Game 260 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1

Game 260
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1
Wednesday, October 19, 1949
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Leafs made the game last night, but the Canadiens won it 3-1. Far superior in territorial play before a sellout Gardens gathering, the Stanley Cuppers did everything but score goals in absorbing their first loss of the young season.

The Montréalers continued their unbeaten way atop the loop only through a combination of terrific goaling by Bill Durnan and a gremlin puck that persisted in just missing open Habitant nets.

It was the Leafs, minus three players with injuries, who carried the play, but it was the Canadiens who were never behind. Ex-Bruin Grant Warwick gained the initial goal, his first as a Hab, after three minutes of the middle frame when he poked in a loose puck from the side of the cage.

The Leafs’ scrappy cap, Ted Kennedy, tied it up little more than four minutes later, after Durnan had stopped successive close drives by Flem MacKell and Sid Smith. Kennedy raised a backhander over Durnan as the big goalie went down.

Elmer “The Great” Lach put the visitors ahead to stay at the midway mark, when his stick relayed with accuracy a long, hard pass from Glen Harmon, while Garth Boesch was serving a holding sentence.

From the third period faceoff, it looked as if the Leafs just couldn’t help but skate the Habs right out of the rink. They fought like demons, led by the Kennedy line, and had the enemy groggy. Then “Teeder” tottered to the penalty box on a slashing charge. That temporarily stayed the assault, but the Leaf pressure was on mightily again when he came back.

But who scored? Yep, the Canadiens. Joe Carveth took a pass on the fly, and skidded around the Toronto defence to beat Turk Broda cleanly with three minutes to full time.

That was it, despite the fact the Leafs outshot the Habs 2-1. It was 34-17 on the game, with the Montréalers having only five shots on “The Turkey” in the first, and a mere three in the last. They made nine in the second. By periods, the Leafs were eight, 15 and 11.

Close checking at times, the game had its rugged moments, with Ken Reardon especially crashing into the Leafs with rare abandon. The best of the Leafs’ rearguards, by far, was Bill Barilko, who gave one of the outstanding displays of his NHL career both ways. He broke up many a rush, and he led several dangerous Leaf sorties that, on another night, might have resulted in tallies.

Another outstanding local was small Howie Meeker, despite a sore ankle suffered in Detroit last Sunday that hurt when he skated. Bill Ezinicki, making his seasonal debut after a preseason ankle injury, was used sparingly, got a big hand when he took the ice for the first time late in the opening frame.

Still sidelined were Gus Mortson, Harry Watson and Bob Dawes. That made for a line of Cal Gardner, Meeker and Vic Lynn, and it did right well.

NOTES: Joe Klukay stopped a shot halfway through the opening period and had to be assisted from the ice. The puck caught him in the groin. He was back at the start of the second, however…Butch Bouchard, the ambling Canadien rearguard, looks a little slower than last season. He was nicked for a couple of stitches over the left eye when struck by a slow puck lifted by Ray Timgren.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, October 20, 1949

1st Period
TOR PEN – 11:39 – Kennedy, high sticking
MTL PEN – 13:37 – Harvey, tripping

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 03:06 – Warwick
TOR GOAL – 07:23 – Kennedy (MacKell, Smith)
TOR PEN – 09:29 – Boesch, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 10:10 – Lach (Harmon, Reardon)

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 04:52 – Carveth, tripping
TOR PEN – 09:16 – Kennedy, slashing
MTL PEN – 10:27 – Bouchard, tripping
MTL GOAL – 17:03 – Carveth (Fillion)

MTL – Durnan (W, 33-34)
TOR – Broda (L, 14-17)

MTL – 5+9+3 = 17
TOR – 8+15+11 = 34

MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard (C), Glen Harmon, Doug Harvey, Hal Laycoe, Ken Reardon. Forwards: Joe Carveth, Gilles Dubé, Norm Dussault, Bob Fillion, Léo Gravelle, Elmer Lach, Kenny Mosdell, Gerry Plamondon, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard, Rip Riopelle, Grant Warwick.
TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Bill Barilko, Garth Boesch, Bill Juzda, Frank Mathers, Gus Mortson, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Max Bentley, Bill Ezinicki, Cal Gardner, Ted Kennedy (C), Joe Klukay, Vic Lynn, Fleming MacKell, Howie Meeker, Sid Smith, Ray Timgren.

MTL – 3-0-0 (1.000)
TOR – 1-1-1 (.500)