Game 252 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2

Game 252
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2
Thursday, December 30, 1948
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

A last period power play with the Toronto Maple Leafs shorthanded produced the goal that gave the Montréal Canadiens a 3-2 triumph here tonight. The defeat sunk the Leafs deeper into fifth place in the National Hockey League standing.

Large Jim Thomson was in penitence for holding Rocket Richard when Norm Dussault popped in a short rebound after goalie Turk Broda had made two successive saves. The goal came at 8:30, and Broda skated out to the blueline in vain to protest referee Bill Chadwick that Kenny Reardon of the Habitants was in the goal crease at the time.

From the lofty press box, it looked as if might have been. In any event, Broda, pushed against the posts, had to grab Reardon around the shoulder to keep from falling.

The Leafs yanked Broda twice in the last 50 seconds of play in favour of six forwards, but they still couldn’t penetrate a strong Canadien rearguard. Most of the way, the Montréalers had an edge in the play, were backchecking and hitting better than the Leafs, and outshot the defending champions 26-18.

Before a Forum gathering of 11,177, who braved a terrific, whistling blizzard of hail and snow to reach the arena, Broda gave a great display, saving time and again from Habs snipers who raced through and around the Toronto rearguard. Rocket Richard was especially terrific for the winners.

Ray Timgren, the 20 year old rookie from the Marlboro seniors, who signed a pro contract earlier today, took a full turn on Max Bentley’s line and improved as the game progressed. He looked tired at first, playing his eighth game in 13 days, but rallied midway through and fed Bentley a couple of dazzling passes that might well have gone for goals.

He previously had played three games with the Leafs as an amateur, and the decision to sign him was made after he performed with the Marlies in Toronto last night against Owen Sound.

Don Metz, who joined the Leafs from the Pittsburgh farm team today along with Tod Sloan, scored the final Leaf goal, and generally looked good. He took the place of the injured Howie Meeker on the line with Ted Kennedy and Vic Lynn. Sloan, used little, spelled off both Kennedy and Cal Gardner at centre a couple of times.

The game, the last of 1948 for both teams, marked the Leafs’ second loss to the Habs this season against two wins and a tie. The teams meet in Toronto Saturday night.

The Leafs also were without Joe Klukay, out with a fractured foot bone, while the Canadiens still were missing rearguard Butch Bouchard and centre Elmer Lach. Prior to the game, general manager Frank Selke also said that goalie Bill Durnan and every defenceman but Reardon were complaining of injured knees. They didn’t play like it.

The Habitants were ahead 2-1 and deserved that margin on the play before Metz tied it up with little more than two minutes of play remaining in the middle frame. He took a perfect pass while standing 20 feet out from the net, and blazed one by goalie Bill Durnan.

Captain Ted Kennedy set up the play. He carried in on a Leaf ganging attack with Murph Chamberlain in the penalty box for elbowing Metz. Falling, and with Richard draped around him, Kennedy nevertheless got the puck away to Metz.

The Canadiens had opened the scoring near the halfway mark of the first frame, when bull-like Ken Reardon carried the puck into the Leaf end, and it bounced out to Rip Riopelle, who beat Turk Broda with a short shot from the side.

The next two goals – before the end of the period – came with the Montréalers short Hal Laycoe through a penalty. Richard made it 2-0 for the shorthanded Habs when he broke loose from a Leaf power play and went right in unchecked to beat Broda, when linesman Sam Babcock couldn’t get out of the way of Jimmy Thomson, the Leaf rearguard, who had the only chance to stop Richard before he and Babcock bumped.

The Leafs’ first goal was scored by Ezinicki, on a goalmouth pass from Watson.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 31, 1948

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 09:55 – Riopelle (Reardon)

MTL SH GOAL – 11:50 – Richard
TOR PP GOAL – 12:06 – Ezinicki (Watson)
MTL PENS – Laycoe, Fillion
TOR PEN – Metz

2nd Period
TOR PP GOAL – 17:48 – Metz (Kennedy)
MTL PEN – Chamberlain
TOR PEN – Boesch

3rd Period
MTL PP GOAL – 08:30 – Dussault (Reay, Carveth)

TOR PEN – Thomson

MTL – Durnan (W, 16-18)
TOR – Broda (L, 23-26)

MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Glen Harmon, Doug Harvey, Hal Laycoe, Ken Reardon. Forwards: Tod Campeau, Joe Carveth, Murph Chamberlain, Norm Dussault, Bob Fillion, Léo Gravelle, Kenny Mosdell, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard, Rip Riopelle.
TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Bill Barilko, Garth Boesch, Bill Juzda, Gus Mortson, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Max Bentley, Ray Ceresino, Bill Ezinicki, Cal Gardner, Ted Kennedy (C), Vic Lynn, Don Metz, Tod Sloan, Harry Taylor, Ray Timgren, Harry Watson.

MTL – 11-11-5 (.500)
TOR – 9-13-6 (.429)