Game 120 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2

Game 120
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2
Saturday, February 10, 1934
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Maple Leafs registered their twentieth victory of the season at the expense of the Montréal Canadiens at the Gardens on Saturday night, and did it in a manner most pleasing to the largest crowd the Carlton Street hockey parlour has housed in two years.

The so-called Flying Frenchmen were on the losing end of a 4 to 2 score, and it might be said of the game that it produced more thrills per minute and less consistently good hockey than many of its predecessors here this year.

The official attendance was 13,560. The spectators were kept in an almost continuous state of excitement by the action on the ice, and the Leafs, despite the absence of three of their stalwart forwards, gave a display that impressed everyone with their greatness. They outskated and outplayed the Habitants all through the piece, and at times made the visitors look ordinary by the power of their attack.

It was a notable triumph for the locals in every way. They had only twelve players to draw from, Charlie Conacher, Charlie Sands and Joe Primeau being unable to play. Conacher is still in hospital with an infected knee, while Sands and Primeau were at the game, but in no condition to play. Sands’ injury is mending rapidly, but when he donned skates for a time on Saturday afternoon, he found it pained him considerably, and it was deemed inadvisable to use him. Primeau’s threatened attack of appendicitis is being checked, but it is not likely he will play hockey again until the All Star game on Wednesday night. Conacher and Sands may also be ready by that time, it is hoped.

The Canadiens were practically at full strength, although Marty Burke, who suffered a recent eye injury was only used for a few minutes at one stage. The visitors have been more successful against the Leafs this season than have any of the other NHL teams, but the locals were too much for them on this occasion. There was more speed, more vim and more power in the Toronto attack, and every one of the twelve players gave an excellent performance.

The Leafs, never cautious to any extent, took far more chances than their opponents, and that fact alone brought results. The locals failed to combine as well as the visitors, but their lone sallies, their quick breakaways from their own blue line, and their dashing style of play gave them plenty of scoring opportunities, and they outshot the Canadiens by considerable of a margin and dominated the play for the most part.

King Clancy was one of the heroes of the piece. “The King” was in his glory in the open, headlong style of play that the Leafs adopted. He scored the first two Toronto tallies and was frequently one of the leading attackers, in addition to playing a strong game on the defence. Harvey Jackson and Bill Thoms got the other Toronto goals. In addition, each got assists on Clancy’s second goal. Day and Kilrea were also credited with assists, the former on Clancy’s first goal and the latter on the goal scored by Thoms.

Georges Mantha, who was one of the best forwards the Canadiens showed, and Jack Riley netted the two counters for the losers, Wildor Larochelle getting an assist on each goal, while Léo Bourgault also figured in Mantha’s marker.

The game was a lively one, with plenty of bumping duels and considerable close checking, but only four penalties were inflicted, the Leafs drawing three of them. It was a slam-bang affair, and several times it appeared as if sticks would be dropped and punches started, but the players kept their tempers under control and furnished spirited entertainment for the fans in other respects.

The contest marked the return of “Buzz” Boll to the Leafs’ lineup after nearly two weeks on the shelf with an injured shoulder. Boll gave no sign that he had been out that long. He held a roving commission, being used at left wing, right wing and centre at various times, as coach Dick Irvin juggled his two lines of forwards under the stress of shorthandedness.

Irvin had only seven forwards available, but he manipulated his attacking combinations so well that the visitors were always confronted by a speedy band of skaters whose one idea seemed to be to get the puck past Chabot. If there was any weakness in the Leafs’ lineup, it wasn’t apparent at any time, and the fast pace the locals set in the first period was maintained to the end.

The first period did not produce a goal, but the Leafs garnered two in the middle frame. Their first was particularly welcome because it came at a time when Horner was serving the first penalty of the contest, and the Canadiens had the advantage of manpower. The visitors launched four man attacks and paid the penalty for their boldness. Clancy and Day, parked about two feet in front of the Toronto blue line, broke away together when Day knocked down the puck when Lépine attempted to shoot it into the Toronto zone, while four of the Canadiens were charging in. Clancy carried the rubber in and with Day in position for a pass, he worked around the lone defence player to get a close-up shot at Chabot, lodging the puck in the far corner of the net as the goalkeeper started out to smother his shot.

Barely more than three minutes later, while the teams were at full strength again, Clancy netted the second goal when he picked up a pass from Jackson in front of the Canadiens’ net. Thoms had worked the puck inside the blue line and then followed it into the corner, where he passed it out to Jackson. Harvey was trying to get an open shot at Chabot, and his drive was deflected to Clancy, who lifted it past the former Toronto net guardian.

Seven minutes after the third period began, Jackson stickhandled his way inside the Montréalers’ defence and blazed a waist high shot that Chabot was fooled on completely. It was Harvey’s only success against his former teammate, although he had three or four other great chances. In the first period he had only Chabot to beat, but his shot struck the crossbar and went high into the air. The red light flashed, but referee Daigneault overruled the goal judge. The referee was right. Under the circumstances, the goal judge could be excused, as he saw the puck coming straight for the net and did not see it go up off the crossbar. He hesitated, but when the puck did not appear on the ice he concluded it must be in the net. The Canadiens wanted the goal judge replaced, but after explanations were made he remained at his post.

The Canadiens made it close in the final period after the Leafs had taken a three goal lead. Little more than midway through the period, the visitors applied the pressure around the Toronto net, and finally Georges Mantha, who was parked almost in the goal crease, deflected a pass from Larochelle into the Toronto net. Five minutes later, the visitors got a break when “Happy” Day, attempting to stickhandle the puck away from in front of Hainsworth, inadvertently shoved it over to Larochelle, and the latter relayed it to Riley in front of the net, Hainsworth having no chance to stop the shot.

With the margin reduced, the Leafs simply went to work with more speed and fury on the attack, and Thoms finally scored one of the prettiest goals of the night. Intercepting a pass inside the visitors’ blue line, he skated right in on Chabot. The latter turned his slow shot aside, but Thoms followed it around the net, and with Chabot prone on the ice, carried it to the other side of the cage and poked it in before Chabot could get his stick in the way of it.

The Leafs had all the better of the closing minute or two, and should have added another tally, but Chabot managed to keep the puck out.

The visitors failed to show any outstanding stars, although Georges Mantha, Riley, Larochelle and Lépine were the pick of their attackers. Morenz and Joliat did not appear to advantage, the latter giving the weakest display he has shown here this season. Morenz is apparently bothered by the ankle injury that kept him out of the game for several weeks. Sylvio Mantha and Carson were the pick of the defence, while Portland impressed, although he lacks experience, and did not show a great deal of speed. He is a hard man to pass, however, on account of his size.

Jackson, Clancy, Kilrea and Thoms were the most prominent for the Leafs, but the others were only a shade less brilliant. Hainsworth gave a great performance in the net, and made a number of spectacular saves.

Manager Ike Boone of the Toronto baseball team went on to the ice to face the puck at the start of the game, and was given quite a hand by the big crowd.

Story originally published in The Globe, February 12, 1934

1st Period

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 08:00 – Horner
TOR SH GOAL – 09:05 – Clancy (Day)
TOR GOAL – 12:30 – Clancy (Thoms, Jackson)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 06:00 – Cotton
MTL PEN – 07:00 – Portland
TOR GOAL – 07:18 – Jackson
TOR PEN – 08:00 – Clancy
MTL GOAL – 11:13 – G. Mantha (Larochelle, Bourgault)
MTL GOAL – 16:24 – Riley (Larochelle)
TOR GOAL – 17:45 – Thoms (Kilrea)

TOR – Hainsworth (W, 28-30)
MTL – Chabot (L, 42-46)

TOR – 18+16+12 = 46
MTL – 8+11+11 = 30

TORGoaltenders: George Hainsworth. Defence: King Clancy, Hap Day (C), Red Horner, Alex Levinsky. Forwards: Andy Blair, Buzz Boll, Baldy Cotton, Ken Doraty, Busher Jackson, Hec Kilrea, Bill Thoms.
MTLGoaltenders: Lorne Chabot. Defence: Léo Bourgault, Marty Burke, Gerry Carson, Georges Mantha, Sylvio Mantha (C), Jack Portland. Forwards: Johnny Gagnon, Sam Godin, Aurèle Joliat, Wildor Larochelle, Pit Lépine, Armand Mondou, Howie Morenz, Jack Riley.

TOR – 20-8-9 (.662)
MTL – 13-16-6 (.457)