Game 173 – Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 2

Game 173
Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 2
Saturday, January 25, 1941
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Answering the challenge of a victory hungry band of Montréal Canadiens with one of the most courageous displays of dogged determination mustered by a Toronto team in many seasons, the limping Leafs rallied to gain a 2-2 overtime tie with the Montréalers at Maple Leaf Gardens Saturday night.

The Leafs spotted the Canadiens two goals in the first period and came back in the second to tie them, as a result of two glittering individual efforts by Dave Schriner and Walter Stanowski. The teams fought through a scoreless third period and overtime.

A crowd of 11,843 saw the rival goaltenders, Bert Gardiner and Turk Broda, as headliners in a game that was a battle of elbows and knees and wrestling holds, as well as puck chasing. It was as spirited a contest as offered on Toronto ice this season.

Not only did the Leafs spot the referee squawking Canadiens two goals in the first period, but they practically shelved their two ace sharpshooters and still gained the deadlock. Gord Drillon, the sniping right winger, crashed into the boards early in the second period and wrenched his right shoulder. He returned to action in the third period with the shoulder wrapped in tape, absorbed several punishing jolts from Montréalers, and was out on his feet at the finish. He did not make the Sunday trip to Detroit because of the injury.

Dave Schriner, the playmaking left winger, operated under physical strain all evening and was able to appear for only brief stretches. He received a groin injury in a game against the Canadiens in Montréal on Thursday night. He played no more than ten minutes Saturday, but it was long enough to contribute the first of the two Toronto goals in the second period. Schriner made the trip to Detroit.

After Drillon’s second period injury, manager Connie Smythe long-distanced Pittsburgh and arranged to have right winger Normie Mann of Providence join the Leafs in Detroit. Mann met the Leafs Sunday morning.

Tony Demers and Polly Drouin potted first period goals to give the Canadiens a 2-0 margin in Saturday’s game. The goals were only 27 seconds apart. Elmer Lach combined with Demers for the first score. Demers started the play from his own defence zone. He relayed a pass to Lach on right wing at the Toronto blueline. Lach returned the puck to Demers at the defence, and Tony beat Broda with a wicked drive from twenty five feet out. Drouin slapped home a rebound of Ray Getliffe’s shot to make it 2-0. Broda blocked Getliffe’s drive, but the puck landed in the goalmouth. Drouin darted in from the side to put the finishing touch to the play.

The second period was 8:14 minutes old when Schriner cut loose with his sparkling goal effort. He picked up the puck at his own defence and started his zig-zagging journey. He sidestepped one Montréaler before getting out of his own zone. In centre ice, he weaved his way past two more defenders. Snaking his way over to left wing, he swung around Red Goupille, cut in sharply toward the Montréal cage, and finished the masterpiece with a shot that had Gardiner beaten all the way.

It was one of the smoothest pieces of individual hockey of the winter. It was Schriner’s sixteenth goal in his spectacular comeback season, and his sixth goal in the last five games against the Canadiens. Consider also that he was a mighty sick puckchaser, playing mostly on nerve, and you have a fair idea of the courage Dave had to muster for his solo effort.

Wally Stanowski found inspiration in Schriner’s solo flight less than two minutes later. It was a characteristic Stanowski drive down right wing, around defenceman Graboski, with a finishing shot that goalie Gardiner couldn’t handle.

With less than two minutes to play in the overtime, Syl Apps set up a pass in front of the Montréal net for Reg Hamilton, and it looked like a game winning thrust, but Gardiner managed some black magic manoeuvre to block the shot with his left arm.

Tempers flared frequently during the contest, but the athletes restricted their scuffling to a series of elbow jabbing and wrestling matches. Kampman and Benoit put on the best of the grapple bouts, with Davidson and Goupille in the semi-windup.

A scrappy Montréal team outplayed and outscored the Leafs in the first period, and outplayed them again in the third period, but couldn’t break down Broda’s resistance.

Because of the injury to Drillon, and Schriner’s inability to play in action for more than brief stretches, coach Day had to toss out his forwards in a dozen makeshift formations. Red Heron saw more action than in any game this winter. Billy Taylor and Syl Apps did double duty at centre in the rapidly shifting combinations.

With both clubs playing wide open hockey, and none too much backchecking on either side, the rival netminders had plenty to do. Between them, Broda and Gardiner presented a classy display of puck stopping to beat off the goal hunters.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, January 27, 1941

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 00:26 – Drouin (Getliffe, Sands)
MTL GOAL – 15:44 – Demers (Lach)

TOR PENS – Chisholm, Davidson, Heron, Kampman, McDonald
MTL PEN – Benoit, Demers, Getliffe, Goupille, Lach

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 01:44 – Stanowski
TOR GOAL – 08:14 – Schriner (Taylor)
TOR PEN – Kampman
MTL PEN – Goupille

3rd Period


TOR – Broda (T)
MTL – Gardiner (T)

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

TOR – 18-8-3 (.672)
MTL – 10-16-4 (.400)