Game 131 – Canadiens 7, Maple Leafs 3

Game 131
Canadiens 7, Maple Leafs 3
Saturday, January 11, 1936
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Can you picture the famous Flying Frenchmen of yesteryear – when the great Howie Morenz was at his best and Les Canadiens were perennial pace-setters in professional hockey?

Memories of that outstanding machine were revived at Maple Leaf Gardens on Saturday night, when the Hurtling Habitants of today played like the Hurtling Habitants of old to hand the Maple Leafs one of the most convincing defeats they have suffered on home ice in many moons. The score was 7 to 3.

It was a shocking setback to the Leafs, who had found it comparatively easy sailing in registering three straight victories over the Montréalers in former meetings this season. But it was sweet revenge for the Frenchies, as they jolted the Smythemen out of first place for the first time in more than two seasons.

Some 8,000 fans who attended, confident they would see the Leafs fatten their scoring averages at the expense of the tailenders, were doomed to disappoint when they saw the visitors pile up a four goal lead in the middle period, after a goalless and evenly fought first frame.

And the fighting Frenchmen, flashing worlds of speed and all-round brilliant ability, matched everything the desperate Leafs had to offer in a rousing final twenty minutes, during which each team netted three goals.

The Toronto crowd, ever fair to the opposition, could not help but marvel at this surprising reversal of form. And they gave the Frenchmen every credit, with lusty cheering and encouragement. Perhaps the rejuvenated Canucks were playing a little over their heads on Saturday, but at any rate this inspired performance earned for them a victory, won strictly on its merits.

They say the Leafs never look good after a long layoff such as they experienced before the game. In any event, Dick Irvin’s men were not “clicking” on Saturday. But the pestiferous checking of the Canucks, who gave them little chance to get going, and the superb net display of Wilfred Cude, were probably the big reasons.

Overlooking the fact that Toronto was forced to accept defeat, the game was one of the best witnessed here in a long while, and was thoroughly enjoyed by the crowd. There was plenty of excitement during the goalless first period, action galore in the middle section, and sustained thrills and generally hectic entertainment during the final period. And these Canucks should pack ’em in on their next appearance here.

The winners showed power in all departments, and their goal scoring efforts were well distributed. Probably the highlight of their display was the showing of the “kid” attacking division of Paul Drouin at centre, and Joffre Desilets and Jean Bourcier on the wings.

These youngsters made the Leafs look very ordinary at times. They were ever dangerous on the attack, and had Toronto simply “tied in knots” on occasions with their persistent checking. They fleshed their best form in the second period, when Irvin Frew was serving a penalty for dumping Finnigan.

During the two minute spell, the Leafs, with four forwards out, found it very difficult to get out of their own defence zone. And the “Kids” found that to test George Hainsworth a couple of times, while the Leafs had but one shot on Cude.

The line of Paul Haynes, Georges Mantha and Leo Goldsworthy showed the way in the Canadiens’ victory, accounting for three goals. Goldsworthy, who plays the right boards, set the pace with two and an assist.

It was young Joffre Desilets, the erstwhile Stratford Midgets star, who started the Canucks on their way by slapping home Drouin’s pass at the 6:11 mark of the second period. Goldsworthy and Georges Mantha combined nicely to make it 2-0 some eight minutes later.

A penalty of “Buzz” Boll, for boarding Aurèle Joliat, the midget winger, paved the way for number three, as golden haired Jack McGill took Johnny Gagnon’s pass and outguessed Hainsworth, with Pit Lépine also figuring in the play.

Gagnon had accompanied Boll in the penalty box when Lépine broke clear with only Hainsworth facing to score, and give the visitors a commanding edge.

The Leafs must have received a real “pep” talk at the rest session, for they had determination written all over them when they came out for the final period. And it did not take them long to break the goose egg when Charlie Conacher raced up the right boards and got credit for a goal, after great assistance from Mons. Joliat.

Conacher’s drive was blocked by Cude, but Joliat, seemingly having a mental lapse, smacked the puck cleanly into his own net. Those in close attendance were amazed at this weird effort by the “Mighty Atom.”

Joliat, though, was apparently the most alarmed player in the rink, for he came back to wipe out his mistake just 22 seconds later, when he gathered in “Pit” Lépine’s pass to outguess Hainsworth neatly.

And just 18 seconds after that one, the Canucks rammed in another, much to the consternation of the Toronto players and fans alike. Paul Haynes was on the scoring end this time, with G. Mantha and Goldsworthy drawing down assists, after “fiddling around” in the Toronto defence zone.

Jean Pusie, who played some high class hockey back of the Montréalers’ blue line, was serving a penalty when Toronto got their second. Conacher led a raid on the opposing net, and while his shot soared high above the cage, Bobby Davidson, the useful left wing, came through nicely to slap in the rebound.

The Leafs were pressing hard when Nick Metz rapped their final goal. It was “King” Clancy who led this charge. When forced into a corner, he passed back to Arthur Jackson. The latter snapped a fast one to Metz, who made no mistake from close quarters.

George Hainsworth outguessed himself when the Canucks registered the last goal of the game. He rushed out of his net too soon when Goldsworthy and Haynes broke through, and did not have time to recover as the former’s lazy shot slid slowly into the open cage.

The Toronto defence looked very shaky at times and “Happy” Day’s return to the lineup apparently will be welcomed. The lineup of Metz, Art Jackson and “Pep” Kelly was the best as a unit, while Bill Thoms and Joe Primeau also turned in good efforts. “Chuck” Conacher zipped one of his skates off in the second period, and the change to new blades seemed to handicap him.

The Canucks flashed fine hockey in all departments, with the polished Lépine, Joliat, Gagnon and Georges Mantha showing old time form up front. Manager Sy. Mantha, Buswell, Frew and Pusie were all strong on the defence, while, as related above, the Canadien kids were particularly prominent.

Story originally published in The Globe, January 13, 1936

1st Period
TOR PENS – Blair, Horner

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 00:44 – Lépine
MTL PP GOAL – 03:45 – McGill (Lépine, Gagnon)
MTL GOAL – 06:11 – Goldsworthy (G. Mantha, Haynes)
MTL GOAL – 07:12 – Desilets (Drouin)

MTL PENS – Frew, Gagnon
TOR PENS – Boll, Hollett, Horner

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 00:18 – Haynes (G. Mantha, Goldsworthy)
MTL GOAL – 00:22 – Joliat (Lépine)
TOR PP GOAL – 00:45 – Davidson (Conacher)
TOR GOAL – 03:30 – Metz (A. Jackson, Clancy)
GOAL – 04:25 – Conacher

MTL GOAL – 06:28 – Goldsworthy (Haynes)
MTL PENS – Frew, Pusie

MTL – Cude (W, 36-39)
TOR – Hainsworth (L, 24-31)

MTL – 9+14+8 = 31
TOR – 8+11+20 = 39

MTLGoaltenders: Wilf Cude. Defence: Walter Buswell, Irv Frew, Georges Mantha, Sylvio Mantha (C), Jean Pusie. Forwards: Jean Bourcier, Joffre Desilets, Polly Drouin, Johnny Gagnon, Leroy Goldsworthy, Paul Haynes, Aurèle Joliat, Pit Lépine, Jack McGill.
TORGoaltenders: George Hainsworth. Defence: King Clancy, Flash Hollett, Red Horner. Forwards: Andy Blair, Buzz Boll, Charlie Conacher, Bob Davidson, Frank Finnigan, Art Jackson, Busher Jackson, Pep Kelly, Nick Metz, Joe Primeau, Bill Thoms.

MTL – 5-11-6 (.364)
TOR – 10-7-3 (.575)