Game 144 – Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 6

Game 144
Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 6
Thursday, November 18, 1937
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

SOS calls went out from the hockey ship Toronto Leafs this morning, as the crew came home skipper-less after a disastrous voyage through the treacherous ice floes of the Canadiens’ sea in Montréal last night.

These distress calls were picked up by Skipper Powers at Syracuse, and to replace Charlie Conacher, able seaman Ab “Moose” Corrigan, and Murray Armstrong or George Parsons will be added to the Leafian crew, before the boys board the triumphant Boston Bruins’ vessel tomorrow night here.

The addition of two men is made necessary by the heavy road schedule confronting the Irvin Imps next week, when they make a big swing almost around the NHL circuit. Anyway, they have been one man shy of their quota all season.

Last night’s game against the Canadiens was a sweetheart. It had throb and speed, with the high life of swift movement, punctuated by fierce contacts, as well as by some stentorian complaining by Conny Smythe as he saw his players taking two or more penalties for one or none to the Canadiens in the torrid tilting.

Probably the very fact that your Leafs undertook the duel with Hart’s Canadiens lightly almost proved their undoing. They had been told so often that the Frenchmen are a misfit crew, they believe it. Coach Irvin could not persuade them to take the Habitants seriously.

Before the game was two minutes old, ere the heavier Leafs had settled into stride, Lorrain and the cat-like Gagnon had fled through the defence for two goals, and a soft touch had become magically desperate in the twinkling of an anaemic eye.

That the Leafs were able to overcome that lead and finally come out of it, with a crippled captain and matching goal for goal with their rivals for a 6-6 verdict in overtime, speaks eloquently for their esprit de corps, what is often called “the will to win.”

No team ever gave up more for Toronto, home and beauty. They matched stride for stride with an inspired, galloping crew, and finally had them whipped, backed into their own areas, but still undaunted when the deep boom of the retiring horn sounded “cease firing.”

Your Leafs have now been thoroughly tested, and they assay pure metal with no dross anywhere along the lines. If it is true that only the game fish swims upstream, glance then at the score and you will see where the boys struggled against a whirling current all night long, and three times came back from the beyond of imminent defeat, and kept their escutcheon as unbeaten battlers clean and untarnished.

And for the six goals secured to hold the Habitants, six of your Leafs played stellar roles. They would not be downed by the buffets of fate, and their fight to get back to even terms was a thrilling saga of physical and moral beauty.

Especially was this demonstrate after Conacher had been flung into the discard. Certainly the record of this man’s ice misfortunes in his nine major seasons is one of almost continuous unrest. As the Chinese say, he has a bad joss.

Last night, toward the close of the second period and with the score 3-3, Chuck led a furious attack on Wilfrid Cude. As he reached the goal, he swerved across the nets to entice Cude out before the final flip of the puck.

As he manoeuvred, with only a second of time remaining, he was hit hard from behind, and he pitched headlong. He tried to swing is big frame aside to avoid the already horizontal Cude, and by doing so, his right shoulder crashed into the goal post.

The puck lay doggo on the ice a few feet out. Boll rushed in fast and slammed it in, along with the fallen Conacher and Cude. As he struck, the lights went on, time was up. It was no goal. It might have been the winning one.

Conacher sat in his dressing room, the picture of a giant agonized. His face streamed with the sweat of his tragic letdown. Clancy, hovering near, rushed for a doctor, who strapped up the arm and took him away for a quick X-ray.

Conacher caught the train home, but without definite word of the extent of his hurt. The pictures, still wet, were not clear, but the expert said there did not appear to be either a break or dislocation. He will undergo further examination today. At any rate, he is out for a week or more.

His was the only Leaf injury, but Joliat, injured in a collision with Boll, for which the Buzzer picked up a five minute rest, was clipped on the chin by Buzzer’s angry elbow, and stitches were put in the Joliat head when he crashed the back of it on the ice. He was out for most of the game.

Penalties to Chamberlain and Davidson aroused the ire of the Leafs shortly after Gagnon and Lorrain burst through for surprising early minute goals. Boll got one back just before time.

In the second, Apps sifted through to tie the score. Then Boll drew his major, and the Canadiens buzzed around Broda like swarming bees. MacKenzie drew two minutes for the first French reverse. Haynes got through for a cross shot, and the Leafs were down again. Kelly, playing one of his best games of the year, put them on even terms again.

In the third, Haynes sneaked through for a fourth, and Blake put the flying froggies two up. The Leafs were forced to break up their lines to replace Conacher. Metz, Apps, Thoms and Boll divided these duties.

Well into the third, Horner dumped a puck behind Cude. Desilets countered that with the Canucks’ sixth.

“We can’t let them beat us now,” the Leafs kept crying, and they rushed so desperately that the Canadiens resorted to flinging the puck far up the ice at each chance. Siebert, who played a grand game, was a master tactician then.

The thrusts of the Leafs could not be halted. Apps, Jackson and Drillon kept ripping holes in the enemy line until Cude was dancing like a mad marionette. Finally Drillon golfed the puck. It zoomed into the air, described a parabola, and dropped into the net behind three agitated crimson forms.

Only a miracle could save the Leafs from their first defeat then, as but a few seconds of play remained. Back came the same dauntless trio. This time, it was the stick of the Busher that swept your Leafs into momentary paradise. Busher slammed at the puck and it rocketed into the air, through protesting forms and into the twine.

It was such a spectacular and such an unexpected reversal of what appeared to be written for the customers, that the crowd in murderers row, who had been screaming like damned souls for their favourites, reversed themselves and started cheering for a dauntless, stricken crew that would not concede defeat.

The overtime period was anticlimactical. Both clubs had shot their bolts. In a game, however, where all the Leafs starred, the playing of Thoms, Kelly and Reg Hamilton was phenomenal.

Story originally published in The Toronto Daily Star, November 19, 1937

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 00:42 – Lorrain (Mantha, Mondou)
MTL GOAL – 03:46 – Gagnon (Haynes)
TOR GOAL – 19:01 – Boll (Conacher, Thoms)
TOR PENS – Chamberlain, Davidson

2nd Period
TOR PP GOAL – 10:55 – Apps (Jackson, Fowler)
MTL GOAL – 12:30 – Haynes (Lorrain, Drouin)
TOR GOAL – 14:29 – Kelly (Metz)
MTL PENS – Lorrain, MacKenzie
TOR PENS – Boll (major), Fowler

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 05:37 – Haynes (Drouin, Gagnon)
MTL GOAL – 09:08 – Blake
TOR GOAL – 12:14 – Horner (Kelly, Thoms)
MTL GOAL – 13:41 – Desilets (Buswell, Blake)
TOR PP GOAL – 15:26 – Drillon (Davidson)
TOR GOAL – 19:54 – Jackson (Apps, Drillon)
MTL PEN – Buswell


MTL – Cude (T)
TOR – Broda (T)

MTLGoaltenders: Wilf Cude. Defence: Walter Buswell, Red Goupille, Bill MacKenzie, Georges Mantha. Forwards: Toe Blake, Joffre Desilets, Polly Drouin, Johnny Gagnon, Paul Haynes, Aurèle Joliat, Pit Lépine, Rod Lorrain, Armand Mondou, Babe Siebert (C).
TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Jimmy Fowler, Reg Hamilton, Red Horner. Forwards: Syl Apps, Buzz Boll, Murph Chamberlain, Charlie Conacher (C), Bob Davidson, Gordie Drillon, Busher Jackson, Pep Kelly, Nick Metz, Bill Thoms.

MTL – 1-2-2 (.400)
TOR – 2-0-3 (.700)