Saturday, October 8, 2011

1930, Maple Leafs start the year with 5 shutouts.

Researching Toronto's history of opening night shutouts, I found that the Leafs actually started the 1930/31 season with FIVE consecutive shutouts. This was the last year in the Mutual Street Arena for Toronto before moving the next season to Maple Leaf Gardens. Somewhat strange about the five shutouts is the fact that Toronto alternated goaltenders Lorne Chabot (pictured below) and Benny Grant (above), each taking turns starting games. This was fairly rare in an era when the majority of teams used one goalie for the entire year.

Following are the summaries from the Canadian Press of each of the five games:

Nov.13, 1930
0-0 vs. New York Americans
Lorne Chabot vs. Roy Worters

"The game, played before about 8,000 spectators, was a typical early season exhibition of the popular winter pastime. Neither team showed real form, and as a result the game was somewhat dull. In addition to this the unseasonably warm weather and ultra strict officiating detracted from the game's attractiveness. King Clancy, recently purchased from Ottawa, was the backbone of the Leafs, both offensively and defensively."

Nov.15, 1930
4-0 vs. Philadelphia Quakers
Benny Grant vs. Joe Milller
"Making every post a winning one, Toronot Maple Leafs last night humbled Philadelphia Quakers, in a NHL fixture here. The final score was 4-0, and the Leafs were full value for the victory. The Leafs scored two goals in the first period and two in the second period, but were held scoreless in the final. The first tally of the game came when Red Horner, husky defenceman, took Jackson's pass and drove it into the twine. One and a half minutes later, Primeau scored, and again Jackson figured in the play. Conacher and Jackson combined for the third goal, and then Ace Bailey made it four on Clancy's pass."

Nov.18, 1930
3-0 vs. Montreal Maroons
Lorne Chabot vs. Flat Walsh
"Working like Trojans in front of superb goal-tending by Lorne Chabot, the still undefeated Toronto Maple Leafs took their second victory of the young season by defeating Montreal Maroons three goals to nil. In three games Maroons have not scored a single goal." Leaf goals were tallied by Clancy, Bailey and Horner.

Nov.20, 1930
0-0 vs. New York Americans
Benny Grant vs. Roy Worters
"Eddie Gerard's 'Amazing Amerks' again presented an airtight defensive system to hold the Toronto marksmen scoreless. The game was far from being of a spectacular nature, as the Leafs didn't take many chances either with the Americans adopting Kitty-bar-the-door tactics. It was the second time these teams have played scoreless games and it marked Toronto's fourth game in which the opposition has not tallied a goal against them." Grant made 40 saves while Worters had 36.

Nov.22, 1930
2-0 vs. Ottawa
Chabot vs. Connell
"Playing super-hockey, the Toronto Maple Leafs downed Ottawa Senators 2-0, in a brilliant National Hockey League fixture here Saturday night, registering their fifth straight shutout. The Leafs have won three gamee, tied two and have not had a single goal tallied against them this season. From bell to bell, the two teams struggled at top pace, with both goalies showing brilliantly. Of the two, Connell, of Ottawa, had the much harder evening, and the two goals which did beat him were practically impossible to save." Goals were scored by Cotton and Conacher.

Toronto failed to parlay this terrific start to the year into much success. Although they would finish second to Canadiens in the Canadian Division, they would slip to sixth overall in goals allowed among the ten NHL squads. Leafs would lose to Chicago in the Quarter-Finals that year.

The team that finally did score a goal on Toronto and defeat them for the first time that season....the Quakers of Philadelphia beat them 2-1 on Nov. 25. The Quakers of course were in the midst of the worst season in NHL history and would finish 1930/31 with a 4-36-4 record.






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