Game 133 – Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 1

Game 133
Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 1
Thursday, February 20, 1936
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

It was “Shareholders’ Night” at Maple Leaf Gardens last evening, and Conn Smythe’s hired help gladdened the hearts of 8,727 “pew holders” by handing the Montréal Canadiens and their fond playoff hopes to a 2 to 1 setback.

The victory, which enabled the Leafs to keep pace with the Montréal Maroons, atoned for two previous surprise reversals received at the hands of the Flying Frenchmen. It was Toronto’s fourth triumph in six starts against the Montréalers this season.

A keenly contested argument, waged on a new and sticky ice surface, the game was settled midway through the final period when “Handy Andy” Blair, on one of his characteristic rushes, left several Frenchmen flatfooted at the blue line and whistled a hard, low shot from the wing, which fooled Wilf “Kid” Cude completely.

Battling on a “slow” sheet of ice, which interfered with the play greatly, as it marred passing plays, the teams adopted a hard, close checking style of game, which oftentimes resembled shinny.

The Leafs were head and shoulders over the Frenchmen, though they garnered only a one goal lead through Bill Thoms in the first period. For the remainder of the affray, however, Toronto met the visitors at their own scrambling game, with the result that the entertainment was very sloppy at times.

Bill Miller, the erstwhile Montréal Maroon and Moncton amateur star, was the Canadiens’ successful sniper, climaxing a brilliant solo effort by beating George Hainsworth cleanly in the early minutes of the middle period.

While it took the players some time to get warmed up to their duties, and play was dull in spots, the game was plenty interesting, and had its exciting moments. Many wild scrambles around the goals brought roars from the crowd, especially in the closing minutes, as the Canadiens pressed in determined fashion in hopes of again tying the score.

Blair’s deciding goal was a gem. Rushing from his own blue line, lanky Andy was confronted by three Canadiens upon reaching the opposing defence. Pivoting sharply in true Blair fashion, he made the Frenchies look very ordinary as they went dashing past him. And it was from a bad angle that he unleashed a shot that caught the lower corner of the cage, much to Cude’s amazement.

Miller’s successful effort for the Habitants was also a “beaut.” Stepping down the right rail alone, the defenceman outguessed the Toronto players completely as he cut sharply in front of the defence and lifted the rubber past Hainsworth.

Thoms caught Cude napping on his quick shot, which gave the Leafs the edge after 7:14 minutes of play in the opening session. Picking up Frankie Finnigan’s pass inside the Canucks’ blue line, the local centre star did not hold on to the puck more than a second as he slapped it truly into the corner, the same spot as Blair’s goal.

With Captain “Happy” Day out of action with a shoulder injury, Horner was back on the Toronto defence. And the big redhead, looking very strange in his football headgear, was right in the thick of the battle. He signalled his return by drawing two penalties.

“Buzz” Boll had hard luck around the net. Twice during the third frame, he was right through on Cude, but drove the puck into the goaler’s pads.

The Canadiens lost an excellent chance to take the lead late in the second period, when “Toe” Blake, Leo Goldsworthy and Sylvio Mantha broke together, with only Blair protecting Hainsworth. The Toronto goaler blocked Goldsworthy’s shot, and then smothered the rebound drive from Mantha.

Fireworks threatened several times. At one time, Paul Drouin and “King” Clancy tussled, but nothing serious resulted. Later they indulged in a heated argument, following another clash.

Jack McGill, the blond haired Canadien winger, was continually in trouble with Toronto players toward the close. Once he came together with “Red” Horner in a wrestling match close to the Toronto net. Shortly afterward, he mixed with Boll, and was quickly called to the bench.

George Hainsworth had a quiet opening period. The Frenchmen tested him on only two occasions, while the Leafs drilled ten shots at Cude, one finding the mark.

Story originally published in The Globe, February 21, 1936

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 07:14 – Thoms (Finnigan)
MTL PEN – McGill

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 03:13 – Miller
TOR PENS – Horner (2)
MTL PEN – Buswell

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 11:29 – Blair
TOR PENS – Clancy, Conacher
MTL PEN – Blake

TOR – Hainsworth (W, 16-17)
MTL – Cude (L, 26-28)

TOR – 9+8+11 = 28
MTL – 2+8+7 = 17

TORGoaltenders: George Hainsworth. Defence: King Clancy, Red Horner. Forwards: Andy Blair, Mickey Blake, Buzz Boll, Charlie Conacher, Bob Davidson, Frank Finnigan, Art Jackson, Busher Jackson, Pep Kelly, Nick Metz, Joe Primeau, Bill Thoms.
MTLGoaltenders: Wilf Cude. Defence: Walter Buswell, Art Lesieur, Sylvio Mantha (C). Forwards: Toe Blake, Joffre Desilets, Polly Drouin, Johnny Gagnon, Leroy Goldsworthy, Paul Haynes, Aurèle Joliat, Jack McGill, Bill Miller, Armand Mondou.

TOR – 17-15-3 (.529)
MTL – 9-18-10 (.378)