Game 174 – Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 1

Game 174
Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 1
Thursday, February 20, 1941
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

After sessions of science, speed and skill against the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins in recent dates, the Toronto Leafs ran the gauntlet of scrambled ears, sharp elbows, robust slashing and old fashioned shinny to regain the National Hockey League leadership here Thursday night. A 2-1 win over the Montréal Canadiens turned the trick.

Nick Metz caromed a shot off goaler Bert Gardiner’s shoulder for the winning score midway through the third period of a rough and tumble offering of the world’s fastest sport.

Victory hauled the Leafs into a first place spot they had yielded to the Boston Bruins a week ago Tuesday. On that date, the Bruins shunted the Leafs out of the leadership for the first time this winter by routing the Detroit Red Wings 4-0, as part of the still unbroken 22 game string.

Charlie Sands, one of pro hockey’s better known travellers, who included the Toronto Leafs’ headquarters as a port of call, rocketed into the limelight with the only Canadien goal midway through the first period. Charlie broke away from a Leaf ganging attack just after Red Goupille had been herded to the penalty box. Syl Apps was between Sands and the Toronto nets, and tried to check the fast skating Montréaler, but Charlie cut sharply inside of him, and Broda had no chance on the finishing shot.

Dave Schriner was back with the tying goal five minutes later, when he sailed in from the left boards to catch up with a long forward pass swung from the centre ice area by Billy Taylor. Portland tried to shift to meet hockey’s number one comeback guy, but the best Collingwood Jack could do was help Gardiner pick the puck out of the nets where Sweeney parked it. The goal was the twenty first of the season for the NHL’s leading goal getter.

Chamberlain and Davidson were in the penalty box when Schriner went on his big excursion.

The winning goal by Nick Metz was the outcome of a five man passing circus presented by the Leafs inside the Montréal defence zone while Getliffe was in the penalty box. Bob Davidson, playing his greatest game of the winter, was the leader in the attack. He moved in from right wing with the puck and was steered behind the nets, but not before dropping a goalmouth pass to Drillon. As Drillon shot, Goupille and Chamberlain mowed him down. Metz dug the puck out of the sprawling pack. His shot hit Gardiner on the shoulder and hopped into the twine. It was the eleventh goal of the season for Nicholas.

The three goals were the punctuation marks in a game viewed by a crowd of 10,656 with only spasmodic enthusiasm. Apparently bent on hammering the Leafs into submission after losing six games to them this winter and tying another, the Canadiens whacked and slashed and bumped their way through the 60 minutes. They served 14 minutes in penalties, scant enough punishment for their jolting. The Leafs spent 8 minutes on the sidelines.

The Leafs were playing their fourth game in six days, and they had to win three of them and tie another to complete their climb back to first place.

Gus Marker showed in action for the first time in weeks, working in a Leaf power play in the first period.

The most aggressive of the leg-weary Leafs was Bob Davidson, toiling on the third line with Langelle and Heron. He seemed to thrive on the jolting and jostling, and he carried the puck more effectively than in any game this season.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 21, 1941

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 05:10 – Schriner (Taylor, McDonald)
MTL SH GOAL – 10:42 – Sands (Reardon)

TOR PEN – Davidson
MTL PENS – Goupille (2), Chamberlain

2nd Period
TOR PENS – Hamilton, Taylor
MTL PEN – Portland

3rd Period
TOR PP GOAL – 11:17 – N. Metz (Davidson, Drillon)
TOR PENS- Kampman
MTL PENS – Getliffe, Graboski, Portland

TOR – Broda (W)
MTL – Gardiner (L)

TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Reg Hamilton, Bingo Kampman, Bucko McDonald, Wally Stanowski. Forwards: Syl Apps (C), Bob Davidson, Gordie Drillon, Red Heron, Pete Langelle, Gus Marker, Don Metz, Nick Metz, Sweeney Schriner, Billy Taylor.
MTLGoaltenders: Bert Gardiner. Defence: Red Goupille, Georges Mantha, Jack Portland, Ken Reardon. Forwards: John Adams, Joe Benoit, Toe Blake (C), Murph Chamberlain, Ray Getliffe, Tony Graboski, Elmer Lach, Jim O’Neil, John Quilty, Charlie Sands.

TOR – 24-10-4 (.684)
MTL – 12-22-6 (.375)