Maple Leafs 1, Canadiens 1
Saturday, November 14, 1931
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario
Two goals, one to each team, both coming in the second period, were the sum total of the efforts of the speedy Montréal Canadiens and their rivals, the no less speedy Maple Leafs, in Saturday night’s NHL fixture at Maple Leaf Gardens.
About 12,000 spectators saw seventy minutes of good and bad hockey, thrilling for the most part, but lacking the punch and drive that these teams have provided here on previous occasions.
The light scoring is largely due to the fact that neither team has hit its regular stride as yet. The attacking was weak compared to what these same players usually offer. The Canadiens presented a strong defence, but failed to flash the dazzling speed and clever combination play for which they are noted. The Leafs have not yet hit upon an attack that is effective, and the clever plays that hemmed in their rivals around the net when shorthanded last season have either been forgotten, or else they are trying to build up entirely new ones.
The first two periods gave promise of an exciting third session. There was enough of real hockey to make the fans hopeful that the final 20 minutes would be crammed with thrills. But the expected heights were never reached. The third period was much tamer and less thrilling than either of its two predecessors, while the overtime was listless, with the teams obviously content to play cautiously and share the point, rather than risk defeat by opening up the play.
Aurèle Joliat and Charlie Conacher scored the only goals. Joliat notched the first halfway through the second period. Harold Cotton was in the penalty box at the time, and the Leafs were playing shorthanded. Joliat picked up a loose puck inside the Toronto blue line and got a clear opening on the goal, his shot giving Chabot little chance to save.
Five minutes afterward, Charlie Conacher scored the equalizer. The Leafs had the advantage at the moment, for Marty Burke was serving an enforced rest. Conacher carried the puck in from the wing, but lost it. He managed to recover the rubber in the other corner, and circled around behind the net and shoved the puck in the far side before Hainsworth could set himself to block it.
That ended the evening’s scoring. There were numerous other opportunities, but the goalkeepers were either too good for the snipers, or the latter couldn’t supply enough accuracy to their shots to make them click. Howie Morenz, who was the outstanding player on the champions’ attakc, once beat the Toronto defence cleanly, but the puck rolled away from his stick as he tried to get in close on Chabot, and he never got as good a chance again.
In the overtime, Darragh got a pass from Blair to go right in on Hainsworht, but the latter charged out and blocked the shot. Bailey also missed a chance when the Leafs had a penalty faceoff after Hainsworth had thrown the puck forward instead of backward in clearing a shot. Bailey just missed the net with a drive that would have counted had it been straighter.
Undoubtedly the work of the goalkeepers was a highlight of the game. There was little to choose between them. Both made remarkable saves, although the majority of shots came from outside the blue lines. The Leafs looked better in the first period than their opponents, but play was fairly even thereafter.
Andy Blair, who is spending most of his active hockey moments this season nursing the puck while the Leafs are shorthanded, did some clever manipulating at such times. Andy does everything but hide it up his sleeve. He toyed with the Canadiens at times, and they seemed unable to scheme out a plan to relieve him of the disc. Lépine, Joliat and Morenz also had turns keeping the Leafs at bay when the visitors were at a disadvantage through penalties.
While Morenz and Joliat were the pick of the Canadiens’ front line, young Gus Rivers, used more freely than on previous occasions here, also looked good. Gagnon was used sparingly owing to an injury received in preseason practice, while Wasnie, Larochelle, Lépine, Mondou and Georges Mantha were only fair.
Marty Burke and Sylvio Mantha proved the stronger defence combination. Dunc Munro was used often, but he is not in good condition as yet, although he showed many flashes of his old time form. He couldn’t stand the pace in the tense moments, but he should prove a strong bulwark for the champions when he plays himself into condition. Leduc also seemed to be handicapped by lack of condition, while S. Mantha did not appear to extend himself unduly.
Marty Burke, the same old firebrand, earned the usual boos by his hearty bodychecking. Just why Toronto fans should boo Burke, a hometown boy, is puzzling. He gives and takes his bumps against all comers, and Charlie Conacher’s action in nudging Burke in the back of the head with his elbow as the latter had his back to him was uncalled for, even though delivered in the heat of anger after Burke handed Conacher a solid bodycheck.
For the Leafs, Levinsky appeared to be the only player who is above his last season’s form. The others are below the standard they set themselves a year ago. Bailey has not found his real stride at the centre ice position as yet, while the “Kid” forward line seems unable to flash the combination that brought such excellent results in the previous campaign.
Horner and Levinsky are playing a better game on the defence than Clancy and Day. The veterans require longer to get into condition, probably. Cotton and Blair look good, while Gracie, in his few brief appearances, seems to be improving. But the team is sadly lacking in an effective system of attack, and must improve considerably in that respect before it will win many games.
Story originally published in The Globe, November 16, 1931
TOR PENS – Bailey (2), Jackson (2), Day, Horner
MTL PENS – Leduc, Lépine, S. Mantha, Rivers
MTL PP GOAL – 10:25 – Joliat
TOR PP GOAL – 14:45 – Conacher
TOR PENS – Bailey, Cotton
MTL PENS – Burke (2), Larochelle
TOR PEN – Blair
MTL PEN – Joliat
TOR – Chabot (T)
MTL – Hainsworth (T)
TOR – Goaltenders: Lorne Chabot. Defence: King Clancy, Hap Day (C), Red Horner, Alex Levinsky. Forwards: Ace Bailey, Andy Blair, Charlie Conacher, Baldy Cotton, Harold Darragh, Frank Finnigan, Bob Gracie, Syd Howe, Busher Jackson, Joe Primeau.
MTL – Goaltenders: George Hainsworth. Defence: Marty Burke, Albert Leduc, Georges Mantha, Sylvio Mantha (C), Dunc Munro, Jean Pusie. Forwards: Johnny Gagnon, Aurèle Joliat, Wildor Larochelle, Pit Lépine, Armand Mondou, Howie Morenz, Gus Rivers, Nick Wasnie.