Game 114 – Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1

Game 114
Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1
Tuesday, February 28, 1933
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Not until “Pit” Lépine lifted a looping drive from the blue line late in the third period did the Maple Leafs appear in any danger of losing last night’s NHL fixture with the revamped Canadiens.

True, the score was tied, and the Leafs were finding it difficult to get goals, but they outplayed the Frenchmen so persistently and had so many more good scoring opportunities that it seemed only a question of time before they would snare the winning goal or goals.

But the result of such close games often hinges on just such a fluke as favoured the Flying Frenchmen on this occasion. Lépine’s lazy lift, played carefully by Chabot, who attempted to smother the puck as it struck the ice in front of the net, produced the winning goal, and the Leafs could do nothing in the remaining five minutes of play to offset it.

The final score was 2 to 1. Lépine scored both goals for the Canadiens, whow ere shut out until the final period. The Leafs garnered a one goal lead early in the second period, when Red Horner netted Ace Bailey’s rebound while the Leafs were pressing around the visitors’ net, with Carson in the penalty box and the Canadiens shorthanded. Lépine tied the score on a neat passing play after nearly eight minutes of play in the third frame. Gizzy Hart carried the puck down left wing and passed to Larochelle. Hart got a return pass and started to circle the Leafs’ cage. He passed the puck out to Lépine, who was uncovered in front of Chabot, and “Pit” lifted a neat shot into the twine.

The Leafs looked headed for nothing worse than an equal division of points, and the Canadiens appeared to be playing with that in view when Lépine astonished the 8,000 customers with the winning marker. Durring a temporary lull in the Leafs’ attack, Lépine casually sent a looping shot at the net. Chabot, down on the ice, blocked the rubber, but it was spinning and caromed off his pads, hit the goalpost and twisted into the corner of the cage, barely across the goal line.

That goal was a lifesaver to the Canadiens, and they managed to stave off the frantic drives of the Leafs in the last few minutes by strict defensive hockey, shooting the puck to the other end of the ice as the Leafs, somewhat disorganized, raced in with scoring intentions. Coach Dick Irvin even resorted to the extreme of taking Chabot off the ice in the last minute and putting on six forwards. That move nearly cost the Leafs another goal, as Gagnon and Joliat broke away, and Gagnon, on the final pass, missed the yawning, unprotected cage.

It was the Canadiens’ first victory in Toronto this season, and only the third game in 21 that the Leafs have lost in the present campaign on their home ice. The victory put the Canadiens two points nearer to a playoff berth, and improved their chances immensely. The two teams meet again in Montréal tomorrow night, and by winning that one, the Frenchmen can get an equal division of games won and lost in their struggles with the Leafs this season.

Close checking dominated the opening period, and tended to slow the teams down when they attempted to break away on goalward dashes. The Leafs had more good scoring chances than the Canadiens. Morenz got the best opening for the visitors when he cleared the defence just inside the blue line. With a clear path to the net, he was just about to get his shot away when Thoms dived through a mass of players and diverted the rubber. It was spectacular save.

Not long afterward, Gracie and Downie bore in on Hainsworth, but were outlucked around the net. Blair drew a penalty for spilling G. Mantha into the boards, and the Canadiens attempted to bottle the Leafs in the Toronto defence area. However, the locals survived some passing attacks by close defence work.

When the teams were even again in manpower, Conacher took a pass from Jackson close to the net, but was off stride and unable to get his shot away. Horner, Conacher and Jackson broke away together on another occasion, but Hainsworth blocked Horner’s shot from close range. An exciting couple of minutes climaxed the period. Conacher and Carson drew penalties for elbowing each other, and Thoms followed them to the box a few seconds later for spilling Joliat. Bailey, Clancy, Horner and Chabot held off the visitors, although they were a busy foursome for most of the time. Bailey broke away with only one man protecting Hainsworth, but the goalkeeper stopped his waist high shot.

The second period was the most exciting of the three, and produced the fastest and perhaps the best hockey of the game. Carson drew a penalty soon after the start, and while he was off, the Leafs scored their only goal. Bailey rushed and worked in for a backhand drive at Hainsworth. The puck rebounded, and Horner and Cotton were right there to look after it, “Red” getting it and sending it into the net.

Not long afterward, referee Mallingon caused an uproar from the crowd for a series of penalties that had first one team, and then the other, shorthanded for several minutes. Blair was given a penalty for no apparent reason, and that aroused the fans. The crowd roared when Gagnon checked somebody fairly hard. He went off, evening the sides. Levinsky leaned on S. Mantha and was waved to the cooler. The crowd roared when Bailey fell behind the Toronto net while Morenz was pursuing him, and Morenz, protesting, went off to join the other victims of the official thumb.

The teams carried on with four men a side, and Hainsworth was kept busier than Chabot. The Canadiens’ net guardian made two brilliant saves when Downie and Thoms were right in on the net, and the Leafs set the pace for the balance of the period, and pelted the visitors’ cage without success.

Joliat and Bailey had just returned from serving a penalty, and the “kid line” was in action for the Leafs when the Canadiens tied the score in the third period, as previously related. The Leafs successfully held off the visitors soon afterward when Downie was serving a penalty. Then Lépine came through with what proved to be the deciding goal.

Charlie Conacher had a great chance to tie the score for the Leafs in the next minute or so. He picked up a pass inside the visitors blue line during a three man rush, and with Hainsworth caught out of position, Conacher’s whizzing shot just missed the corner of the net. He scored shortly afterward, but the whistle had blown a second previously for an offside. Chabot made a neat save from Morenz in the final minutes, when the latter had broken away and had only the goalkeeper to beat.

The Leafs outshot the Canadiens 49 to 27 on the night’s play, and they should have made better use of their opportunities. However, the Flying Frenchmen looked better than at any previous time here this year. Lépine, Joliat, Gagnon, G. Mantha, Larochelle, Carson and S. Mantha were the pick of the visitors, with Hainsworth contributing a fine display of goalkeeping.

For the Leafs, Primeau, Jackson, Conacher, Clancy, Horner, Thoms and Bailey were the pick, but Day, Levinsky, Gracie and Downie were almost as prominent. Downie gave the best display he has shown here to date. Chabot made many fine saves, and it was no fault of his that the game was lost.

Story originally published in The Globe, March 1, 1933

1st Period
TOR PEN – 03:00 – Blair
TOR PEN – 06:00 – Blair
MTL PEN – 10:00 – Carson
MTL PEN – 13:00 – Carson
TOR PEN – 16:00 – Conacher
TOR PEN – 19:00 – Thoms

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 02:24 – Horner (Bailey)

MTL PEN – 06:00 – Gagnon
TOR PEN – 09:00 – Levinsky
MTL PEN – 16:00 – Morenz
TOR PEN – 19:00 – Bailey

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 05:00 – Joliat
MTL GOAL – 07:54 – Lépine (Larochelle, Hart)
MTL GOAL – 08:05 – Lépine
TOR PEN – 10:00 – Downie

MTL – Hainsworth (W, 48-49)
TOR – Chabot (L, 25-27)

MTL – 6+10+11 = 27
TOR – 13+21+15 = 49

MTLGoaltenders: George Hainsworth (C). Defence: Léo Bourgault, Gerry Carson, Albert Leduc, Georges Mantha, Sylvio Mantha, Harold Starr. Forwards: Johnny Gagnon, Art Giroux, Hago Harrington, Gizzy Hart, Aurèle Joliat, Wildor Larochelle, Pit Lépine, Howie Morenz.
TORGoaltenders: Lorne Chabot. Defence: King Clancy, Hap Day (C), Red Horner, Alex Levinsky. Forwards: Ace Bailey, Andy Blair, Charlie Conacher, Baldy Cotton, Dave Downie, Bob Gracie, Busher Jackson, Joe Primeau, Bill Thoms.

MTL – 14-21-4 (.410)
TOR – 21-13-5 (.603)