Game 161 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 0

Game 161
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 0
Saturday, December 9, 1939
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Well beaten at their own game of speed and backchecking, Montréal’s Flying Frenchmen were victims in a forced landing and 3-to-0 defeat on Maple Leaf Gardens ice Saturday night.

An overflow crowd of 13,439, the largest of the local season, saw Toronto’s NHL team more than atone for last Thursday’s setback in Montréal, while handing Les Canadiens their first whitewashing of the campaign, in a contest that provided a little bit of everything. It also was goalie Broda’s fourth shutout triumph.

In maintaining their hold on first place, the Leafs rifled a shot past goalie Bourque in each period. Bob Davidson scored in the first session, Bingo Kampman in the second, and then cherubic Billy Taylor put the icing on the cake in the last one. Some members of each front line and one defenceman figured in the goal-getting operations of the Leafs’ well balanced display.

Stung by Davidson’s goal, which arrived in the fifth minute of play, the Frenchies really opened the speed throttle during all of the very fast initial period. But the Leafs skated stride for stride with their nimble opponents, and also did a grand job of riding them off until near the period’s end, when, with two Leafs and one Canadien in the penalty box, Broda rose up to have his moments of heavy bombing – and also moments of glory – while repeatedly saving the situation. Seldom before had a big crowd given the Turk more rousing ovations for his work.

Davidson’s scoring shot, made just before slipping off balance on left wing after taking Apps’ good pass, eluded Bourque’s desperate kick and bulged the twine low in the cage corner. Les Canadiens showed all of their vaunted speed in the first period, but were unable to shake loose from a Toronto team that once again richly deserved the nickname of “Flying Leafs.”

Right after Sweeney Schriner, who played a great game throughout, had been robbed by a rolling puck in the second minute of the middle period, Kampman looked like a million dollars from Kitchener as he swooped around the Montréalers’ defence with Lex Chisholm’s pass. The barging rearguard cut right across Bourque’s bows, made the twine-tender flop, and then coolly backhanded the rubber high into the hemp. Murph Chamberlain got an assist for starting this raid.

That second goal – and a lot of lusty bodychecking which followed – seemed to take the edge off the Habitants’ steam. The Leafs nearly always appeared to have things under control after that. Toe Blake, Montréal’s ace sniper, never succeeded in getting through the Toronto defence, and more than once was spilled very heavily while trying to hurdle high in the air and be a real Flying Frenchman. An epidemic of penalties to both teams, including one to himself, got the crack left winger so peeved that when Getliffe also was being escorted to the jug by referee Ion, Blake popped off with unwise words to dour Mickey, who promptly added a ten minute misconduct to Toe’s minor. Just before that incident, Church missed a chance to cash Schriner’s perfect pass.

The fans didn’t think much of the Leafs’ ineffective ganging while the Canadiens had two men in the box, but the home team was taking no chances while nursing the two goal lead.

The Canadiens tried power plays in the early part of the final period, but the Leafs’ body work and backchecking constantly took the joie de vivre out of their efforts. Kampman broke away all alone, but missed the net when he had Bourque at his mercy. Then a Marker-to-Taylor-to-Heron counter attack was a beautifully set up play, but Heron was outlucked on his short shot.

After the game had slowed down considerably around the midway mark of the period, the Habitants began to rally and bottle up the Leafs. Taylor put an end to that, by dashing loose with Heron’s pass.

The huge crowd rose to its feet as the experienced and fast Blake swooped back to become the lone safety man blocking the rookie’s path. Right then, “Billy The Kid” climaxed a fine night’s work by eluding Blake’s lunge, and scoring spectacularly while falling to the ice. Taylor wound up in a heap against the end boards, but the red goal light was beaming brightly, and the game was in the bag.

Gagnon of the Canadiens came out of the contest with two stitches in his right ear from a skate cut, and Buswell had old back and shoulder injuries aggravated. Lex Chisholm of the Leafs had a black eye, and was sore from head to foot after pluckily taking a game-long pounding along the right boards. Gordon Drillon’s work was obviously not up to the mark, but in fairness to him, it can be stated he was toiling under a painful physical handicap. Both Drillon and Chisholm are expected to be okay when the Boston Bruins come here Thursday, for what may be another argument over first place.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 11, 1939

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 04:13 – Davidson (Apps)
TOR PENS – Davidson, Horner
MTL PEN – Haynes

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 01:52 – Kampman (Chamberlain, Chisholm)
TOR PENS – Chisholm, Marker
MTL PENS – Blake (minor + game misconduct), Getliffe (2), Drouin

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 11:38 – Taylor (Heron)
TOR PEN – Horner
MTL PEN – Haynes

TOR – Broda (W + SO)
MTL – Bourque (L)

TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Jack Church, Red Horner (C), Bingo Kampman, Bucko McDonald. Forwards: Syl Apps, Murph Chamberlain, Lex Chisholm, Bob Davidson, Gordie Drillon, Red Heron, Pep Kelly, Gus Marker, Sweeney Schriner, Billy Taylor.
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.

TOR – 7-3-2 (.667)
MTL – 6-3-2 (.636)