Thursday, May 2, 2013

Boston and Toronto: The First Series

After joining the National Hockey League in 1924-25, the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs didn't meet in a playoff series until 1932-33.

Game one of their semi-final match-up was played on March 25, 1933, at Boston Garden.

In a closely played contest, Boston's Marty Barry emerged as the local hero, when he scored the overtime winner against Toronto's Lorne Chabot. Boston defeated Toronto 2-1.

Looking to gain a split in Boston, the Maple Leafs had a huge challenge in front of them, as they hadn't won on Bruins ice in four years.

Once again, overtime was needed as neither team scored in regulation time.

With Bruin George Owen in the penalty box for tripping, Toronto's Kid Line of Joe Primeau, Harvey Jackson, and Charlie Conacher, set out to tie-up the series. They were joined by Hap Day and Bill Thoms.

"Day passed the puck out of the corner to Thoms," noted The Globe when describing how the overtime winning goal started. "Thompson (Bruins goalie Tiny Thompson) stopped Thoms shot, but Jackson was there to ram the rebound back at him and the puck glanced into the net off the goalers pad."

The overtime trend continued when the best-of-five showdown shifted to Maple Leaf Gardens for game three on March 30.

Following a scoreless first period, Boston's Nelson Stewart gave his team a one goal edge. Toronto's Ken Doraty set the stage for extra-time with his goal at the 13:34 mark of the final frame. Eddie Shore scored in overtime to give the visitors a 2-1 series advantage. Shore's goal came at 4:24 of  OT.

For one Leaf, Shore's winner only added to the pain and misery he was already feeling.

"At 6 o'clock last night Joe Primeau developed a case of blood poisoning from an infected foot," reported The Globe. "...Despite the advice of Dr. Rush...he insisted on going into the game."

Unable to perform in game four on April 1, Joe Primeau's absence served as a rallying-call for his teammates.

Although the Leafs fell behind early in period one, they went into the intermission with a 2-1 lead. Goals by Charlie Sands and Busher Jackson accounted for the Leaf scoring. Toronto would add three more tallies over the remaining forty-minutes and skated to a 5-3 win.

A deciding contest was held on April 3 at Toronto.

To the surprise of no one, Toronto and Boston engaged in another defensive battle from start to finish in game five. After going scoreless over sixty-minutes, the two teams began a stretch of six overtime periods. There was even talk of flipping-a-coin to decide who would advance and play the New York Rangers in the next round. This all came about after eight periods were completed. But league president, Frank Calder, wanted no part of this new procedure for selecting a winner.

In a scoring summary published in The Toronto Daily Star, one statistic stands out for its sheer size. It credits the Leafs with 114 shots on net, and the Bruins with 93.

Out of all these blasts, only one found the back of the net.

Lou Marsh, the legendary sports editor of The Star, captured what happened after Toronto's Andy Blair took the puck away from Bruin defenceman Eddie Shore.

"Suddenly Blair reaches out with a stick that seems as long as a fishing pole...hooks the puck away just inside the blue line. Down the right boards comes the smallest man on the ice...the lightest and tiniest man in that grim struggle...Blair shoots the puck back of leg weary Shore as Doraty comes chop chopping in like a man with club feet...he isn't even a good free skater...but he gets there the strongest man on the ice at the moment."

"Doraty picks the puck up. Doraty shoots! Doraty scores!! He scores!!!"

We can only hope the current Leafs and Bruins provide us with such exciting moments.

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