Game 258 – Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 0

Game 258
Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 0
Wednesday, March 2, 1949
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Montréal’s big Bill Durnan, as calm and calculating a netminder as there is in the major loop, was materially aided by a comedy of Toronto errors, as he recorded his seventh shutout of the season last night.

The Canadiens blanked the Leafs 2-0 at Maple Leaf Gardens to take over third place in the stretch drive to the NHL championship wire, with the losers dropping back to the fourth and last playoff spot. The Leafs hold a four point edge over the fifth place Chicago Black Hawks, and have a game in hand.

As for the hockey, it was far from hard hitting, fast moving clashes usually engaged in by the two bitter interprovincial rivals. The Leafs could not do a thing right, getting an extremely bad game out of their systems, while the Canadiens failed to improve the situation by persisting in kitty-bar-the-door tactics.

The Toronto crew carried the play into enemy territory time and again only to throw golden chances away with wild passes and an amazing reluctance to shoot when in scoring position. The homesters outshot the visitors 32-24, and had a big edge in play in the first and second periods, but bogged down every time they invaded Mr. Durnan’s private front yard.

The Habs made their territorial threat in the second period, but Turk Broda rose to the occasion in magnificent style, performing amazing acrobatics to kick and slap goal-marked drives away from his citadel.

Things went away from a Toronto standpoint from the early minutes. The Leafs actually opened the scoring in the first five minutes, but referee King Clancy disallowed the goal, maintaining a Toronto player was in the goal crease at the time.

Robbed of his first National Hockey League goal was rookie Ray Hannigan, on lease-lend from the Marlboro seniors. The good little right winger pulled the puck from beneath a pile of three players in the goalmouth, two Canadiens and a Leaf, and shot it into the net over their bodies. The players were sprawling on the ice before he gained possession, and the referee should have stopped the play then, not after the kid had a taste of one of the big thrills that comes only once to every player at the start of his NHL career.

Then, a couple of minutes later, Vic Lynn deflected Gerry Plamondon’s corner shot into the net to put the Canadiens in front. The puck hit the Leaf winger on the leg and caromed into a gaping net. The first period ended with the Leafs trailing 1-0, although they outshot the Canadiens 12-4.

The situation was reversed in the second period with the Canadiens outshooting the Leafs 13-6. Broda made half a dozen great stops, robbing Maurice Richard, Murph Chamberlain and Billy Reay in quick succession.

The Leafs came back in the final session to outshoot the Habs 14-7, but the latter found the accurate range. Elmer Lach passed to Léo Gravelle deep in Toronto territory, and the fair-haired French Canadian winger swooped around Bill Juzda to blast an angle shot past Broda.

Cal Gardner, Harry Watson and young Hannigan did everything but score as they applied the pressure at the start of the third. In quick succession, shots bounded over and around the net and hit goalposts, but failed to enter Durnan’s charmed bastion.

Max Bentley gave the crowd a chance to yell when he outwitted Elmer Lach with some clever centre ice foot and stick work, but it failed to produce a score. His rookie linemate, Ray Timgren, went well. As for the rest of the Leafs, the sooner they forget about that game, the better.

“You’d think we’d all had a dose of bad medicine,” Garth Boesch ruefully commented as he changed into street clothes. Actually, the bad medicine was what the 14,130 fans were forced to swallow for a greater part of the 60 regulation minutes of the game. Neither team performed in major league fashion.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 3, 1949

1st Period
TOR PEN – 01:30 – Mortson, interference
MTL PEN – 04:06 – Harvey, holding
MTL GOAL – 06:51 – Plamondon
MTL PEN – 08:00 – Laycoe, interference
MTL PEN – 08:37 – Riopelle, elbowing
TOR PEN – 08:37 – Gardner, tripping
TOR PEN – 16:35 – Mortson, hooking

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 03:45 – Harvey, holding
TOR PEN – 09:14 – Lynn, holding

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 04:27 – Gravelle (Lach)

MTL PEN – 06:25 – Carveth, hooking
TOR PEN – 06:34 – Gardner, holding
MTL PEN – 08:00 – Chamberlain, tripping
MTL PEN – 19:34 – Chamberlain, holding

MTL – Durnan (W + SO, 32-32)
TOR – Broda (L, 22-24)

MTL – 4+13+7 = 24
TOR – 12+6+14 = 32

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

MTL – 23-22-7 (.510)
TOR – 19-20-13 (.490)