Game 088 – Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 1

Game 088
Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 1
Saturday, February 23, 1929
Arena Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Another step nearer to the point where they may be safely certain of a playoff berth in the National Hockey League’s title series was taken by the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night, after a hard fought game with those Flying Frenchmen, Les Canadiens.

The Leafs emerged at the end of a hectic third period on the important end of a 2 to 1 count, and they kept pace with the Montréal Maroons, who were having a big night in Montréal at the expense of John Ross Roach and other members of the New York Rangers. The Maroons and Leafs are still tied for third place in their section of the standing, but Toronto fans can take whatever consolation there is out of the fact that the Leafs have played one game less than the Maroons, and have a chance of profiting thereby.

The Canadiens have not won a game against the Leafs this season, but there were times on Saturday night when the big crowd at the Arena considered their chances extremely bright. The Leafs gained an early lead in the initial period when Andy Blair’s fast shot glanced into the net off the broad chest of George Hainsworth, the Canadiens’ goalkeeper. This lead was maintained until shortly after the midway period had started.

Marty Burke then proceeded to wipe out the locals’ advantage by a solo effort that started slowly, but gained momentum as he swept around the Leaf defence and stickhandled the puck cleverly into the net presided over by Lorne Chabot. That the visitors were unable to tally further during the remainder of the game was largely because of the brilliant blocking of Chabot, and some sensational work in mid-ice by Andy Blair, who was a shining example of what a good hockey player should be all through the evening.

The Leafs scored what proved to be a deciding counter when, late in the second period, Bailey came in fast to ice the puck as it rebounded off one of the opposition defence players following a shot from Danny Cox. Bailey pelted the rubber back so fast that Hainsworth’s hasty grab for it proved fruitless, and the puck nearly hit him in the back as it bounced out of the high inside corner of the cage on to the ice.

In the third period, the Canadiens set the pace and dominated the play considerably because of penalties to the Leafs. Duncan drew a rest for spilling Joliat soon after the final session began, and a little later he received a major rest of five minutes for upending Patterson in front of the Leaf net when the Montréal wingman appeared to be in the scoring position.

While Duncan was off, the visitors bombarded Chabot, and the Toronto goalkeeper gave a masterly exhibition. A penalty to Sylvio Mantha put the teams on even terms in respect to manpower, but Bailey tried to put his knee into Marty Burke soon after, and the Canadiens had a brief advantage of six men to the Leafs’ four. That the locals escaped unscathed from such a dangerous state of affairs was largely due to some brilliant puck ragging by Andy Blair.

The Winnipeg boy made the visitors look ordinary by the way in which he stickhandled through them, and around them, and upset any concerted movement goalward on their part. Blair also got his bulk into the way of a couple of determined onslaughts on the part of the Canucks, and he gave about as fine a performance in all round effectiveness as local fans have been treated to this season. Chabot stopped some close-up shots that had goal written all over them, and this great stand of the locals under very trying difficulties provided the feature of a game that offered many thrills.

The game was not as fast as other performances these teams have displayed here. The Canadiens were not inclined to open up, except when they had the man advantage. Morenz was the only visiting player to bore in consistently on the attack. The Mitchell Marvel was dangerous at all times, as he usually is, and on two or three occasions, only ill luck thwarted his efforts to score. He raced in on Chabot from a faceoff near the net at one time in the first period, and just when it seemed certain that a goal would follow, he lost control of the puck as it slipped beyond the range of his stick. At another time, he cleared the Toronto defence, but overskated the net, although Chabot played his shot cleverly and prevented a score by a narrow margin.

Joliat was also troublesome. The temperamental Aurèle several times checked the local defence and twisted into positions for an open shot at Chabot, but Chabot was always right there to receive the puck. Just after Bailey put the Leafs ahead in the second period with the final tally of the game, Joliat hit the visitors in a series of attacks that threatened to disorganized the Toronto team.

Chabot came out of his place to make two great stops in puck succession from scrambles in front of the goal. Near the end of the frame, Joliat had another made-to-order opportunity, but Chabot’s cleverness irked his attempt. Morenz and Joliat were the pick of the visiting attackers, though Mondou looked dangerous whenever he was on, and Patterson also played troublesome when in the goal line.

Lépine and Gagné were not as effective as usual, and Mantha, Burke and Leduc paid more attention to defensive hockey than attacking. Leduc’s low shots that looped over the Toronto defence were always well handled by Chabot, and the “battleship” seldom was in close enough for one of those short, wicked drives of his.

Burke’s tally was really the result of a little carelessness around centre ice. Burke skated away while “Hap” day, who had just rushed, was trying to check him. But Day was entangled with another member of the opposition at the time, and none of Day’s teammates were close enough to render assistance. Burke had a clear path to the defence, but a little bodychecking inside the blue line might have stopped him. He got through and made certain of his shot by working the puck around Chabot, as the latter knelt to intercept him.

Hainsworth robbed the Leafs of several good chances. The Canadiens’ net guardian had a large strip of adhesive on his face, holding in place a rubber guard for his injured nose, and he presented a rather ludicrous appearance. However, there was nothing humourous about his work. Blair’s shot that resulted in the first tally came in with speed that Hainsworth had no chance to set himself for it. The puck struck him on the chest and bounced into the net, much to Hainsworth’s annoyance, and the delight of Toronto fans. Bailey’s goal followed a clever play on his part. He came in so quickly to Cox’s rebound that the visiting defence anchored on the play, and before he could be intercepted or Hainsworth could cover, the puck was in the cage.

While Blair and Chabot coralled most of the honours for the Leafs, the playing of Bailey, Cox, Day, Cotton and Pettinger was quite up to their usual standard. Horne had trouble carrying the puck, but he, Pettinger and Cotton provided an exciting few minutes in the second period, when they got in shot after shot at Hainsworth, and had the visitors playing a strictly defensive game. They did not get a goal, but they made Hainsworth give his best to keep them off the score sheet.

Smith alternated with Duncan, and Day was most effective defensively. He stopped Joliat and Morenz repeatedly, but he did not show as well on the attack as he usually does. Once or twice he got away one of those terrific drives of his, but Hainsworth blocked them. “Red” Horner was given no chance to appear. Herb Gardiner, who has been managing the Chicago Black Hawks most of the season, was given a few minutes of the defence with Mantha, but Gardiner is far from the effective player he was a year ago.

The officials were strict, and little escaped their eye. There was little deliberate roughness, but there were numerous penalties, Duncan drawing the only major. The Leafs served eight and the Canadiens seven of the enforced rests.

Story originally published in The Globe, February 25, 1929

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 03:00 – Blair
TOR PENS – Smith (2)
MTL PENS – Gagné, Lépine, Patterson

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 00:40 – Burke
TOR GOAL – 15:25 – Bailey (Cox)
TOR PENS – Bailey, Day
MTL PEN – Lépine

3rd Period
TOR PENS – Duncan (minor + major), Bailey, Smith
MTL PENS – Joliat, Lépine, Mantha

TOR – Chabot (W)
MTL – Hainsworth (L)

TORGoaltenders: Lorne Chabot, Benny Grant. Defence: Hap Day (C), Art Duncan, Art Smith. Forwards: Ace Bailey, Andy Blair, Baldy Cotton, Danny Cox, George Horne, Eric Pettinger.
MTLGoaltenders: George Hainsworth. Defence: Marty Burke, Herb Gardiner, Albert Leduc, Sylvio Mantha (C). Forwards: Art Gagné, Aurèle Joliat, Pit Lépine, Armand Mondou, Howie Morenz, George Patterson.

TOR – 18-16-3 (.527)
MTL – 16-7-13 (.625)