Skip to main content

Stanley Cup Flashbacks: 1931: OT Hero Gardiner Can't Ground Flying Frenchmen

The year in 1931. The Montreal Canadiens are defending Stanley Cup champions are flying higher than ever. They are heavy favorites to repeat as title holders, facing the Chicago Black Hawks, who entered their first Stanley Cup finals.

The Canadiens were loaded, with the likes of Howie Morenz, Aurel Joliat and Sylvio Mantha, but it is Johnny "Black Cat" Gagnon who would be the scoring hero this spring. In ten games he had 6 goals, 4 of which were important first goals, and 4 of which were power play goals. Gagnon stepped it up in the finals, scoring four goals in the last three games against Chicago including the Stanley Cup game winner in game five.

Goalie George Hainsworth is back, but he would play the final series in the shadow of the goalie at the other end of the rink.

Chicago goalie Charlie Gardiner surprised many when he was able to force the Canadiens to go the distance and play in the decisive game five. But in essence Gardiner faced the Canadiens high scorers for more than 5 games, as his two finals victories came in long overtimes.

The first came in game 2 in Chicago, in front of a NHL record 18,000 fans. The Hawks, who also featured Johnny Gottselig, Mush March, and Taffy Abel, tied the series at 1-1 with a 3-2 double overtime victory.

The next game saw the Hawks take a stranglehold on the series, taking a 2-1 lead thanks to a triple overtime victory in Montreal! Cy Wentworth scored the goal.

Led by Gagnon's goal scoring heroics, the Canadiens came back and took the series in 5 games.


Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M