Sunday, August 9, 2015

Leafs vs. Habs 1945 Playoffs; Toronto Archives Photos

L to R: Ted Kennedy, Reg Hamilton, Mel Hill, Frank McCool, Elmer Lach, Bob Davidson
These terrific photos come from the Toronto Archives website and are all dated March 27, 1945. This was the date of the fourth game of the Stanley Cup semifinals won in overtime by Toronto 4-3. In 1944/45, Montreal had put together one of the greatest regular seasons in NHL history by collecting 80 points over the 50 game schedule. This of course was also the year in which Maurice Richard scored 50 goals in 50 games. Toronto had trudged along to 52 points, barely over the .500 mark to finish third place. 

The Leafs had won the first two games of the series in Montreal by scores of 1-0 and 3-2 before losing game three at Maple Leaf Gardens by 4-1. After taking a three games to one series lead in this one Montreal bounced back big time winning game five by 10-3 back in The Forum. Toronto closed out the series with a 3-2 win at home in game six. 

The Habs started with a flurry in game four with a goal by Elmer Lach, 23 seconds into the match (pictured at top). Richard made it 2-0 less than two minutes later. The Leafs began pouring it on soon after and according to a Canadian Press article the day after "Bill Durnan made 56 stops compared with 25 for Frank McCool in the Leaf nets." The thing is, Montreal's record-book for saves in a playoff game shows Patrick Roy with 60 and Jaroslav Halak second with 53. Therefore, it's doubtful that Durnan made that many saves but Toronto did indeed wake up after the early deficit. 

Mell Hill scored from Kennedy (pictured at bottom) and Sweeey Schriner tied it at two before the second was over. Young Bob Fillion put Montreal up at 3:47 of the third before Babe Pratt even the game once again halfway through. Leaf Gus Bodnar won the game in the thirteenth minute of overtime when he blasted a goal past Durnan from a face-off in the Montreal end. 
L to R:Bob Fillion, Wally Stanowski, Reg Hamilton, Sweeney Schriner, King Clancy referee, Murph Chamberlain
Toronto would go on to hold off Detroit to win the Stanley Cup in seven games, their first of five Cup victories in seven seasons.
Leo Lamoureux #4,  Mel Hill scoring,  Ted Kennedy #10

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