 – Locas, boarding
TOR PP GOAL – 11:45 – Ezinicki (Watson, Apps)
TOR PEN – 16:25 – Barilko, delay of game
MTL PEN – 18:40 – Lach, elbowing
TOR PP GOAL – 18:52 – Watson (Apps)

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 00:25 – Bouchard, cross checking
TOR PEN – 00:43 – Barilko, holding
MTL GOAL – 09:43 – Richard (Blake, Lach)
MTL PEN – 11:45 – Reardon, boarding
TOR PEN – 15:38 – Barilko, boarding

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 01:25 – Apps (Watson)
TOR PEN – 02:40 – Thomson, interference
MTL PEN – 16:45 – Bouchard, high sticking
TOR PEN – 16:45 – Meeker, high sticking
TOR PEN – 17:06 – Thomson, hooking

TOR – Broda (W)
MTL – Durnan (L)

TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Bill Barilko, Garth Boesch, Gus Mortson, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Syl Apps (C), Bill Ezinicki, Ted Kennedy, Joe Klukay, Vic Lynn, Howie Meeker, Don Metz, Nick Metz, Gaye Stewart, Harry Watson.
MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Glen Harmon, Doug Harvey, Roger Leger, Ken Reardon. Forwards: Toe Blake (C), Tod Campeau, Bob Carse, Floyd Curry, Elmer Lach, Jacques Locas, Jimmy Peters, John Quilty, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard.

TOR – 3-1-1 (.700)
MTL – 3-3-0 (.500)