Game 257 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 0

Game 257
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 0
Thursday, February 17, 1949
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Toronto Maple Leafs suffered their first loss in seven games tonight, absorbing a 3-0 whitewashing from the Montréal Canadiens.

The result moved the Habs within one point of the third place Leafs, gave goalie Bill Durnan his fifth shutout of the season, and set netminder Turk Broda of the Leafs back a pace in his bid to retain the Vézina Trophy.

Winless in their last seven games, the Habitants outchecked their bitter rivals most of the way, with Kenny Mosdell accounting for two of the goals, and rookie Jerry Plamondon the other. Both Mosdell tallies came with the Habs a man short through a penalty, while the other came with the Leafs short one.

The Leafs thus had their streak stopped at four wins and two ties. The loss also prevented the three straight win mark that would have allowed coach Hap Day to don his rich, creamy new fedora. A gift, it will stay in its box until the Leafs accomplish that three straight feat.

The tilt, dull in spots, wasn’t like usual Leaf-Canadiens battles in the Forum. The 11,227 partisan fans saw a few bumping bees, some solid bodychecking, but nary a display of fisticuffs.

The chief target of abuse was Sweet William Ezinicki, the little Hercules of the Leafs, who took a booing every time he stepped on or off the ice. He still hasn’t regained the form that marked his early season play.

Ezzie, given a holding penalty at the 12 minute mark of the opening frame, had a misconduct added.

Referee Bill Chadwick told Ezinicki his misconduct penalty was for attempting to trip him. Ezzie denied any intention to trip, but admitted his stick touched Chadwick’s skates on the way to the penalty box when it was kicked accidentally by a fellow Leaf.

Little Howie Meeker, making his first start since he fractured a shoulder in practice Boxing Day, went surprisingly well and was among the best of the locals. He worked on both the Gardner line and his old line with captain Ted Kennedy and Vic Lynn, where he spelled off Don Metz.

The Habs, back-checking furiously, led 2-0 at the end of the first, and added another in the second.

Mosdell opened the scoring near the five minute mark, with the Leafs power playing on a penalty to Elmer Lach. Rearguard Hal Laycoe started the play, breaking up a Toronto rush and passing to Mosdell, who beat Toronto defenceman Jim Thomson to the puck. His waist high backhander from 15 feet out fooled Turk Broda.

The Canadiens grabbed a 2-0 lead at the 12 minute mark when Ezinicki was serving a holding minor to be followed by a 10 minute misconduct. Rookie Gerry Plamondon broke from the pack, took a pass from Rocket Richard, and Turk made a great save on his long shot. Plamondon came in fast, however, to snare the rebound and sink it.

Mosdell’s second tally also came with the Canadiens shorthanded. Doug Harvey was in the sin bin for holding when Mosdell stole the puck off Leaf rearguard Bill Barilko at the Hab blue line, skated in on Broda with no one near, and blasted in a low drive.

NOTES: Ezinicki and Richard didn’t get close to staging another of their battles, but Ezinicki definitely got the better of the only time they collided tonight. Ezinicki handed Richard a terrific check early in the last period, then added insult to injury by landing atop him as he fell…When Thomson checked a Hab along the boards later in the third, a Canadien fan grabbed his stick. Jim made a threatening gesture as he yanked it free and skated back into play…Ezzie’s misconduct penalty, calling for a $25 fine, was his third of the season and increased his lead as loop bad man…Timgren, Boesch and Meeker provided the Leafs’ best scoring chances…A group of about 15 men paraded around carrying placards protesting against referees at the Forum. The leader was said to have been ejected by police…Meeker made his first showing in taking Ezinicki’s place during Ezzie’s penalty. He was on the ice only a few seconds when he tangled with Murph Chamberlain, slashing that player after taking an elbow. Both went off with minors…Thomson was the best Leaf rearguard, with Tod Sloan a top forward…Durnan had 22 shots to 19 by Broda…Richard wasn’t used as much as usual.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 18, 1949

1st Period
MTL PEN – 04:16 – Lach, interference
MTL SH GOAL – 04:36 – Mosdell (Laycoe)
MTL PEN – 06:45 – Bouchard, tripping
TOR PEN – 10:12 – Ezinicki, misconduct
MTL PP GOAL – 11:54 – Plamondon (Richard, Lach)
TOR PEN – 12:12 – Ezinicki, holding
MTL PEN – 17:22 – Chamberlain, elbowing
TOR PEN – 17:22 – Meeker, slashing

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 02:07 – Plamondon, holding
MTL PEN – 05:41 – Harvey, holding
MTL SH GOAL – 07:32 – Mosdell
TOR PEN – 08:32 – Juzda, high sticking
MTL PEN – 14:28 – Richard, charging

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 02:30 – Lynn, interference
TOR PEN – 06:14 – Thomson, slashing

MTL – Durnan (W + SO, 22-22)
TOR – Broda (L, 16-19)

MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard (C), Glen Harmon, Doug Harvey, Hal Laycoe, Roger Leger. Forwards: Joe Carveth, Murph Chamberlain, Norm Dussault, Bob Fillion, Léo Gravelle, Elmer Lach, Kenny Mosdell, Gerry Plamondon, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard.
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, Howie Meeker, Don Metz, Tod Sloan, Ray Timgren, Harry Watson.

MTL – 19-21-7 (.479)
TOR – 17-19-12 (.479)