Game 240 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 0

Game 240
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 0
Thursday, December 25, 1947
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

They kicked Santa Claus out of the Canadiens’ dressing room here at the Forum after last night’s NHL Yule game. But the old gent with the whiskers and red coat received a hearty welcome when he moved across the rink to visit the Maple Leafs.

The Toronto team had just come off the ice after squaring a few bitter accounts with a 3-0 whitewash of coach Dickinson Irvin’s slipping slaves. And the boys in blue took full advantage of the unannounced opportunity to show their appreciation of the manner in which St. Nick had filled their stockings to overflowing with the fruit of victory.

And the tired old man needed cheering at the end of his busiest work day of the year. A sports writer from one of the French language papers took him into the Canadiens’ room to pose for pictures with the home team. There was little of the festive spirit in the brusque greeting from an unhappy Irvin.

“Get that guy out of here,” the scribe reported the Montréal coach as screaming.

In the Leafs’ room he posed with a smiling Happy Day, but some of the glamour vanished as the old boy revealed a French Canadian accent when he muttered “I hope I jinx you, Happee!”

As for the game, the Leafs, after a sloppy start, took the play away from their arch hockey enemies with three quick goals in the second period. Turk Broda, backed by a solid defence foursome, did the rest to provide the Toronto netminder with his third shutout, and put him out in front of the Vézina Trophy race.

The Leafs were outplayed in the first 20 minutes, and had the Habitants attackers paused to look where they were shooting, it might have been a different tale.

The visitors were a changed team from the first faceoff in the second period, and took but 58 seconds to get their first goal of the year on Montréal ice. It came from the stick of Garth Boesch, climaxing a ganging attack started by the KLM line.

Boesch’s long, low shot from inside the Montréal blueline was in the net before Bill Durnan made a move. It was a screened shot, the puck floating through a maze of players’ legs. Durnan never saw it, and was the victim of two similar goals before the period ended.

Bill Barilko scored the second goal, 13 minutes later, from almost the same spot, taking a pass from Syl Apps. Max Bentley ended the scoring after another minute of play from the same spot.

Bitter medicine for the rabid fans was the fact that Butch Bouchard and Kenny Reardon, formerly an almost invincible defence barrier against Toronto attackers, were on the ice for all the goals. Bouchard might as well have stuck to his beehives, he was of such little use, while Reardon, although the most robust of the Montréalers, lacked much of the fire that has made him such a spirited competitor in the past.

Referee George Gravel dominated the final period with some questionable officiating. He brought the Leafs to their feet from the Toronto bench time and again with his inconsistency, climaxed by a double penalty to Apps and Elmer Lach for banging their sticks about at a faceoff. Gravel issued 14 penalties, nine to the Leafs.

With Harry Watson and Don Metz sidelined with injuries, coach Hap Day presented a revamped lineup. The Apps and Bentley lines had newcomers, with the result their play was not as finished as in recent games. Cy Thomas filled in for Watson with Tod Sloan, up from Pittsburgh for a night, taking over Metz’s spot.

Ted Kennedy, Howie Meeker and Vic Lynn played very well, while defencemen Garth Boesch, Wally Stanowski, Jimmy Thomson and Bill Barilko gave a deserving Broda solid support. Gus Mortson was benched in favour of Stanowski in the first period, and the veteran of the Toronto defence corps worked hard. Twice he collided with Reardon, and each time it was the Montréaler who fell to the ice.

Broda has seldom looked better. He was cool and confident throughout. On at least three occasions, Canadien forwards broke away with only the netminder to beat, but found him invincible.

Bill Reay was the best man for the Canadiens. It was not the Montréal team that dominated play in recent years. Much of the fire is gone from the Red Shirts’ attack. In fact, even Irvin’s pigeons appeared tired of soaring around the dizzy heights of the Forum rafters, preferring to strut along the ice before game time.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 26, 1947

1st Period
TOR PEN – 01:15 – Barilko, tripping
MTL PEN – 03:07 – Carveth, interference
TOR PEN – 05:40 – Bentley, slashing
TOR PEN – 09:47 – Thomson, hooking

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 00:58 – Boesch (Kennedy)
TOR GOAL – 13:38 – Barilko (Apps)
TOR GOAL – 14:52 – Bentley (Thomas)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 03:44 – Thomson, tripping
MTL PEN – 06:41 – Riopelle, interference
TOR PEN – 06:41 – Ezinicki, roughing
TOR PEN – 07:26 – Apps, holding
TOR PEN – 12:26 – Stanowski, holding
MTL PEN – 12:42 – Reardon, tripping
MTL PEN – 13:26 – Reay, misconduct
MTL PEN – 14:17 – Lach, roughing
TOR PEN – 14:17 – Apps, roughing
TOR PEN – 18:24 – Boesch, slashing

TOR – Broda (W + SO)
MTL – Durnan (L)

TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Bill Barilko, Garth Boesch, Gus Mortson, Wally Stan
owski, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Syl Apps (C), Max Bentley, Bill Ezinicki, Ted Kennedy, Joe Klukay, Vic Lynn, Howie Meeker, Nick Metz, Tod Sloan, Cy Thomas.
MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard, Glen Harmon, Hal Laycoe, Roger Leger, Ken Reardon. Forwards: Toe Blake (C), Joe Carveth, Floyd Curry, Bob Fillion, Léo Gravelle, Elmer Lach, Jacques Locas, Billy Reay, Rip Riopelle.

TOR – 14-7-6 (.630)
MTL – 10-12-4 (.462)