Game 092 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 3

Game 092
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 3
Saturday, January 4, 1930
Arena Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Those Flying Frenchmen from Montréal were forced to take the short end of a 4 to 3 count in an NHL fixture against the Maple Leafs at the Arena Gardens Saturday night, in a game that furnished one of the most satisfying and thrilling second periods that Toronto fans have been treated to this season.

While a capacity house nearly raised the roof with cheering, Harvey Jackson, Joe Primeau, Charlie Conacher, Eric Pettinger and Irvin Bailey gave the Canadiens a hockey lesson which they will not soon forget. The Leafs scored their quartet of counters in this period. In the first and third periods, the speedy and tricky Canucks had a slight edge over the Smythemen, but that spirited rally, which the former Marlboro trio produced in the midway canto, proved the undoing of the Montréalers. It was one of the finest displays of clever hockey the Leafs have given for some time, and equalled the last Ranger game here for thrills and excitement.

The Leafs were without the services of Art Duncan, while “Red” Horner played for only a few minutes and aggravated the injury which he sustained in the game against the Maroons. Horner’s retirement left art Smith and captain “Happy” Day as the only defence players available, but they handled the job to perfection. On two occasions, both were in the penalty box together, but so well did the Leafs backcheck the Canadiens that only one goal was scored during these critical moments. It was the result of a vicious long shot, which Morenz unloosed in the opening frame, and Chabot hadn’t a chance to stop it.

The Canadiens suffered more than the defeat. Marty Burke handed “Happy” Day a hard bodycheck in the second period while the Toronto captain was rushing toward the Canadiens’ net. Burke came out of the collision with a broken bone in his shoulder. He was forced to retire, and will likely be laid up for two weeks at least.

Harry Batstone, the noted football star and coach of the Queen’s team who was one of the two officials in charge of the game, received a blow in the face from a flying puck late in the third period, and will likely carry a swollen cheek and a black eye for several days. One of the Toronto players shot the puck down the side of the rink while the Canadiens were making a desperate four man attempt, in an effort to tie the score. The puck struck Batstone just below the eye as he stood against the boards at the side. He refused to leave the ice, and went on with the game, though the blow must have been a painful one.

The Leafs were outplayed in the opening period, and the Canadiens left the ice at the first intermission with a one goal lead due to a terrific shot from the blue line by Howie Morenz while Day was in the penalty box. Chabot had turned several of Morenz’s drives aside just previous to this time, for the Leafs were hard pressed with Smith and Day penalized. Smith had only returned to the ice when Morenz rifled the puck at the net. The rubber travelled so fast that Chabot didn’t have a chance, seemingly, to block it.

The Canadiens looked so good in that first frame that it appeared as if the Leafs were in for a bad night. The fans were hardly prepared for the astonishing performance of the Smythemen shortly after the second period got underway. Two tripping penalties that came in succession to Sylvio Mantha, who is one of the greatest and cleanest defence players in the league, enabled the Leafs to set the pace and keep George Hainsworth busy shaking off the flying puck. Mantha had just returned to the game after his second rest when the Leafs tied the score, Eric Pettinger following in on “Ace” Bailey’s rebound and netting the puck from a difficult angle at the side of the cage. It was a clever bit of work by Pettinger, who with Bailey, had given Hainsworth many hard shots up to that time.

With the score tied, the Leafs redoubled their efforts, and some of the fastest hockey of the game was played. Danny Cox, who departed for Ottawa last night to join the Senators in the Nighbor deal, came on the ice at this time to relieve Pettinger, and received a big hand from the fans. It was Danny’s final appearance this season with the Leafs and he tried hard to get a goal, just missing out on a couple of good opportunities. On one of his netward sallies, Larochelle tripped him and drew a penalty. With the Canadiens shorthanded, manager Smythe sent his “Kid” forward line into action. Then began one of the greatest scoring sessions the Leafs have manufactured this season.

Primeau, Jackson and Conacher worked a passing game that soon had the Canadiens demoralized. All three of them buzzed around Hainsworth like angry hornets, and so speedy and tricky was their passing that the play was kept around the Montréalers’ net while the fans shouted themselves hoarse with delight. A three man thrust by this clever trio ended in a scramble around the net after Hainsworth had blocked shots by Conacher and Primeau, the latter getting the former’s rebound. Jackson was also in close, and he picked up the rebound from Primeau’s drive and batted the puck into the net. The Leafs were in the lead for the first time during the game, and the fans went wild. The cheering had not subsided when Primeau led another attack and, in nineteen seconds, Jackson scored again, taking Primeau’s pass and racing right in on Hainsworth.

The Canadiens looked disorganized but they fought back hard, and when another three man thrust speeded down on the Montréal net, Pit Lépine intercepted a pass from Charlie Conacher and broke away to sift through the Toronto defence and bore in on Chabot for the Canadiens’ second goal.

Art Smith drew a penalty shortly after, and while he was off, the Frenchmen made life interesting for Lorne Chabot and the other Leafs. Joliat missed an open net on a backhanded effort, and Morenz, fiercely darting here and there, made strenuous efforts to tally the equalizing goal. Marty Burke had retired with an injury, and Bert McCaffrey, the former Toronto star who was recently sold to the Canadiens by Pittsburgh, teamed with Mantha. Leduc relieved Mantha, and then McCaffrey drew a penalty.

This brought out Primeau and his two youthful wing players, and again Hainsworth was called upon to make some great stops. Conacher and Primeau combined and, when the Canadiens’ defence was lured to one side in an effort to intercept Primeau’s pass to Conacher, Joe sidled through the opening himself and went straight in on Hainsworth to make sure of his shot, the goalkeeper falling to get in front of the drive. That goal gave the Leafs a two goal margin, and provided the winning tally as things turned out.

The third period was hard fought by both teams, and there was action aplenty. The Canadiens set the pace for the most part, and the Leafs were hard pressed at times. Howie Morenz was always dangerous, as was the temperamental Joliat, but good backchecking and fine defensive play by Smith and Day kept these two brilliant forwards from combining effectively. Primeau and Morenz drew a penalty following a faceoff, each having charged the other. Before they returned to the ice, Art Smith was also given a spell in the pen. Morenz and Primeau returned and almost before he set foot on the ice, Morenz leaped to the attack with “Battleship” Leduc. Leduc’s pass enabled Morenz to skirt the Toronto defence and slip a fast one in on Chabot.

The Leafs staved off the depserate attacks of the visitors over the remaining minutes of the period. Once Jackson literally came from nowhere, and hooked the puck away from an opposing player, who had cleared the defence and appeared to have Chabot at his mercy. Another penalty to Mantha gave the Leafs a brief breathing spell, but in the dying minutes of the game, they were forced to report to that old method of shooting the puck to the other end of the ice to relieve the pressure of the Canadiens’ four man thrusts. Danny Cox and Irvin Bailey were prominent in the back checking, and Day, Blair and Smith did some excellent work in stopping the visitors in the attacking zone.

Primeau, with one goal and two assists, Jackson with two goals, and Conacher with two assists, supplied the big punch in the Leafs’ attack. Primeau and Jackson gave sparkling performances, and Conacher was a close second. Bailey, Pettinger and Blair were also brilliant, while the work of Chabot, Day and Smith was excellent. Cotton and Cox were also used freely, and were always prominent in the play.

Morenz was undoubtedly the pick of the losers, though Joliat and Pit Lépine shared the honours with him on the forward line. Mantha and Leduc were the best of the defence players. Hainsworth played his usual nonchalant and brilliant game in the net, and the Leafs thoroughly earned their four goals.

The game was cleanly played, the sixteen penalties being evenly divided. None of them were for deliberate rough play.

Story originally published in The Globe, January 6, 1930

1st Period
MTL PP GOAL – 14:17 – Morenz
TOR PENS – Day (2), Smith (2)
MTL PENS – Burke, Joliat

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 06:20 – Pettinger (Bailey)

TOR GOAL – 12:00 – Jackson (Primeau, Conacher)
TOR GOAL – 12:19 – Jackson (Primeau)
MTL GOAL – 12:39 – Lépine
TOR GOAL – 18:15 – Primeau (Conacher)
TOR PENS – Conacher, Smith
MTL PENS – S. Mantha (2), Larochelle, McCaffrey

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 06:55 – Morenz (Leduc)
TOR PENS – Primeau, Smith
MTL PENS – S. Mantha, Morenz

TOR – Chabot (W)
MTL – Hainsworth (L)

TORGoaltenders: Lorne Chabot. Defence: Hap Day (C), Red Horner, Art Smith. Forwards: Ace Bailey, Andy Blair, Charlie Conacher, Baldy Cotton, Danny Cox, Busher Jackson, Eric Pettinger, Joe Primeau.
MTLGoaltenders: George Hainsworth. Defence: Marty Burke, Gerry Carson, Albert Leduc, Georges Mantha, Sylvio Mantha (C). Forwards: Aurèle Joliat, Wildor Larochelle, Pit Lépine, Bert McCaffrey, Armand Mondou, Howie Morenz, Nick Wasnie.

TOR – 8-10-1 (.447)
MTL – 9-7-4 (.550)