Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 4
Saturday, January 1, 1938
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario
Professional hockey at its crowd-pleasing best – fast, open and outwardly clean – was the New Year treat provided for 13,488 cash customers in Maple Leaf Gardens Saturday night, as the Toronto Maple Leafs strengthened their hold on first place in the NHL’s Canadian section by outscoring Les Canadiens of Montréal 6 to 4.
Ten goals, twenty two scoring points and only five minor penalties of the very minor variety arrived, as the pair of high power sniping teams turned on the action early – and kept it turned on until the final gong rang.
There’s a lot to tell. Let’s get right into it.
The Canadiens outskated the Leafs in the first period, and enjoyed a 1-0 lead when the teams went to their dressing rooms. The goal was a rather messy one, and was the result of poor Leafian work all around. Big Cliff “Red” Goupille, the very promising rookie defenceman of the Flying Frenchmen who later became a casualty, received very little attention on a rush up the left boards, and his pass to Haynes brought a soft score when the latter’s weak backhander wobbled between Broda’s feet. The Canadiens were doing a lot of forechecking to break up the Leafs’ budding attacks in the opening session.
The Leafs got going early in the second period when the Apps, Jackson and Drillon line began to match, and even surpass, the Frenchies’ speed. However, the tying goal did not arrive until the eleven minute mark, when Bill Thoms, who also had found his skating leg, dashed in to push Conacher’s rebound into an empty cage. The net was empty because goaler Cude had gone far out, and had also lost his stick, while trying to clear the rebound of captain Chuck’s long and very hard drive.
That goal threw the puck party more open than ever, and the pace got faster and faster. The Canadiens ganged recklessly, in fact, too recklessly, and the break came at 14:55 when Jimmy Fowler staged what this observer considers to be the best solo play of the season.
Modest and hardworking Jimmy carried Syl Apps’ pass out of his own defence zone, and got loose from the five ganging Frenchmen – although not loose by very far. And, it takes a real skater to stay in front of the pursuing Pea Soups!
Halfway down the ice, the pesky puck began to roll, and everyone who has played hockey knows that the normal thing is for a puck carrier to slow up just a little when this happens. But James never slackened speed while still controlling the rolling rubber in an almost uncanny manner. With hurrying Habitants on his heels, he finished like a master by faking the great Cude into a futile dive – and then accurately and coolly lifting the still rolling puck over him into the twine.
Fowler’s feature play really broke up the ball game, for, although the fleet Frenchmen threatened time after time, they never again succeeded in pulling up level with the Leafs.
Fowler’s play also came close to breaking Red Goupille’s right wrist. The big rearguard, who was one of Jimmy’s pursuers during the long dash, was travelling so fast that he went on past the net and crashed into the end boards. He had to be helped off the ice, and instead of getting back in the game, was shipped to hospital for an X-ray examination. Fortunately, the X-rays revealed only a very bad bone bruise, instead of the feared fracture.
Another aftermath of Fowler’s goal was the belated dishing out of an assist to Syl Apps on the play. This assist, as all who saw the play made will agree, is a definite violation of the rule passed at the recent NHL meeting, whereby an assist cannot be given for a pass behind an imaginary line drawn across centre ice. We should not break that very good and long needed rule right off the bat in Toronto, and furthermore, Apps is too great a player to require gift points. And, why cheapen Fowler’s great solo goal by cutting Apps in for an assist, which counts as much as a goal? You can also bet your Christmas necktie that Apps did not ask for that assist, by Jimminy!
Nick Metz made it 3-1 when he bored in to slap Chamberlain’s rebound over Cude. Kelly also assisted in the three-way play that saw young Murph’s shot knock Cude off balance. But in the dying seconds of the period, the Canadiens struck back for another goal. Rod Lorrain took Polly Drouin’s pass on right wing, and swooped in beautifully to give Broda no chance.
The Leafs outscored their opponents 3 to 2 in the third period, that saw defensive play generally forgotten. Gordon Drillon, the league leading sniper, broke his recent little goal famine around the five minute mark to cash a play built up entirely by the same Jimmy Fowler, who in this writer’s book, was the outstanding lad on the ice. Fowler rushed from behind his own net, and got clear down to the Canadiens’ defence, where he fed Drillon a sweet pass. And the Maritime marksman picked a net corner.
Right after that, Aurèle Joliat accidentally gashed Drillon under the lip, but Gordie, after getting two stitches, came back to the ice and scored the final goal of the night.
After Drillon’s first goal had opened the last period, it was see-saw on goals between the fast moving teams. Twice the Canadiens cut the Leafs’ margin to one, and just as often, the home sextet recaptured their two goal edge.
At 6:57, a wave of Canadiens washed in around Broda’s net, and some smart short passing was ended when old Pit Lépine had time to set himself before whipping a high shot that was in the strings before Broda had a chance to move. Drouin and Mantha assisted.
The big crowd roared with more than usual pleasure when Bob Davidson got that goal back before the halfway stage. Reliable Robert sank Thoms’ pass after the pair of Leafs had broken loose to get around a lone defenceman. It was Davidson’s first goal of the season.
Kampman of the Leafs and Brown of the Canadiens were in the hoosegow when a Leafian rush was trapped, and Blake and Drouin got clear to go in on Broda. Blake did the red light work.
Now, a word or two about Bingo Kampman, the Leafs’ rookie defenceman. He got all of the Toronto team’s penalties – three of ’em – but that was only because Frenchman after Frenchman was taking on the newcomer to see what made him tick. And he handed out more than he got! This observer did not consider that Bingo deserved his third penalty. George Parsons was sent back to Syracuse after the game, but the Bingo boy is being kept right here.
Another goal of the unusual sort completed the prolific scoring at 18:24. Syl Apps, while hemmed in by a wall of Frenchmen, grabbed the puck from a faceoff near the Leafs net and weaved his way magically into the clear by a dazzling display of stickhandling. He fed a pass to Drillon, who had Cude at his mercy – and Drillon showed no mercy.
Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, January 3, 1938
MTL GOAL – 02:44 – Haynes (Goupille)
MTL PEN – 07:30 – Lépine
TOR PEN – 18:10 – Kampman
TOR GOAL – 11:00 – Thoms (Conacher)
TOR GOAL – 14:55 – Fowler (Apps)
TOR GOAL – 16:51 – Metz (Chamberlain, Kelly)
MTL GOAL – 19:24 – Lorrain (Drouin)
TOR GOAL – 05:01 – Drillon (Fowler)
MTL GOAL – 06:57 – Lépine (Drouin, Mantha)
TOR GOAL – 09:23 – Davidson (Thoms)
TOR PEN – 10:33 – Kampman
MTL PP GOAL – 11:50 – Blake (Drouin)
MTL PEN – 14:30 – Brown
TOR PEN – 14:30 – Kampman
TOR GOAL – 18:21 – Drillon (Apps)
TOR – Broda (W)
MTL – Cude (L)
TOR – Goaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Jimmy Fowler, Red Horner, Bingo Kampman. Forwards: Syl Apps, Buzz Boll, Murph Chamberlain, Charlie Conacher (C), Bob Davidson, Gordie Drillon, Busher Jackson, Pep Kelly, Nick Metz, George Parsons, Bill Thoms.
MTL – Goaltenders: Wilf Cude. Defence: Marty Burke, Walter Buswell, Red Goupille, Georges Mantha. Forwards: Toe Blake, George Brown, Polly Drouin, Johnny Gagnon, Paul Haynes, Aurèle Joliat, Pit Lépine, Rod Lorrain, Gus Mancuso, Babe Siebert (C).