Toe Blake is hoisted on his teammates shoulders (left) following the Habs Stanley Cup victory in 1944. (Photos: La Presse)
April 13, 1944. Toe Blake scored the game winner at 9:12 of OT and added four assists, as Montreal beat the Chicago Black Hawks 5-4 in Game 4 of the Finals. The Habs swept the series to win the Stanley Cup, their first title in 13 years and the fifth in franchise history. The victory ended what was then their longest period without a championship.
The Canadiens were down by a 4-1 score, after 40 minutes of play. Fans in the MOntreal Forum yelled “Fake!, Fake"!,” suspecting the home team was sitting on their heels to allow for another game and more playoff revenues. The Canadiens players put those doubts to rest in the final 20 minutes.
Elmer Lach scored his second goal of the night, at 10:02 of the third period, to get the Canadiens within two. Then it was time for Maurice Richard, playing in his first Stanley Cup Final, to turn things on with a pair of goals in explosive fashion.
The following is the radio broadcast, heard across the country, of Richard’s two goals, courtesy of the CBC Digital Archives. Unfortunately they did not include Blake’s OT winner.
Blake, Richard and Lach, aka the “Punch Line” accounted for all five goals and finished first, second and third in playoff scoring. Blakes 18 points was a then Stanley Cup record.
The Canadiens of present are now approaching a 20 year drought without a Cup. Is this the season that it ends?
Also on this day…
1927: Former Canadiens defenseman Billy Coutu is suspended for life by the NHL, following his attack on referees Jerry Laflamme and Billy Bell, at the conclusion of the final game of the 1927 Stanley Cup Final between the Bruins and the Ottawa Senators.
The league governors, including the Bruins never argued the decision, but Canadiens manager Leo Danderand convinced the league to lift the suspension years later. Despite this, Coutu never returned to the NHL,
1958: Jacques Plante recorded his 7th career playoff shutout, and Maurice Richard scored twice as the Canadiens won 3-0 over the Boston Bruins, in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
1965: Claude Provost scored the winning goal at 16:33 of overtime as the Canadiens won 4-3 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 6th and deciding game of their Stanley Cup Semi-Final series.
1967: John Ferguson scored at 6:28 of overtime to lead the Canadiens to a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers, in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals. With the victory, Montreal advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals vs Toronto.
1969: Yvan Cournoyer scored a goal and two assists and Mickey Redmond scored a power play goal at 4:55 of overtime to lead the Canadiens to a 4-3 win over the Bruins in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals.
1975: Guy Lafleur scored twice and added two assists in the Canadiens' 6-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Quarter-Finals.
1977: Ken Dryden recorded the first of his four 1977 playoff shutouts (and the 5th of his playoff career) in the Canadiens' 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of the Quarter-Finals.
1982: A tough pill to swallow for Habs fans in the Battle of Quebec as Dale Hunter scored the winning goal at 0:22 of overtime to lead the Nordiques to a 3-2 win, in Game 5 of the Adams Division Semi-Finals. With the win, Quebec advanced to the Adams Division Finals against Boston.
I remeber watching this game, when I was 12 years old, and could never forget Rick Walmsley’s dejection in the Habs crease following.
But what was the organist thinking at the 34 second mark of the clip below? We currently complain of “Ole, Ole Ole, Ole” being premature.
Habs Born On This Day: Paul Bibeault (1919), Hub Macey (1921), Mariusz Czerkawski (1973), Arron Asham (1978)