Game 273 – Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1

Game 273
Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1
Wednesday, March 22, 1950
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The tiniest fellow on the ice broke up a drama packed display of terrific hockey with just 61 seconds remaining last night – and handed the Montréal Canadiens a 2-1 triumph over the Maple Leafs.

Normand Dussault was the kid who did it, breaking a second place tie between the two bitter rivals, and making the Habitants favourites to hang onto that second slot in the two NHL scheduled games remaining for each team.

The Leafs, who can finish no worse than third, had taken over an edge in the play when Dussault grabbed a pass from Billy Reay and sped down the left boards as if a jet was attached to his panties. He whizzed by defenceman Bill Juzda, let go a zippy 15-footer that caught the other side of the cage.

The Habitants, coming from behind to win, received an ovation on that one that was greatest of the season for a visiting team. Large seconds of the packed 14,578 crowd in Maple Leaf Gardens also cheered the Habs on end after goalie Turk Broda was yanked in favour of an extra attacker in the final minute. The Canadiens couldn’t get the puck out of their end, but they held on grimly as the Leafs did everything but tally.

It was the Leafs, fighting hard, who opened the goal getting in a fierce checking affair that had plenty of speed, a minimum of rough stuff, and one fist fight. Max Bentley, really digging in all the way, set up Joe Klukay for the score near the 14 minute mark of the opening period. Bentley outfought Calum MacKay for the puck along the sideboards, whipped over a pass to Klukay, standing in front of that great netminder Bill Durnan, and it was in before Durnan could get set.

The setup for the tying tally early in the second was of the odd variety. Broda was slightly out of his nets when a long shot by Glen Harmon rebounded off the back boards and the puck landed behind the Turk. Before the goalie could get at it, Rip Riopelle banged it in.

Bill Barilko did all the punching in the lone fight that came just after the game’s halfway mark. He stopped a shot and fell, then took violent exception when rearguard Hal Laycoe brought his stick down sharply and grazed Barilko’s blond locks.

The Leaf defenceman came off the deck, throwing rights and lefts. Laycoe covered up and his glasses fell to the ice and broke. Both took majors, and Laycoe sat out the rest of the game, unable to see clearly without his aids.

As a sideline to the fight, Bill Juzda dumped Bill Reay and straddled him until the original combatants were separated.

The Leafs, in dropping to third, will face the league champion Detroit Red Wings in the playoff semifinals opening next week, unless they can regain second in the two regular games remaining. The Leafs, now two points back of the Habs, face Boston here Saturday and the Rangers in New York Sunday. The Canadiens have a game in Montréal Saturday against Chicago, close out the schedule the following night in Boston.

NOTES: Last night’s loss was the Leafs’ first at the Gardens since the same Habs beat them 1-0 January 18. Since then, the Leafs had won 11 and tied one…A visitor to the Toronto dressing room before and after the game was Metro Prystai, the Chicago centre who suffered a concussion when bodychecked to the ice by Bill Ezinicki in last Saturday’s game here. Prystai attached no blame to Ezzie. “Ezinicki plays hard but fair,” Prystai said. “I didn’t keep my head up and I should have. It was my fault I got hit.” He returned to hospital after the game, is expected to be released today, and will journey to Chicago. Prystai said he remembered nothing of the actual check, which came with only 12 seconds of the game remaining…Winger Flem MacKell, one of the five players to report to the Leafs Monday from the Pittsburgh farm team, was the only one of the five to dress for the game. He wasn’t used, however…Both goalies made some remarkable saves, with the Leafs outshooting the Habs 17-16. The Canadiens had only two shots on goal in the final frame – and the second one went in. In the gloomy Leaf dressing room, Broda termed it “a lucky shot.”

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 23, 1950

1st Period
MTL PEN – 00:19 – Harvey, charging
TOR GOAL – 13:46 – Klukay (Bentley)
MTL PEN – 18:05 – Reardon, delay of game

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 06:05 – Riopelle (Harmon, Curry)

TOR PEN – 12:33 – Barilko, fighting major
MTL PEN – 12:33 – Laycoe, fighting major

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 18:59 – Dussault (Reay, Richard)

MTL – Durnan (W, 16-17)
TOR – Broda (L, 14-16)

MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan. Defence: Butch Bouchard (C), Glen Harmon, Doug Harvey, Hal Laycoe, Ken Reardon. Forwards: Floyd Curry, Norm Dussault, Bob Fillion, Léo Gravelle, Bert Hirschfeld, 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, Cal Gardner, Ted Kennedy (C), Joe Klukay, Vic Lynn, John McCormack, Howie Meeker, Sid Smith, Ray Timgren, Harry Watson.

MTL – 28-22-18 (.544)
TOR – 30-26-12 (.529)