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Montreal-Boston: 1946


MONTREAL | April 17th, 2009
Montreal-Boston: 1946
Before settling in to watch what promises to be a heated Game 2 between the Canadiens and Bruins on Saturday night, why not take some time to travel down memory road and check out how the rivalry grew into what it is today?  The year: 1946.

The Habs had just finished making quick work of the Blackhawks, sweeping them back to the Windy City in four straight games.  Montreal dominated the series from start to finish, lighting the lamp 26 times in those four outings, compared to the mere seven pucks that found their way past Bill Durnan in the series.

While the Habs were putting the finishing touches on Round 1, the Bruins were busy trouncing the Detroit Red Wings, clinching the series 4-1 on April 28, 1946 in dramatic overtime fashion.  Two days later, the Bruins-Habs playoff rivalry was born.

For the second time in NHL history, the two clubs faced off for Hockey’s Holy Grail. Sixteen years earlier, in 1930, the Canadiens hoisted the franchise’s third Stanley Cup with the dejected Bruins looking on in dismay.

In the 1946 Finals, Boston was on the warpath for payback, while the Habs were out to avenge a loss to the Bruins that ousted them from the 1943 postseason.  

In one of the greatest match-ups in hockey history, Boston’s famous “Kraut Line” of Bobby Bauer, Milt Schmidt and Woody Dumart lined up against Montreal’s “Punch Line”, including the likes of Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Elmer Lach and Toe Blake.

Anytime the Cup is on the line, emotions are high as teams go to war to drink from the silver chalice, but in the 1946 Final, hostilities reached a new level.

The first two games needed overtime to determine a winner, with the Canadiens coming out on top in both of those outings.  It was “The Rocket” who found the back of the net in the extra frame in Game 1, notching his first of six record overtime playoff goals - including three in the Finals throughout his career. One game later, Jimmy Peters sealed the deal for the Habs in extra time.    

After also claiming Game 3, the fourth game again went into extra time.  Finally, on April 9, 1946, for a sixth time in club history, the Montreal Canadiens were Stanley Cup Champions.

Habs netminder Bill Durnan was stellar between the pipes for Montreal, allowing just 20 goals in nine playoff games.

While Durnan took care of business in the D zone, the “Punch Line” was hard at work giving the Bruins all of the offence they could handle.  In 27 games that postseason, the trio combined for 41 points, with Lach, Blake and Richard respectively finishing 1,2, and 3 on the scoring leader board.