Game 337 – Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 2

Game 337
Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 2
Thursday, January 20, 1955
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

“Rocket” Richard had another of his brilliant nights as the Montréal Canadiens walloped the Maple Leafs 6-2 in a National Hockey League game here tonight.

“The Rocket” fired three goals and assisted on a fourth as the Canadiens moved back into a first place tie with the Detroit Red Wings, who dropped a 3-2 decision to the Boston Bruins.

A crowd of 14,299 raised a tremendous uproar as Richard, the NHL’s leading goal-getter of all time and Montréal’s number one citizen and philanthropist, rammed in a 30-foot slap shot early in the third period for his third goal of the game.

That was the 23rd hat trick of “The Rocket”‘s tumultuous career, his 410th goal in the NHL and his 26th of the season. The statistician was unable to recall any other memorable firsts.

Although overshadowed by “The Rocket”‘s performance, Jean Marc Béliveau, another Canadien superstar, tallied twice to raise his season’s total to 26. As a result of tonight’s splurge, Béliveau is tied for the NHL scoring leadership with linemate Bernie Geoffrion, who was merely an also-ran in this game. Calum MacKay, centre on the Canadiens big line with Richard and Bert Olmstead, scored their other goal.

Sid Smith saved the Leafs from a total blackout by scoring his 23rd and 24th goals for the season in the second period. That brought the Leafs from behind a 2-0 deficit, but the Canadiens had little difficulty regaining their lead.

The Canadiens, who were considered to be in a seasonal slump as a result of dropping two games in a row, had it all over the Leafs apart from a brief spell in the second period when the Smith-Ted Kennedy-Eric Nesterenko line had an offensive flurry.

Leafs goalkeeper Harry Lumley, whose Vézina rating took a tumble as a result of the six goals against him, wasn’t to blame for the debacle. It is doubtful if he saw the six goals that were blasted past him.

Richard, who is capable of performing the same local heroics as Stainless Steel, hammered in his first goal at 2:01 of the first period, after Ken Mosdell drifted out a perfect pass from behind the Toronto net.

The Canadiens soared ahead 2-0 early in the second on a goal by Calum MacKay, which Richard set up with a rush into the Toronto zone. MacKay had to take two raps at the puck to drive it past Lumley.

Smith, who hadn’t over-exerted himself in the first period, came back to score a pair of goals from opposite sides of the rink to tie the score for the Leafs.

For his first one, he picked up a pass from Kennedy on left wing near the Montréal blue line, stepped around Harvey and rapped a shot past Jacques Plante’s short side.

Harvey was on the ice again when Smith clicked for number two, but this time the Toronto left wing all star sped down the right wing. Harvey covered him to the boards, but left Sid a bird’s-eye view of the net on the far side. Smith hit it with a backhand shot, on which Plante barely moved.

The Leafs, who had been carrying the play for the first three quarters of the period, fell down badly when Tim Horton drew a questionable tripping penalty at 14:37.

While he was off, Béliveau, who worked as he pleased like a Missouri mule, cashed in a goalmouth relay from Harvey to move the Canadiens back in front.

Shortly before the end of the second period, Richard almost duplicated his first goal when he picked up a back pass from MacKay and rifled a 25-footer past Lumley.

Richard collected his third at 6:18 of the last period, while Leaf Jimmy Thomson was off for hooking. Béliveau won a faceoff from Kennedy, passed back to Doug Harvey, who slipped it to Richard. He slapped it in from 25 feet. Béliveau wound up the scoring for the Canadiens with a 35-foot slap shot.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, January 21, 1955

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 02:01 – Richard (Mosdell, Johnson)
TOR PEN – 02:32 – Migay, hooking
TOR PEN – 04:17 – Sloan, hooking
MTL PEN – 04:39 – Moore, hooking
TOR PEN – 07:35 – Cahan, hooking
MTL PEN – 18:53 – Bouchard, interference

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 02:35 – MacKay (Johnson, Richard)
TOR GOAL – 06:05 – Smith (Kennedy, Morrison)
TOR GOAL – 10:25 – Smith (Kennedy)
TOR PEN – 14:36 – Horton, tripping
MTL PP GOAL – 15:32 – Béliveau (Olmstead, Harvey)
MTL GOAL – 19:23 – Richard (MacKay, Mosdell)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 06:12 – Thomson, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 06:18 – Richard (Harvey, Béliveau)
TOR PEN – 07:26 – MacDonald, hooking
MTL PEN – 08:11 – Mosdell, interference
MTL PEN – 08:14 – Béliveau, slashing
MTL GOAL – 14:23 – Béliveau (Olmstead, Curry)

MTL – Plante (W, 31-33)
TOR – Lumley (L, 25-31)

MTL – 12+12+7 = 31
TOR – 7+12+14 = 33

MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Butch Bouchard (C), Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Dollard Saint-Laurent. Forwards: Jean Béliveau, Floyd Curry, Bernie Geoffrion, Jack LeClair, Calum MacKay, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Maurice Richard.
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.

MTL – 26-12-7 (.656)
TOR – 19-13-14 (.565)