Game 160 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1

Game 160
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1
Thursday, December 7, 1939
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The old halcyon days of hockey came back to this city tonight, when an overflow crowd of 11,300 wildly cheering fans saw their surprising Canadiens defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs by 4 to 1, and pull up into a tie with the Leafs for first place in the National Hockey League race.

It was a splendid game, and the Canadiens, by virtue of their better clicking teamwork and speed that matched all that the Leafs could offer, clearly earned their triumph.

Little old Johnny Gagnon, the “Black Cat of Chicoutimi,” paced the Habitants with a two goal display in a game that started out to be rough and scrappy, but tamed down to strictly business in the last two periods. The winners scored in every period, and had run up a 3 to 0 margin in the second stanza, before Drillon connected for Toronto’s only score. Young and Haynes were the Canadiens’ other goal getters.

The Bleu, Blanc and Rouge team fought like desperate men tonight, and Bourque provided them with a wonderful display of netminding. They never ceased in their backchecking, and threw everything they had into their defensive stand when the Leafs bottled them up for most of the hectic third period. Saturday’s game in Toronto between the same teams now shapes up as a natural.

A fast and scrappy first period resulted in one goal being chalked up and seven penalties dished out. Action slowed down only when the teams were shorthanded. After Marker had missed when right in with Horner’s pass in the seventeenth minute, Doug Young broke away on a return rush that caught the Leafs somewhat flatfooted. The big defenceman sailed down to within effective sniping range, then ripped a hard shot home off Broda’s pads.

Checking in the early stages was so rigid that it was fairly late in the period before either goalie had to make a hard save.

The Canadiens’ veteran line of Haynes, Blake and Gagnon lost no time in going to town in the second period. At only 3:20, after Blake stole the puck from Church deep in Toronto ice, a wide pass by Toe to Haynes in the clear did the trick. Right back at 4:03 came the same line on another pall-mall drive that was carried right up to the net before Gagnon beat Broda. Two assists were given on each of these goals.

It took quite a while for the Leafs to get reorganized in the face of the Montréalers’ fast backchecking, but after Marker’s shot had range on a goalpost, Drillon was parked at the cage corner to tip Horner’s fine pass into Bourque’s cage. Red had made a great job of taking the rubber away from two Habitants along the end boards. Horner served the only penalty of a period that saw the Leafs come close several times, but cash their chances just once.

The only goal of the hot third period went the Canadiens’ way, but it did not arrive until the furiously attacking Leafs had spent themselves full out. The Frenchmen refused to crack under Toronto waves that had Bourque diving repeatedly, and the rink in a nearly continuous uproar. After Broda had foiled Trudel’s breakaway, a cheap penalty to Marker took the edge off the Leafs’ driving.

Marker was back on the ice when, on another breakaway, Gagnon took Blake’s pass in the clear to score his second goal. Haynes also got an assist. The Canadiens received a well merited ovation as they left the ice.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 8, 1939

1st Period
TOR PEN – 03:36 – Horner
MTL PEN – 05:01 – Goupille
TOR PEN – 09:30 – McDonald
TOR PEN – 11:00 – Kampman
MTL PEN – 11:30 – Sands
MTL PEN – 16:00 – Goupille
MTL SH GOAL – 17:15 – Young
MTL PEN – 19:59 – Young

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 03:20 – Haynes (Blake, Gagnon)
MTL GOAL – 04:02 – Gagnon (Blake, Haynes)
TOR GOAL – 11:25 – Drillon (Horner)
TOR PEN – 11:46 – Horner

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 15:00 – Marker
MTL GOAL – 18:10 – Gagnon (Blake, Haynes)

MTL – Bourque (W)
TOR – Broda (L)

MTLGoaltenders: Claude Bourque. Defence: Walter Buswell (C), Red Goupille, Georges Mantha, Cy Wentworth, Doug Young. Forwards: Marty Barry, Toe Blake, Polly Drouin, Johnny Gagnon, Ray Getliffe, Paul Haynes, Rod Lorrain, Charlie Sands, Lou Trudel.
TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Jack Church, Red Horner (C), Bingo Kampman, Bucko McDonald. Forwards: Syl Apps, Murph Chamberlain, Lex Chisholm, Bob Davidson, Gordie Drillon, Hank Goldup, Red Heron, Gus Marker, Nick Metz, Sweeney Schriner.

MTL – 6-2-2 (.700)
TOR – 6-3-2 (.636)