Game 127 – Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 3

Game 127
Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 3
Saturday, March 16, 1935
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The evening was not officially dedicated to him, but Charlie Conacher, the Maple Leafs’ brilliant right winger, convinced the crowd of over 10,000 spectators, including 9,540 cash customers, that it was his night when he and his teammates beat the Montréal Canadiens at the Gardens on Saturday evening by 5 to 3.

The game meant nothing as far as the section standing records or the playoffs were concerned, but those who witnessed it will long remember it because of the superlative display of the National Hockey League’s leading scorer. Conacher was truly brilliant in more ways than one. He scored three of the Leafs’ goals to bring his total for the season up to 35, exceeding his previous high mark of 34 scored during the season of 1931-32.

His present figure is a modern NHL record, only exceeded by “Cooney” Welland, who, with Boston, in 1929-30 netted 43 goals. But the puck carrier did not have to cross the blue line first when Welland made his mark and the offside rules over the blue lines were not so rigidly enforced.

In addition to his scoring feat, Conacher thrilled the crowd by a three minute exhibition of goalkeeping in the third period that had the customers cheering frantically. Conacher was subbing for George Hainsworth, who had to go off for repairs when struck with a puck over the left eye. Hainsworth’s injury necessitated two stitches, and while he was being patched up in the dressing room, Conacher, armed only with the goalkeeper’s broad bladed stick and disdaining any other protection, held off the Canadiens. The visitors tried hard to score, but a vigorous backchecking team in front of Conacher and his alertness in the net kept them from getting any goals. They only needed one at that time to tie the score. Conacher stopped four shots in all, two of them difficult ones, and the crowd shrieked with delight and cheered him to the echo as he busily turned the puck aside each time it came his way.

Conacher also played on the Leafs’ defence for a time in the opening period. “Red” Horner was not in the lineup, being kept out with a charley horse that is still a little troublesome, but not likely to keep him out of the playoff games against Boston. It was while he was playing a defensive position and the Leafs were shorthanded, as Clancy was serving the only penalty of the game, that Conacher scored the first of his three goals. Stopping a Canadiens’ ganging attack at the Toronto blue line, Charlie dashed away, shook off an opponent who tried to check him from behind, and cleverly drew Wilfred Cude out of the net and shoved the puck in.

Conacher’s second goal was also scored in the first period, assists going to Jackson and Clancy. Conacher picked up a pass from Jackson after Clancy had carried the puck down. Cude stopped Charlie’s shot, but Conacher picked up the rebound, circled behind the net, and lashed the puck in from the opposite side so quickly that Cude was unprepared for the move, and was caught out of position.

The third Conacher goal was scored in the second period, and was another spectacular play. Charlie accepted a pass from Primeau, and when Cude blocked his shot he rapped the rebound back at him so quickly, the goalkeeper again could not make a move to block it. Cude, however, stopped several other dangerous shots from the Leafs’ leading sniper, robbing him of enough goals to have given Conacher a game scoring record that would have been remarkable.

The clever net guardian of the Canadiens was brilliant against other members of the Toronto team. Twice he saved on shots from Joe Primeau when the latter was right in front of the goal, and appeared to have the goalkeeper at his mercy. Boll, Thoms, Jackson and others suffered from the good work of the visiting netman.

Hec Kilrea and Bill Thoms were the other Leaf scorers. Kilrea fooled Cude with a backhand shot from twenty feet out in the second period, but the goalkeeper’s view of the puck was partially blocked by a teammate who skated in front of the net. Thoms’ goal was the final one of the game. He stickhandled his way through the Canadiens and even tricked Cude out of the net to go around him and park the rubber in the empty cage. It was a smart play.

The game did not produce any bodychecking, but it was fast and “peppy,” and the spectators appeared to enjoy it immensely. Play was inclined to slow down in the last period, owing to the fast pace of the first two sessions, but Conacher’s showmanship saved it. Hainsworth’s injury was not a serious one, and the visitors did not score on him after he returned to the ice.

The Canadiens’ goals were scored by Goldsworthy, Larochelle and McGill. Hainsworth was injured on McGill’s goal. The visitors tried hard, but the Leafs were too clever on the attack for them, and also the Toronto players backchecked freely.

Strangely enough, the only weak player in the Toronto lineup was Harvey Jackson, who seemed unable to do anything right. He missed frequent passes, failed to get any speed on his shots, and otherwise played as though he was just a raw recruit breaking in. It was as much an off night for Jackson as it was a perfect night for Conacher.

Story originally published in The Globe, March 18, 1935

1st Period
TOR PEN – 06:00 – Clancy
TOR SH GOAL – 06:35 – Conacher
TOR GOAL – 15:25 – Conacher (Clancy, Jackson)

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 07:06 – Goldsworthy (Jenkins)

TOR GOAL – 11:40 – Kilrea (Clancy)
MTL GOAL – 15:18 – Larochelle (Joliat)
TOR GOAL – 17:32 – Conacher (Primeau)

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 07:30 – McGill (Riley, Crutchfield)

TOR GOAL – 10:57 – Thoms (Kilrea)

TOR – Hainsworth (W, 32-35), Conacher (4-4)
MTL – Cude (L, 49-54)

TOR – 19+17+18 = 54
MTL – 8+12+19 = 39

TORGoaltenders: George Hainsworth. Defence: King Clancy, Hap Day (C), Flash Hollett. Forwards: Andy Blair, Buzz Boll, Charlie Conacher, Baldy Cotton, Frank Finnigan, Busher Jackson, Pep Kelly, Hec Kilrea, Joe Primeau, Bill Thoms.
MTLGoaltenders: Wilf Cude. Defence: Gerry Carson, Georges Mantha, Sylvio Mantha (C), Tony Savage. Forwards: Nels Crutchfield, Leroy Goldsworthy, Roger Jenkins, Aurèle Joliat, Wildor Larochelle, Pit Lépine, Jack McGill, Armand Mondou, Jack Riley.

TOR – 29-14-4 (.660)
MTL – 19-21-6 (.478)