Game 256 – Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 2

Game 256
Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 2
Wednesday, February 9, 1949
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The final minutes of a hockey game jinxed the Toronto Maple Leafs for the third consecutive time on home ice, as they were forced to a 2-2 draw with the Montréal Canadiens last night.

It was the Leafs’ 12th split decision this season, only three less than the record established by the Canadiens in 1928-29. In front at two stages of the mediocre contest on goals by Don Metz, the Leafs saw their leads wiped out by the equally as accurate sharpshooting of Maurice Richard, the $123,000 right wing sweetheart of the Habs.

The second Montréal goal came with less than three minutes left to play, and brought groans from many of the 14,570 fans, who recalled similar situations involving the New York Rangers last Saturday and the Chicago Black Hawks the previous week.

Last night’s tie-maker came at 17:02 of the last period. The Rangers did the trick at 17:14, while the Hawks were the most dramatic, waiting until 19:37. Once the Leafs learn how to cope with those important final few minutes, they will win a lot of games – if there are any left to play!

The ninth clash between the interprovincial rivals this season lacked much of the fire and excitement of the previous eight. It was close checking, scrambly hockey at best, with both teams showing repeated tendencies to lay back and wait for the breaks. It was far from the fast moving spectacle of last Saturday.

The contest lacked much of the bumping and dumping of other clashes between the two teams, players sticking to hockey, playing an overanxious style of game as the need for points came under the heading of “desperate.”

For the Canadiens, the stalemate meant their first point in six games, while the Leafs strengthened their hold on fourth place as the tail-end teams, New York and Chicago, went down to defeat in other NHL games last night.

Referee Bill Chadwick ruled with a vigorous thumb, banishing players for the slightest infractions of the rule book. The Leafs received eight of the 15 minor penalties.

The nearest the players came to actual fighting was late in the first period, with Bill Barilko and Ted Kennedy of the Leafs squaring off in a corner pushing session with Butch Bouchard and Murph Chamberlain. All escaped official reprimand. In the third period, Garth Boesch and Kenny Mosdell were banished together on roughing charges.

Metz picked up his first goal early in the first period on a three way passing play with Kennedy and Boesch. The last mentioned shoved the puck back into enemy territory at the blue line, and Metz waltzed in to beat Durnan.

Richard squared accounts in the second minute of the second period, sparing the puck out of a wild scramble as Gus Mortson returned from serving a penalty. Mortson, incidentally, played a great rushing game for the Leafs.

Early in the third period, Metz scored his second goal on a freak play. He took Joe Klukay’s pass as coach Hap Day attempted to change his lines. With a Canadien on each side of him, Don stabbed at the puck. It bounded in the air, hit the back of Bill Durnan’s glove and trickled down his back into the net. Max Bentley started the play.

Richard saved the night for the Canadiens by latching onto a loose puck about 15 feet in front of Turk Broda and drilling a hard, high one into the twine. The score came shortly after Richard and Boesch collided against the boards with great force. Boesch appeared dazed by the collision, but was back in play when the Rocket scored.

NOTES: The game was delayed in the second period when the big sportimer broke down. Although electrician Harry Lambert was hauled aloft to the acclaim of the fans at the second intermission, the rest of the game was played with timekeeping officials using stop watches…Maple Leaf Gardens president Conn Smythe saw the Leafs play for the first time in a month. He watched each period from directly behind the Canadiens net…Murph Chamberlain, who played a great game for the Montréalers, found a telegram from his wife in the dressing room after the game. It read: “Heifer and litter of nine puppies born today. All doing well.” Quite the farmer, that Chamberlain…Both teams came out with bruises. Butch Bouchard aggravated his knee injury, while Richard complained of pains in his side which made it difficult for him to breathe…Harry Watson, who checked well as a penalty time killer, received a gash over his left eye…The Leafs work at 11 this morning. The Canadiens play an exhibition game in Owen Sound this evening.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 10, 1949

1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:53 – Mortson, interference
TOR GOAL – 05:08 – Metz (Boesch, Kennedy)
MTL PEN – 05:08 – Lach, charging
TOR PEN – 15:17 – Thomson, interference
TOR PEN – 19:25 – Mortson, holding

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 01:27 – Richard (Lach, Chamberlain)
MTL PEN – 02:23 – Richard, interference
MTL PEN – 03:44 – Mosdell, hooking
TOR PEN – 05:18 – Kennedy, tripping
MTL PEN – 06:52 – Lach, elbowing
TOR PEN – 10:20 – Lynn, tripping
TOR PEN – 16:20 – Bentley, interference
MTL PEN – 17:15 – Leger, holding

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 03:41 – Metz (Klukay, Bentley)
MTL PEN – 05:59 – Mosdell, roughing
TOR PEN – 05:59 – Boesch, roughing
TOR PEN – 07:30 – Taylor, interference
MTL PEN – 08:10 – Riopelle, holding
MTL GOAL – 17:02 – Richard (Harmon)

TOR – Broda (T)
MTL – Durnan (T)

TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Bill Barilko, Garth Boesch, 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: Butch Bouchard (C), Glen Harmon, Doug Harvey, Hal Laycoe, Roger Leger. Forwards: Tod Campeau, Joe Carveth, Murph Chamberlain, Bob Fillion, Léo Gravelle, Elmer Lach, Kenny Mosdell, Gerry Plamondon, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard, Rip Riopelle.

TOR – 15-18-12 (.467)
MTL – 18-20-7 (.478)