Game 266 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1

Game 266
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1
Thursday, December 15, 1949
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

A goal by Flem MacKell with a minute to play saved the disorganized looking Leafs from a shutout tonight, as they absorbed a 4-1 trouncing from the Montréal Canadiens.

The largest professional hockey crowd in this city’s history cheered like crazy as the impressive triumph broke a second place deadlock between the teams, and dropped the limp Leafs into the third slot.

Before a gathering of 15,026 in the seat enlarged Forum, the Flying Frenchmen – and they sure were – took a 1-0 lead before all fans were in their seats. That was a goal by Elmer Lach, who shot two tallies and assisted on another before retiring with a cut on his left foot shortly after the start of the third.

Three more tallies in the middle frame – during which a barrage of foot rubbers and programs in protest of a penalty to the mighty Rocket Richard delayed the game – ended the Habs’ score. They were counted by Richard, Bob Fillion and Lach.

The Habs, taking over from the start, poured in on Turk Broda most of the way, and the Leafs made it easier for them by apparently forgetting how to hit. Turk had more pucks go by him tonight than in any game since he sat one out for being too beefy.

Lach put the Canadiens ahead to stay, 75 seconds after the opening bell, when he was shaken clear inside the Leaf blue line on a pass from Richard. But for some good saves and bad Canadien marksmanship, it could have been an even larger score at game’s end.

Richard’s goal – his 22nd of the season – made it 2-0 midway through the second on a backhander, and opened a barrage of howling applause for Québec’s favourite hockey son. When he took a holding penalty a minute later, the flood of foot rubbers started hitting the ice and held up play a couple of minutes.

Referee George Gravel started play with three single pieces of footwear still in the Leaf end and the boos changed to cheers again when, with Richard in penitence, Fillion netted a backhander on a breakaway pass for his first goal of the semester. Jimmy Thomson was sitting out an interference minor when Lach counted his second tally of the tilt – a somewhat odd one.

Broda ducked his head on Doug Harvey’s long shot, and the puck hit Lach standing at the goal mouth and fell at his feet. He swatted it in.

MacKell spoiled goalie Bill Durnan’s bid for his fifth shutout when, at the 19 minute mark, he took a pass from Timgren, zipped up the left boards and teed off on a long one that hit the twine like a lightning bolt. MacKell had replaced Sid Smith on the Timgren-Howie Meeker line for this game. Smith sweated it out on the players’ plank.

NOTES: While the Canadiens were mighty hot, it was a poor display by the Leafs…Lach had three stitches taken in his foot cut. He said it came from a skate, but he didn’t know the circumstances…Ken Reardon, the Montréal rearguard who played his usual powerful, bull-like game, entered hospital after the tilt for an operation on a broken nose. X-ray examination today disclosed the fracture. He received it in Chicago last weekend in a collision with Bert Olmstead…The crowd was the largest in the 25 year hockey history of the Forum…Broda had 30 shots to handle, compared to a mere 19 by Durnan.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 16, 1949

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 01:25 – Lach (Richard, Bouchard)
TOR PEN – 02:44 – Klukay, tripping
MTL PEN – 03:38 – Reay, broken stick
TOR PEN – 06:05 – Juzda, interference
TOR PEN – 08:48 – Lynn, kneeing
MTL PEN – 09:37 – Mosdell, high sticking
MTL PEN – 15:36 – Reardon, holding

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 11:58 – Richard (Lach)
MTL GOAL – 13:38 – Fillion (Mosdell, Reardon)
MTL GOAL – 15:23 – Lach (Harvey)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 10:36 – MacKell, charging
TOR GOAL – 19:00 – MacKell (Timgren)

MTL – Durnan (W, 18-19)
TOR – Broda (L, 26-30)

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

MTL – 11-9-7 (.537)
TOR – 11-12-5 (.482)