Game 263 – Maple Leafs 1, Canadiens 0

Game 263
Maple Leafs 1, Canadiens 0
Wednesday, November 16, 1949
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Leafs staged one of the greatest bodychecking displays of modern hockey in the first period last night, and crashed into second place with a 1-0 triumph over the Montréal Canadiens.

Before Maple Leaf Gardens’ greatest turnout of the season – 14,406 – the locals flushed out and bashed every Canadien on sight throughout the opening session. They managed their goal – by Sid Smith – while doing it, and checked the bruised Habitants fiercely the rest of the rugged journey.

It was a revenge for a 4-2 whipping in Montréal last week, and the Leafs played it as if they were exacting every ounce of retribution. They were mad at themselves too, and it all ended in Turk Broda, who made some great saves, being surrounded at the final bell by congratulatory mates on his third shutout.

Magnificent in defeat was Bill Durnan, the loop leading goalie. Those big hands of his reached out to snare many a loose puck around his cage, and he stopped plenty of good ones too. He was the guy who held the Leafs to a lone tally through strong Leaf attacks that bewildered the Hab rearguard at times.

Fights threatened several times, but impending trouble ended in pushing and scuffling, with referee Bill Chadwick handing out seven minors each way. Both sides were at full strength when the Kennedy line, on its first appearance, rapped in the winner.

Ted Kennedy started the play, with Flem MacKell finding the puck in front of the net after it hit his skate on a pass. He shot the disc along the ice, and Smith poked it in as Durnan went down.

The Leafs, in evening the seasonal series with the Habitants at two wins each, were helped tremendously by great penalty killing, especially by the team of Howie Meeker and Vic Lynn. Time after time, the Canadiens mostly were bottled up in their own end and, on one occasion, it was the Leafs who had the only shot on goal during a Toronto penalty.

Also aiding the cause in a big way was Ray Timgren. The kid came up with his best display of the season and stood out with his fore and back-checking. Just about every Leaf but Broda handed out a bodycheck or two, including Max Bentley, the team flyweight. In the closing stages, he purposely ran into giant Roger Leger and said later that “I came away like butter bouncing off a wall.”

If some of the Leafs left their heavy hitting pads in the dressing room after they had softened up the Canadiens in the first, Bill Ezinicki was one who didn’t. He was in good crashing form, once straightened Rip Riopelle with a solid check when he was bothering Broda.

Ezzie was the only blood casualty, although Bill Barilko will have X-rays taken today of his jaw. Ezinicki took a three stitch cut from Butch Bouchard’s stick when they fell together in the first frame. Barilko took two elbows – one on each side of his jaw – but nothing, apparently, was broken.

NOTES: The always-dangerous Rocket Richard gave one of his better displays on Toronto ice, and was the best of the Canadien forwards…The official scorer had 25 shots on goal by the Canadiens to 26 by the Leafs. That was no criterion, because the Leafs were far more dangerous around the nets…Jim Balmer continued his win streak. The Pittsburgh Hornets’ vice president, a spectator, never has seen the Leafs lose in “about 18 games”…Coach Hap Day cut a cake in the Leaf dressing room after the game. Sent yesterday by a fan, it carried the inscription in pink icing: “Good Luck, Fellows.”

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 17, 1949

1st Period
TOR PEN – 01:09 – Ezinicki, elbowing
TOR GOAL – 05:20 – Smith (MacKell, Kennedy)
MTL PEN – 05:41 – Mosdell, interference
TOR PEN – 08:20 – Barilko, slashing
MTL PEN – 11:23 – Harmon, tripping
TOR PEN – 17:08 – Lynn, holding
TOR PEN – 19:33 – Barilko, charging

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 06:48 – Riopelle, boarding
TOR PEN – 14:10 – Ezinicki, holding
MTL PEN – 18:50 – Laycoe, holding

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 02:56 – Reay, holding / roughing double minor
TOR PEN – 02:56 – Barilko, roughing
TOR PEN – 10:34 – Ezinicki, interference
MTL PEN – 16:04 – Lach, cross checking

TOR – Broda (W + SO, 25-25)
MTL – Durnan (L, 25-26)

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

TOR – 7-4-3 (.607)
MTL – 6-5-4 (.533)