Game 146 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2

Game 146
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2
Thursday, December 16, 1937
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Toronto Maple Leafs came back to form tonight with a decisive 4-2 win over Les Canadiens. Charlie Conacher led the Leafs’ attack on the Flying Frenchmen, who were well outflown, by netting two goals.

Little Aurèle Joliat got both the losers’ goals. Red Horner and Nick Metz were the other successful marksmen on a Toronto team that had a huge, but non-prolific, edge in the first period, then weakened in the second session, but came back in smashing style in the final period.

Play was extremely clean, and only two minor penalties, one to each team, were dished out. The big star of the game was goaler Wilf Cude of the Canadiens, who saved his team from a top-heavy defeat.

The Toronto team got mad all over again when they arrived in from Boston this morning and discovered that the newspaper trading epidemic still was following them. A local paper had Tommy Gorman, the Maroons’ boss, saying he refused to consider trading Maurice Croghan, a defenceman who is very fresh from the amateur ranks, for Nick Metz, the Leaf left winger. This was news to officials of both clubs supposedly concerned, and it was also a good laugh from a Toronto standpoint. If the Leafs win tonight, it will be possible for them to be back in first place by Saturday night, but if they lose again there is also a possibility that they will eat their Christmas dinners in the solitary confinement of the section’s basement.

The Leafs got what should be a real break tonight when Canadiens management announced that Georges Mantha, their high scorer, would not be able to play. Injured in Tuesday’s game, Mantha is said to have a chipped foot bone and wrenched ligaments in his side.

On the Leafs’ second rush at 1:03, Boll fed a pass to Conacher in the clear, where the big boy could really wind up. Chuck’s terrific shot got away from Cude and snuggled in the strings, while the slim crowd of only about 3,500 groaned in two languages.

The Leafs continued to outskate their opponents, and Apps was outlucked when his close-in shot hit a goalpost at about the seven minute stage. So far, the Habitants had not worked in to threaten Broda’s cage. Metz nearly clicked on another goalmouth assault, and then Drouin was skated off wide, and his shot also was wide when the Montréalers staged their first three man swoop.

The Leafs continued to skate in on Cude, and they should have had some more goals that might come in handy later on. But they blew some shots, and were robbed at other times by the agile Cude. The Canadiens pepped up a bit to provide Broda with a little work toward the end of a very one-sided period, that can hardly be depicted in terms of a mere 1 to 0 score. Play was fast, very clean and minus penalties.

The Busher waltzed right in on the Leafs’ opening rush in the second period, but once again a sweet chance went wrong when he pumped his shot into Cude’s pads. It began to look as if the Torontonians were blowing too many opportunities. But they certainly were skating more like their old selves.

The Canadiens’ break came at only 3:15, when some sloppy clearing behind the Leafs’ net allowed Haynes to get the puck on the right boards, and his wide pass was slapped home by Joliat, who had cruised in front of the net. Gagnon was given a mysterious assist.

That seemed to send the Leafs back into their “goofy” style of recent games, and for some time they couldn’t get the rubber over their own blue line. Then Chamberlain drew a tripping penalty and increased the tension. He had just returned when Buswell was thumbed for tripping Jackson.

The Leafs rained rubber around Cude, but could not beat the starry netminder. Then Metz centred a three man rush that swept in unmolested, only to have his wicked backhander blocked by the slender Welshman. The Canadiens’ forwards were doing a poor job of backchecking, and Cude was bawling them out as the period ended.

After the teams had sparred for a while, Apps nearly cashed a beautiful rush. Then back came old Red Horner, leading a three man break with Boll and Thoms. A neat passing bout ended when Horner dumped the disc behind Cude to put the Leafs ahead at 5:24. And in just over a minute more, Thoms and Conacher swept through the Canadien defence, and Big Chuck made no mistake when he got Thoms’ short pass near a goalpost.

With ten minutes to go, the Canucks began to use five-man ganging, and at 11:52 Joliat got his second goal to cut the Leafs’ margin to 3-2. Haynes passed out from a corner, and Joliat made a quick jab shot that connected before Broda could move. Gagnon also figured in the play.

Conacher once more netted the puck, but the play was called back for a very close offside. Thoms had to leave the game limping.

The Canadiens continued to do plenty of dangerous ganging. With less than a minute to go, Metz got away from the pressure after taking the puck from Gagnon, and went in to pull Cude out and score the clincher after getting Kelly’s pass. The time was 19:16.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 17, 1937

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 01:03 – Conacher (Boll)

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 03:15 – Joliat (Haynes, Gagnon)

TOR PEN – Chamberlain
MTL PEN – Buswell

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 05:24 – Horner (Boll, Thoms)
TOR GOAL – 06:34 – Conacher (Thoms)
MTL GOAL – 11:52 – Joliat (Haynes, Gagnon)
TOR GOAL – 19:16 – Metz (Kelly)

TOR – Broda (W)
MTL – Cude (L)

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, George Parsons, Bill Thoms.
MTLGoaltenders: Wilf Cude. Defence: Marty Burke, Walter Buswell, Red Goupille. Forwards: Toe Blake, George Brown, Polly Drouin, Johnny Gagnon, Paul Haynes, Aurèle Joliat, Pit Lépine, Rod Lorrain, Gus Mancuso, Babe Siebert (C).

TOR – 6-4-4 (.571)
MTL – 6-4-5 (.567)