Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 2
Thursday, November 10, 1949
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec
Les Canadiens took the Maple Leafs on with skates, sticks and fists here tonight, and won on all counts. While a sellout crowd of 12,833 customers – only 117 short of an all time record crowd for hockey in this city – looked on, Dick Irvin’s flying red shirts outscored the Leafs 4-2 to climb into a second place tie with them.
It was the Leafs’ first “road” defeat in five starts this season. Then, adding insult to injury, the Habs scored heavily in a rousing pugilistic show only 49 seconds from the final whistle.
Rocket Richard, who was a pain in the neck to the Torontos all night, was the individual star of the extra-curricular exhibition. Richard tangled at the Leaf end boards with Jimmy Thomson and as they rolled around, trying to unravel their bodies, Gus Mortson rushed to Thomson’s assistance and hit Richard with a blow to the face. That tore it, signalling a frantic three or four minutes, which eventually resulted in major penalties to Thomson, Mortson, Richard and Bouchard.
Bouchard got into the act when he skated after Mortson. They whacked each other not indelicately in one corner, finally falling to the ice. Meanwhile, Richard and Thomson had moved their battleground out near the blue line.
They were rolling around the glacial compound quite harmlessly, wrapped in a wrestling hold, which would have delighted “Whipper” Watson. Finally, referee Billy Chadwick and linesmen George Hayes and Sammy Babcock got the combatants separated.
Richard let go of Thomson, skated alongside Mortson, and as they stood face to face, reached out and punched the Toronto defenceman a resounding right to the chin. Mortson fell to his knees from the force of the punch, but was unable to retaliate, because the officials started shoving the boys to the exits.
It was a tremendous crowd appealing windup to a pretty good hockey show, and Richard’s fists were no more potent than his hockey stick, because he propelled two of the Habitants’ four goals behind an overworked Turk Broda, who defended his fort nobly without too much assistance from the men in front of him.
Broda had to block 27 drives as compared to the 18 that Bill Durnan fended from his station at the opposite end of the ice. About five of those Leaf shots were long distance, totally harmless drives from deep in their own zone.
Max Bentley did his best to stir the Leafs to a winning pitch, accounting for both goals after Ray Timgren set him up neatly on each occasion. But Durnan was the master of the somewhat draggy Toronto forward patrols.
Toronto’s misfortunes might be even worse than their failure to get two points in the standings and to whip the enemy with their dukes, because Cal Gardner became a casualty, but how serious a casualty was not known at this writing. Press Row was informed he may have a broken jaw. At any rate, he was badly damaged about the mouth, and his teeth were pushed in. He was unable to close his mouth. The injury was sustained in the second period when Kenny Reardon elbowed him at mid-ice. He retired to surgery and didn’t get back into the game.
Reardon didn’t escape scot free in the heavy going either, aggravating an old shoulder injury when bumptious Bill Barilko, who performed away below form tonight, jammed him against the boards with a smashing check.
Two of the Canadiens’ goals came while the Leafs were shorthanded through penalties, and one was directly due to an unthinking play by Barilko. He had been sentenced for tripping Richard (what, him again!) in the first minute of play. When he rushed out of the penalty box, heading for the Toronto bench, Hap Day ordered Max Bentley over the boards as his replacement. Barilko suddenly stopped short to play the puck in front of the Toronto bench, and the Leafs were assessed a two minute penalty for having an extra man in service.
It was while Bentley was in the box that Howie Riopelle rapped the rebound of Elmer Lach’s short shot behind Broda to give the Habs a 1-0 lead. Richard got goal No. 10 of the young season at 16:00, while Bill Ezinicki fretted uncomfortably in the jug for high sticking Léo Gravelle, and the Red Shirts, led by the line of Richard, Lach and Riopelle were pouring all around the Leaf net.
Just before the first period ran its string, they went ahead 3-0 when shifty Billy Reay manoeuvred the puck behind the troubled Turk after taking a goalmouth relay from Norm Dussault.
The Toronto team enjoyed an edge in a wide open second period, closed the gap to 3-1 when Max Bentley made a terrific play with a pass from Timgren at the Montréal blue line. Maxie drifted around Reardon so fast, Kenny nearly caught a cold from the draft. The turning point in the struggle came soon after this when Howie Meeker tried to jam a shot past Durnan from point blank range.
The puck deflected off Durnan’s forehead into the crowd. Bill wasn’t hurt by this unorthodox shot stopping.
After that, the Leafs hammered at his station spasmodically, but the Canadiens afforded them few good chances.
Richard just about killed their chances for keeps at 15:43 of the second frame, when he stole the puck off Barilko outside the Toronto blueline, outhustled Jimmy Thomson to direct a path to Broda, and fired a backhander which hit the crossbar and deflected behind the fat man.
Bentley’s second goal came less than four minutes from the end of the game. He took a pass from Timgren in the Montréal defence zone, skated past Doug Harvey easily, and whipped a drive into the strings.
Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 11, 1949
TOR PEN – 01:20 – Barilko, hooking
TOR PEN – 03:27 – team, too many men on the ice
MTL PP GOAL – 04:47 – Riopelle (Bouchard, Lach)
TOR PEN – 14:04 – Ezinicki, high sticking
MTL PP GOAL – 16:00 – Richard (Harvey)
MTL GOAL – 17:25 – Reay (Dussault, Bouchard)
MTL PEN – 00:18 – Bouchard, interference
TOR GOAL – 04:37 – Bentley (Timgren)
MTL PEN – 08:37 – Lach, slashing
MTL PEN – 14:11 – Reardon, charging
MTL SH GOAL – 15:43 – Richard
TOR PEN – 18:24 – Barilko, cross checking
TOR PEN – 09:48 – Boesch, tripping
MTL PEN – 10:23 – Dussault, holding
TOR GOAL – 16:02 – Bentley (Timgren)
MTL PEN – 19:11 – Bouchard, fighting major
TOR PEN – 19:11 – Mortson, fighting major
MTL PEN – 19:11 – Richard, fighting major
TOR PEN – 19:11 – Thomson, fighting major
MTL – Durnan (W, 16-18)
TOR – Broda (L, 23-27)
MTL – Goaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard (C), Glen Harmon, Doug Harvey, Hal Laycoe, Ken Reardon. Forwards: Joe Carveth, Norm Dussault, Bob Fillion, Léo Gravelle, Elmer Lach, Kenny Mosdell, Gerry Plamondon, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard, Rip Riopelle, Grant Warwick.
TOR – Goaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Bill Barilko, Garth Boesch, Bob Dawes, Bill Juzda, 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, Harry Watson.