Game 336 – Maple Leafs 1, Canadiens 1

Game 336
Maple Leafs 1, Canadiens 1
Wednesday, December 29, 1954
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

“Rocket” Richard’s 401st National Hockey League goal earned the Montréal Canadiens a 1-1 tie with the Maple Leafs last night, before the fiery “Rocket” exploded into a berserk figure.

During a brawl with utility centre Bob Bailey in the closing minutes, Richard three times had to be prevented forcibly from attacking the Leaf with his stick. He twice cuffed restraining linesman George Hayes on the face in a fracas that lasted nearly 10 minutes.

There wasn’t a hint of the wild scenes to follow when one of the game’s greatest players shot the goal that was thrillingly typical of some of his most dazzling. He scored in the closing minute of the opening period, and the game was halfway through when Eric Nesterenko finished off a picture play with skipper Ted Kennedy and Sid Smith.

Then, with five minutes of a tremendous game remaining, Bailey boarded “The Rocket” hard. Richard arose as play progressed and charged across the ice, straight at the 193 pounder.

They hit together hard and two of Bailey’s teeth were knocked out by Richard’s stick. In addition, he suffered a welt down the side of his face and neck. They fell to the ice, with Bailey atop, punching and clawing at “The Rocket”‘s face. Bailey too was as a wild man.

With the largest Gardens gathering of the season – 14,051 – in an uproar, Bailey finally was pulled off while suffering a hand cut from Richard’s skate.

“The Rocket” arose, with claw marks about his eyes and forehead. He grabbed at his stick, held by Leafs Jim Thomson and Hugh Bolton, who finally released it. He made for Bailey and was restrained. Released, he raised the stick and skated toward the Leaf again, gesticulating wildly and backhanding Hayes lightly across the face.

Just when it appeared he had been calmed down, he circled away from the linesmen and again approached Bailey with his stick half raised. This time, he slapped the peacemaking Hayes with the glove he held in his hand. Bailey, meanwhile, was being held back too, and when he finally picked up his stick, “The Rocket” apparently had regained some control of himself and skated away.

Both were banished from the game. As they walked toward the dressing room, boss Conn Smythe of the Leafs stood in the hallway and admonished police not to interfere with “the greatest player in the world.” “The Rocket” said something about “this having to happen in Toronto,” and showed Smythe the marks about his eyes.

Referee Red Storey hit Richard with two 10 minute misconduct penalties, plus a major for fighting. Bailey received a fighting major plus one 10 minute misconduct. Referee in chief Carl Voss, who was present, was asked if the misconducts were assessed for the combatants’ refusal to leave the ice when ordered by referee Storey. He replied that reasons for misconducts never are made public.

Misconduct penalties each carry automatic $25 fines. In addition, Richard’s action in using physical violence against Hayes will be reported to league president Clarence Campbell for possible further action.

The blazing Richard, who had been tendered a tremendous ovation on his goal, was booed just as lustily after his one-man war. It had been a tremendous goal.

Ken Mosdell set it up, dashing down left wing and drawing two Leafs toward him. He passed to Richard, rocketing in from centre. Richard beat goalie Harry Lumley almost on the goal crease, then somersaulted over the fallen netminder. He landed upside down in the back of the net, skates caught high in the mesh.

The Leafs, surging furiously in the second period, had their battling pay off on a three man rush. Smith passed to Kennedy, who fed Nesterenko the puck just before the kid bore down on the defence. Nesterenko rounded Dollard Saint-Laurent and beat Jacques Plante on a close-in drive.

NOTES: It was Richard’s 17th goal this season. He had scored the historic 400th in regular NHL games – not counting playoffs – against Chicago a week ago last Saturday…Nesterenko limped off with recurrence of an ankle injury after being boarded early in the third period. He returned later and left with the team for tonight’s game in Detroit against the Red Wings…The Leafs are two points back of the second place Wings, who were idle last night…Bailey claimed that his hand cut was inflicted when Richard, lying on the ice, kicked at him…Both teams featured sterling blocking of bodies and shots in front of their nets…Defenceman Thomson was a Leaf standout in his greatest display of the season. He was heady and tough…Bailey arrived only the previous day from the American League farm at Pittsburgh as a spell-off centre…Kennedy was terrific, as usual…The Leafs now are winless in their last four games, having tied three and lost one…Plante has been unbeaten in four games since returning from a fractured cheekbone, on three wins and last night’s draw.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 30, 1954

1st Period
TOR PEN – 02:42 – Thomson, tripping
MTL PEN – 06:37 – Johnson, holding
MTL PEN – 09:07 – Olmstead, hooking
MTL PEN – 10:46 – Richard, tripping
TOR PEN – 13:36 – Solinger, tripping
MTL PEN – 16:56 – Mazur, slashing
TOR PEN – 16:56 – Nesterenko, slashing
MTL GOAL – 19:02 – Richard (Mosdell, Harvey)

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 01:34 – Bolton, hooking
MTL PEN – 03:20 – Béliveau, high sticking
TOR PEN – 03:20 – Kennedy, high sticking
TOR GOAL – 10:51 – Nesterenko (Kennedy, Smith)

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 07:11 – Olmstead, fighting major
TOR PEN – 07:11 – Horton, fighting major
MTL PEN – 15:13 – Richard, fighting major + double misconduct
TOR PEN – 15:13 – Bailey, fighting major + misconduct

TOR – Lumley (T, 19-20)
MTL – Plante (T, 32-33)

TOR – 11+9+13 = 33
MTL – 7+7+6 = 20

TORGoaltenders: Harry Lumley. Defence: Hugh Bolton, Larry Cahan, Tim Horton, Jim Morrison, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: George Armstrong, Bob Bailey, Ted Kennedy (C), Joe Klukay, Parker MacDonald, Rudy Migay, Eric Nesterenko, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith, Bob Solinger.
MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Butch Bouchard (C), Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Eddie Mazur, Dollard Saint-Laurent. Forwards: Jean Béliveau, Floyd Curry, Bernie Geoffrion, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Maurice Richard.

TOR – 16-9-10 (.600)
MTL – 21-9-6 (.667)