Game 104 – Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 1 (OT)

Game 104
Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 1 (OT)
Thursday, December 24, 1931
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

A goal in the last minute of overtime broke a 1-1 tie and gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 2-1 Christmas Eve victory over the Canadiens in a fast skating National Hockey League match here tonight. Harvey Jackson beat Hainsworth on a neat pass from Primeau, andthe Leafs edged out a win and cemented their hold on the top rung of the Canadian section ladder.

It was a fast and exciting game throughout, and the Canadiens tried hard every bit of the way. The first Toronto goal came when the Flying Frenchmen’s defence opened wide for a moment, but there was no mistake about the second and winning counter.

Larochelle gave Pit Lépine a pass in the first period, and the smart Canadien centreman hooked a low shot into the twine from his backhand side. There was no score in the second period, but excitement ran high when Harold Cotton talked back to referee Cooper Smeaton, who promptly clapped a match penalty on top of the minor he had handed the Leafs’ star. Cotton was out of the game for the night, but the Leafs were allowed to replace him after his minor had expired.

The Leafs counted in the third and tied the score. Clancy skated down with Jackson in the centre and Primeau on the other wing. The Canadiens’ defence was wide open, and Jackson skated through and shot a pass to “The King,” who whipped it home without wasting any time.

The Canadiens had the edge for most of the overtime, but in a sparking play of Jackson and Primeau was too much for them. Hainsworth was beaten cleanly on Jackson’s whistling drive across his ankles.

The Canadiens took their beating gamely, and the “Merry Christmases” flew thick and fast before the boys skated off to their dressing rooms.

The game opened at a fast clip, and promised plenty of thrills for a well filled Christmas Eve house. The Canadiens swept to the attack with the whistle, and Chabot had to stop shots from Morenz and Joliat in turn. There was heavy backchecking at centre ice that slowed down the play for a while. Mondou got through, but Horner spoiled his shot with a nice check.

The first goal came with a neat shot by Pit Lépine, the polished Canadiens centre star. Larochelle carried the puck over the line and passed across to Lépine, who flipped a backhand shot at Chabot, who failed to block. Joliat plugged a hard shot at Chabot a minute later. Gagnon got another shot on a pass from Joliat. Morenz got a try from a scramble. Furious backchecking by the Canadiens kept Toronto from crossing their blue line. Chabot nearly missed Wasnie’s drive.

Conacher and Primeau teamed in a nice attack, but Conacher’s shot was wide of the goal. Sylvio Mantha made a lone rush down left wing, and then Lépine went down. Primeau made a rush, but was not allowed to get his shot away. Horner drew a penalty for dumping Joliat as the midget split the Toronto defence. Morenz got a shot at Chabot on Joliat’s pass, and then the period was over.

Joliat drifted a high one at Chabot, who cleared without difficulty. Gagnon banged Morenz’s rebound and Chabot’s pads. Gagnon got another of Morenz’s rebounds away at Chabot, and then Joliat nearly scored on a double pass, Morenz to Gagnon to Joliat. “King” Clancy went down and sent one at Hainsworth from the blue line. Bailey got a shot at Hainsworth from the wing.

Gagnon sniped two long shots in succession from centre ice, and then Howie Morenz got away a terrific drive from the blue marker. Harold Cotton was stopped at the Canadiens’ defence and Morenz swung in on Chabot, only to be beaten out by the Leafs’ goaler. Lépine came on again, and his sweep check stopped Primeau and then Jackson. Horner rushed and Hainsworth handled his blue line drive easily. Conacher and Jackson rushed together, but the shot was wide of the empty cage as Hainsworth dived to save.

Marty Burke was chased for tripping, and the Canadiens had to fight off a whirlwind attack until he came back. Sylvio Mantha got a clip over the ear from Jackson as the Leaf man’s stick flew up. Horner was sent off for slashing, and the teams were even again. Jackson drew an anti-defence penalty, and the Canadiens rushed furiously and Chabot twice fell on the puck to shut out a threatened goal.

Morenz tried a long shot from centre ice and Primeau and Cotton rushed, but were sidetracked into a corner. Leduc rushed the Toronto defence, but was heavily bodychecked. Finnigan got as far as the Canadiens’ blue line and let go a hard drive at Hainsworth. Two Toronto attacks were ruined by offsides at the blue line. Leduc rushed alone again, and Lépine got a shot at Chabot from outside the defence.

Mondou sneaked down centre and got a low drive away at the Toronto cage. Chabot dropped to his knees to save. The lines changed again. Joliat sniped at Chabot on a pass from Morenz just inside the blue line. Conacher was chased for dumping Sylvio Mantha into the boards as the Canadiens’ defenceman rushed down left wing. S. Mantha checked Harold Cotton as he tried to swing around the Canadiens’ defence.

Harold Cotton tripped Gagnon and was banished. Referee Cooper Smeaton clapped a match penalty on Cotton for using abusive language. He said that the Leafs could substitute for Cotton after the two minutes of the minor penalty had elapsed. “Happy” Day argued the point with Smeaton in the corner, but president Frank Calder of the National Hockey League sent Day to his dressing room.

The Leafs started the last period two men short. The Canadiens did not exert themselves unduly, however, and were content to keep a watchful eye on their own nets. When the Leafs were at full strength again, Conacher plugged a hard drive to Hainsworth’s chest. Jackson got another nice try at Hainsworth from the left wing on Blair’s pass. Blair skated around the Canadiens’ defence on a pretty rush, but Hainsworth stopped his short shot. Howie Morenz made a beautiful rush the length of the ice, but his shot missed the cage by an inch or so.

Then came the goal that tied the score. Jackson rushed and slipped a perfect pass to Clancy with Primeau on the other wing. Clancy whipped a short drive past Hainsworth. A moment later, the Canadiens were on the defensive again when Lépine got a penalty.

Lépine came back, and he and Wasnie gave Chabot a bad moment as they passed back and forth inside the Toronto defence. Primeau rushed and split the Canadiens’ defence, only to lose the puck on Hainsworth’s pads. “Red” Horner made a great solo rush, lifting a vicious drive chest high at Hainsworth from inside the defence.

Leduc, Joliat and Gagnon teamed on a pretty rush that was spoiled by an offside. Ace Bailey rocketed down right wing, and only George Hainsworth’s dive saved a goal. Bailey rushed again after Gagnon had plugged one at the Toronto goal. Once more, Bailey’s shot made Hainsworth jump to fend it off.

Conacher tried a long one, and then Leduc rushed down to the Toronto end and drew Chabot from his goal. His shot was wide. Mondou and Lépine had Chabot at their mercy on the next play, but the shot was off. Charlie Conacher lifted a vicious drive at Hainsworth’s ankles, and then Larochelle drifted a long one at the Toronto goal. The Canadiens were trying hard as the gong overtook them.

Joliat made a lone foray, and then Finnigan was stopped at the Canadiens’ defence. Gagnon made a swift rush down the left boards, but his shot was smothered. Leduc rushed, and then Horner came down and shot from outside the blue line. The Canadiens had then the play for a few minutes, and the Leafs could not get past that blue line, while Chabot had plenty to do. The lines changed again.

Larochelle made a great rush, but Chabot handled the shot easily. King Clancy got as far as the Canadiens’ defence, where he lost the puck. Hainsworth made a great save of Charlie Conacher’s angle shot from the right wing. the pace showed little sign of slackening, and both teams were going at full tilt to break the tie. The finishing bell rang a minute too soon, and referee Smeaton faced the puck off again. Jackson counted the winning goal with only a few seconds to go, beating Hainsworth with an ankle high shot from the left boards on Primeau’s pass.

Story originally published in The Globe, December 25, 1931

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 10:23 – Lépine (Larochelle)
TOR PENS – Bailey, Conacher, Day
MTL PEN – Wasnie

2nd Period
TOR PENS – Cotton (minor + 20 min. match penalty), Conacher, Horner, Jackson
MTL PEN – Burke

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 05:23 – Clancy (Jackson)
MTL PEN – Lépine

TOR GOAL – 09:55 – Jackson (Primeau)

TOR – Chabot (W, 35-36)
MTL – Hainsworth (L, 32-34)

TOR – 6+4+21+3 = 34
MTL – 14+13+7+2 = 36

TORGoaltenders: 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, Busher Jackson, Joe Primeau.
MTLGoaltenders: George Hainsworth. Defence: Marty Burke, Albert Leduc, Georges Mantha, Sylvio Mantha (C), Dunc Munro. Forwards: Johnny Gagnon, Aurèle Joliat, Wildor Larochelle, Pit Lépine, Armand Mondou, Howie Morenz, Gus Rivers, Nick Wasnie.

TOR – 7-5-4 (.563)
MTL – 6-7-3 (.469)