Game 159 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1

Game 159
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1
Thursday, March 2, 1939
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Montréal Canadiens, playing desperately and effectively to preserve their slender hold on sixth place in the National Hockey League, were successful tonight when they outscored the Toronto Maple Leafs by 3 to 1, for their first home ice win over the Torontonians this season.

The fast and exciting game provided a disastrous climax for the Leafs’ three game road trip this week, because by losing tonight they again passed up a chance to pull up into a third place tie with the New York Amerks, who were beaten in Detroit.

A crowd of 9,200 saw Rod Lorrain shoot the Habitants into a 1-0 lead in the second period. Goals scored rather easily by Louis Trudel and Johnny Gagnon on breakaways from Leafs’ gambling pressure ran the margin to 3-0, before Gus Marker prevented young Claude Bourque from getting a shutout with just over a minute left to play. Bourque played brilliantly throughout, and Broda, in the Leafs’ cage, had little chance on the three shots that beat him. The high speed game was played cleanly, and only three penalties were given.

The Canadiens were able to ice a strengthened lineup, with Cain and Evans coming off the casualty list. Because Busher Jackson rejoined the Leafs for this game, Nick Metz was not put into uniform.

Chamberlain strolled through a wide open Canadien defence on the second rush of the game, but failed to plant the puck behind goalie Bourque.

Horner was thumbed early to the penalty box for tripping Gagnon. Des Smith’s shot that almost bounced off a Leaf’s skates into the cage was the French squad’s only scoring bid before Horner returned. The Leafs then launched a series of quick breaking rushes that had Bourque hopping busily in his hempen net. The first ten minutes saw the Torontonians have quite an edge in the general play, but they could not make it show on the scoreboard.

One of the Leafs’ best chances went when Drillon muffed McDonald’s passout from behind the Canadiens’ cage. Then Bourque checked Apps spectacularly as the Leafs maintained the fast skating pace. Haynes got the gate for tripping Jackson, and the 8,000 fans showered the ice in protest.

The Leafs’ power play turned out to be a candle-power play, for they never got a shot at Bourque. Kampman was penalized for holding soon after Haynes came back. The shorthanded Leafs were lucky when Cain’s short range shot plunked on a goalpost.

The Canadiens secured the upper hand in the early stages of the second period, and Broda had to slide out desperately to foil Smith. Then the goalie dived far across the netmouth to rob Summerhill. So hot was the Frenchmen’s pressure that the Leafs could not work the rubber out of their own ice. The Canadiens kept up the pressure until they scored prettily at 7:02. Cain rode in from the left board with Drouin’s pass. Broda stopped Cain’s shot, but the rebound went out straight to the uncovered Lorrain, who easily flipped it into the open side of the net.

That goal fired the Leafs into staging one of the best looking but unproductive ganging attacks of recent weeks. For over four minutes, they kept the puck in the Canadiens’ defence sector, but could not blink the red light. Bourque got repeated ovations from the fans. The Leafs were still barging into the Canadiens’ area as the period drew to a close, but their combination plays were failing to click.

The Leafs kept driving as the third period got underway, but so far, despite all their pressure, only a few real scoring chances had been created. Drillon was clearly having another off night. Summerhill broke away with only Broda to beat, but could not turn the trick. On the same play, Cain picked up Summerhill’s rebound and also was beaten by the Turk. Cain followed through on his bid, and cut Broda’s chin with his stick. Cain got no penalty, but Broda got a taping up.

The Leafs’ ganging went wrong at 6:10, and Drouin broke loose along the left boards. He fed a pass to Trudel in centre ice, and the latter had an open path before planting a shot high in the strings. Lorrain also got an assist.

The 2-0 score caused the Leafs to gamble wide open with five man power plays, but the Montréalers skated with them at every turn. The count mounted to 3-0 when shifty Johnny Gagnon broke out of a melee in the Canadiens’ defensive zone, and had nobody in his road as he sailed down the ice to drive another shot home at 14:05. Both Blake and Haynes were given assisting.

Bourque was under a rain of rubber in the closing minutes, but he held the fort until 18:53, when, after Romnes and Jackson had carried the puck behind the Canadiens’ cage, Gus Marker rounded a goalpost and hoisted the disc into a net corner.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, March 3, 1939

1st Period
TOR PEN – 01:38 – Horner
MTL PEN – 16:05 – Haynes

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 07:02 – Lorrain (Cain, Drouin)

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 06:10 – Trudel (Drouin, Lorrain)

MTL GOAL – 14:05 – Gagnon (Blake, Haynes)
TOR GOAL – 18:53 – Marker (Romnes, Jackson)

MTL – Bourque (W)
TOR – Broda (L)

MTLGoaltenders: Claude Bourque. Defence: Walter Buswell, Stewart Evans, Des Smith, Cy Wentworth. Forwards: Toe Blake, Herb Cain, Polly Drouin, Johnny Gagnon, Paul Haynes, Rod Lorrain, Armand Mondou, Babe Siebert (C), Bill Summerhill, Lou Trudel.
TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Jimmy Fowler, Reg Hamilton, Red Horner (C), Bingo Kampman, Bucko McDonald. Forwards: Syl Apps, Buzz Boll, Murph Chamberlain, Bob Davidson, Gordie Drillon, Busher Jackson, Pep Kelly, Gus Marker, George Parsons, Doc Romnes.

MTL – 12-22-8 (.381)
TOR – 16-19-8 (.465)