Game 255 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 1

Game 255
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 1
Thursday, February 3, 1949
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Max Bentley fired two quick first period goals tonight, and the Toronto Maple Leafs went on to a 4-1 triumph over the Montréal Canadiens. The battle, mightily rugged in spots, was enlivened by a middle frame free-for-all that began when Rocket Richard loosed a vicious right at Bill Ezinicki.

With Bentley emerging from his goal getting drought and goalie Turk Broda performing brilliantly, aided by some luck, Harry Watson and Joe Klukay sank the other Leaf goals in the final frame. The Canadiens’ score, with Richard lifting in a rebound from Murphy Chamberlain, was sandwiched in between those two. The win boosted the Leafs into fourth place.

It was the Leafs’ fifth road win in 21 away games, and they showed more pep, fight and ginger than in their last several fixtures. It was the third consecutive loss for the faltering Habs, who suffered a couple more injuries tonight.

With Elmer Lach and Butch Bouchard still on the shelf, Ken Reardon, mainstay of the Hab defence, and young forward Norm Dussault took jarring body checks from Bill Barilko that forced them from the game.

Reardon was hit early in the game, went against the boards, and went to hospital for X-rays of his shoulder. It was feared it might be dislocated.

Dussault was aided to his dressing room early in the third after Barilko caught him fair and square. Dussault bounced into the boards, lay there, and was taken off by two attendants.

That second frame donnybrook began when Richard skated smack-dab into his archenemy, Ezinicki. The force of the collision fractured the Hab’s stick, and Ezzie let go a mild punch. Referee George Gravel blew his whistle to assess minors, and both skated slowly toward the penalty box, talking quite earnestly, nose to nose.

Suddenly, Richard let go a right that caught Sweet William around the shoulders. Then they were into it, with Gus Mortson, never one to miss a battle, rushing to the fray, followed by other players. Combatants wrestled, tugged and threw an odd punch as the main bouters went into a wrestling hold. They were separated three times and at the end, it looked as if the Rocket had earned a wrestling decision over Ezinicki, who took a couple to the chops and didn’t land any hard ones in return, although he tried mighty hard.

Watson roved about, looking as if he wanted to get into it too, but nobody wanted any part of him, and he ended up wrestling Glen Harmon after Mortson had taken a slug at him and broken free. It ended up with minors and majors to Ezinicki and Richard, and majors to Mortson and Harmon, and they were separated in penalty row.

Before a violently partisan Forum gathering of 11,226, Bentley opened the scoring at 6:25 when he took Barilko’s rebound as the puck bounced off Bill Durnan’s pads, and popped it past him. Little more than two minutes later, with the Habs’ Doug Harvey off for interference, Bentley trapped the puck while the Canadiens were trying to clear from their own end. His low shot went in, and it looked as if it hit either Watson’s stick, or that of a Hab on the way. There was no assist, however.

Watson stopped an attempted Montréal passout with his hand near the six minute mark of the final frame, and let go a 30-footer that had Durnan beaten all the way.

Klukay made victory certain when he took a bouncing passout from rookie Ray Timgren from behind the net and sank it at 17:27.

Cal Gardner looked impressive back at centre on the Watson-Ezinicki line, after warming the bench for two games. Ezinicki’s play was vastly improved over his previous efforts. Durnan had 25 saves to 22 by Broda.

Gardner and Reardon were playing against each other for the first time since their stick swinging epsiode in Toronto last New Year’s night. They were not out on the ice at the same time.

For Durnan, it was the 18th goal to get by him in the last three games. He had little chance on any that beat him tonight. Ezinicki came out of his battle with Richard with red marks on his face.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 4, 1949

1st Period
TOR PEN – 03:45 – Boesch, interference
TOR GOAL – 06:25 – Bentley (Barilko)
MTL PEN – 08:46 – Harvey, interference
TOR PP GOAL – 08:55 – Bentley

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 10:44 – Fillion, holding
TOR PEN – 10:44 – Ezinicki, holding
MTL PEN – 13:04 – Harmon, fighting major
TOR PEN – 13:04 – Mortson, fighting major
MTL PEN – 13:04 – Richard, high sticking + fighting major
TOR PEN – 13:04 – Ezinicki, roughing + fighting major

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 05:47 – Watson
TOR PEN – 06:01 – Ezinicki, interference
MTL GOAL – 13:36 – Richard (Chamberlain)
TOR GOAL – 16:27 – Klukay (Timgren, Bentley)

TOR – Broda (W, 22-23)
MTL – Durnan (L, 25-29)

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

TOR – 14-18-10 (.452)
MTL – 18-18-6 (.500)