Game 171 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 3 (OT)

Game 171
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 3 (OT)
Tuesday, January 7, 1941
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Your Leafs eked out – and I mean one of those skin of the teeth things – a 4-3 win over the careening Canadiens last night. They conducted this handsome affair before a crowd as flattering as any we turn out at home.

In the patter of cauliflower alley, the joint was packed, many of the faithful stood up to worship, and Ralph Adams, the reformed Torontoite, told us we could score the assist of the year to Dick Irvin for this happy circumstance.

The Canucks fought heroically, and had to come from behind on two occasions to get on even terms.

They’re very hot on Quilty, the boy who Baz O’Meara points to with pride, because they come from the same sandy hill district, I believe, but the rookie centre of the times in my chart is a lusty dancing puck demon whose name is Elmer Lach, pronounced Lock.

The Canadiens are an improved outfit and Lach is the most improved player of the younger set, possibly excepting young Ken Reardon, though he went out of last night’s picture “on the limp.”

“The best team lost,” Dick Irvin told me around midnight in a hot 15 minute speech. That’s Dick, you know, always the hard loser. But strictly between ourselves, and don’t let any of the Gardens directorate overhear us. Dick’s terriers did outfight us perhaps, but they still pay off on goals.

And the stoutest pill of the defence squads – and that goes for both sides – was that happy cookie from down Providence way. Bucko “I’m Not From Fergus” McDonald.

He hit the enemy with everything but Frank Selke, and Selke was mad enough to pitch him out on the ice himself when Lach’s first goal was allowed.

Selke and Hewitson with whom I sat, with Mr. and Mrs. Frank Calder on the other side, putting in the same curious middle position as the Johnson Act, both swore the puck hit the post and not any segment of the Ross net.

When they asked me to confirm this, the Calders had their ears cocked, and I probably lost more face with Toronto opinion because I said I couldn’t see from our centre ice position, so help me, Hannah.

“He’s a courteous old duck,” I heard Calder say, whereupon he introduced me to his wife, so I guess I’m in pretty good on one side, but very bad on the other.

“They stole that goal,” Selke shouted amid the awful din, “and that’s how they got the second one. It’s psychological, that’s what it is.”

“Yes,” said Bobby, scribbling like mad, “I distinctly saw it hit the post and bound away.”

Those two goals of Lach’s looked like the blow that stunned us, because it nullified the earlier efforts of Apps and Schriner, which appeared to put us in the well known clear.

Broda almost tore the wire netting trying to get at the umpire who red-lighted the first Lach volley. He rushed to the bench, said something to Day, and Hap said “send Clancy over.”

“He says it’s a goal,” Clancy barked excitedly, while Hap coldly eyed him, “and anyway you can’t change him.” Hap signalled for Broda to get back to the job and sensibly held his tongue.

All of this except Schriner’s first period goal took place in the third. He scored it from a break with Bucko idling in quod. The game was fast and exciting all the way. Thousands were running high fevers and furiously increasing their blood pressures. Apps reduced this a bit when he slithered a pass across the goal that Drillon converted into a goal, and I swear no other player in the league could have done it half so adroitly.

Portland ruined that by steaming up like the Normandie and warping a pass somehow to Quilty, to the unqualified delight of the crowd, and an older gentleman who came down from Ottawa named “Silver” Quilty.

“I’m partial to that name because the ‘little woman’ wore it until she surrendered away back when. (Personal interjection.)”

So Quilty forced the Leafs into overtime, and Selke into an aside to Calder that he was very glad he is not a league governor, because he would raise merry what-ho if he were. “Big league, my ruddy eye,” he added, glaring heavily at the wired goal umpire.

But all’s swell that ends that way, and when Schriner pushed a puck along the ice that Don Metz fired for the winning goal, all was forgiven.

The best centre we had in uniform, if Mrs. Apps will forgive me for saying so, was “Billy The Kid.” And they worked on him harder than the photographers and the tabs did on that other deb, what was her name? Brenda something or other?

Montréal ice is the fastest in the league. Any player will confirm that assertion, though nobody seems to know why. The Irish would say, “It’s the Eire.” (Pun.)

When Portland drew the first penalty, I wish you could have been here to see the Leafs’ power play. It was superb. They hemmed the enemy back of the line, and fired half a hundred shots at Gardiner. He turned all but the Apps’ blitz aside.

“We can’t play that type of thrust in Toronto,” explained Selke. “The cries of the customers to have our boys shoot, make them forget the finesse, the close passing, that is essential to final success.”

P.S. – You’d have liked Drillon. In a free swinging, go as you please, contest, he and the Metz brothers were almost as uncaring as Bucko.

Story originally published in The Toronto Daily Star, January 8, 1941

1st Period
TOR PP GOAL – 16:33 – Apps (N. Metz, Taylor)
MTL PEN – Portland

2nd Period
TOR PENS – Taylor, McDonald

3rd Period
TOR SH GOAL – 01:12 – Schriner

MTL GOAL – 03:23 – Lach
MTL GOAL – 05:23 – Lach (Goupille, Demers)
TOR GOAL – 08:52 – Drillon (Apps, McDonald)
MTL GOAL – 13:00 – Quilty (Benoit, Portland)
MTL PEN SHOT – Demers stopped

TOR GOAL – 05:23 – D. Metz (Schriner, Hamilton)

TOR – Broda (W)
MTL – Gardiner (L)

TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Reg Hamilton, Bucko McDonald, Wally Stanowski. Forwards: Syl Apps (C), Lex Chisholm, Bob Davidson, Gordie Drillon, Hank Goldup, Red Heron, Pete Langelle, Don Metz, Nick Metz, Sweeney Schriner, Billy Taylor.
MTLGoaltenders: Bert Gardiner. Defence: Red Goupille, Jack Portland, Ken Reardon, Alex Singbush. Forwards: John Adams, Joe Benoit, Toe Blake (C), Murph Chamberlain, Tony Demers, Polly Drouin, Ray Getliffe, Elmer Lach, John Quilty, Charlie Sands.

TOR – 15-7-1 (.674)
MTL – 8-12-3 (.413)