Game 339 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2

Game 339
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2
Thursday, February 3, 1955
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Jean Béliveau’s 29th goal of the season broke a 2-2 tie in the third period and gave the Montréal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs here tonight.

Béliveau’s goal, before a crowd of 14,514, increased the Canadiens margin atop the National Hockey League to a full game on the Detroit Red Wings, who were held to a tie by the Boston Bruins.

Also, in case the Leafs are starting to get that anxious feeling, the ambitious Bruins are only six points behind them, and the Boston team has two games in hand.

Béliveau’s goal spoiled a courageous comeback by the Leafs. Down 2-0 after the first period, they fought back to tie the score in the second, and looked every bit as able as the Canadiens until Béliveau scored the winner.

Béliveau scored his goal shortly after he came out of the penalty box after serving a minor for roughing with Leaf George Armstrong. From a melee in front of the Leaf cage, he stabbed the puck directly into the Leaf goal. Goalie Harry Lumley had slid to the side of the net to make a previous save.

After stumbling through a rather shaky first period, the Leafs played some of their best position hockey in several weeks in the following two periods.

Defenceman Hugh Bolton, the most outstanding player in the game, heartened them with persistent end-to-end rushes and solid defensive play. Ted Kennedy, Joe Klukay, Ron Stewart and Sid Smith also played hard, two way hockey.

Floyd Curry, one of the Canadiens’ unsung heroes, was one of their best performers. Geoffrion, in coach Dick Irvin’s doghouse for the past two weeks, probably earned a full pardon after his energetic effort tonight.

The Canadiens grabbed a two goal lead in the first period on goals by Ken Mosdell and Curry; each scored while the Leafs were shorthanded.

Mosdell deflected in a blueline drive from Geoffrion from about three feet in front of the Leaf goal. Bert Olmstead sent Curry away on a clever play for the Habs’ second goal, and Curry cruised in close before beating Lumley.

Stewart started the Leafs on the way back early in the second period. Bolton’s shot from near the blueline hit the glass, bounced in the air, and defenceman Doug Harvey juggled it with his glove.

Dollard Saint-Laurent dove in to knock the puck down with his glove, but it bounced directly to Stewart, who steered the rubber into the net.

The Canadiens had a player in the penalty box when the Leafs tied the score with the ubiquitous Sid Smith beating Jacques Plante. Brian Cullen’s long shot was kicked out, but Smith rapped home the rebound.

NOTES: Frank Selke treated the Leafs to a steak dinner today, an innovation that is expected to become popular around the league. Leaf players were exposed to Montréal newsmen, radio types, etc., before the food merely to establish the fact that they (Leafs) were not incorrigible ogres. Dick Irvin, the Canadiens’ coach who suggested the idea, did not appear at the repeat. The Leafs will reciprocate next week when the Canadiens visit Toronto. They will play hosts to the Canadiens at a dinner Tuesday afternoon at which, if Irvin consents, the entire Canadien team will appear. This charitable plan, in Irvin’s opinion, will acquaint the general public with what fine fellows hockey players are as a group. Hockey writers, who have been invited to these bun feeds, have no objection at all to Irvin’s scheme. King Clancy, one of numerous speakers at the affair, drew the greatest applause when he ordered the Leaf team back to their hotel to rest for the game…Hap Day, nut brown after several weeks in Florida, saw the Leafs in action for the first time in three weeks…As a result of tonight’s loss, Harry Lumley’s lead in the Vézina race dwindled to one goal over Detroit’s Terry Sawchuk, his closest pursuer.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 4, 1955

1st Period
TOR PEN – 06:20 – Sloan, hooking
TOR PEN – 13:18 – Thomson, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 15:03 – Mosdell (Geoffrion, Moore)
TOR PEN – 17:04 – Sloan, tripping + misconduct
MTL PP GOAL – 18:15 – Curry (Olmstead, Harvey)

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 01:08 – Johnson, holding
TOR GOAL – 03:37 – Stewart
TOR PEN – 04:04 – Bailey, high sticking
MTL PEN – 04:04 – Bouchard, high sticking
MTL PEN – 09:16 – Saint-Laurent, interference
TOR PP GOAL – 10:05 – Smith (Kennedy, Cullen)
TOR PEN – 11:23 – Morrison, interference
TOR PEN – 16:41 – Horton, slashing

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 06:34 – Olmstead, hooking
MTL PEN – 10:24 – Geoffrion, roughing
TOR PEN – 10:24 – Morrison, roughing
MTL PEN – 10:24 – Béliveau, high sticking
TOR PEN – 10:24 – Armstrong, high sticking
MTL GOAL – 13:06 – Béliveau (Bouchard, Moore)
TOR PEN – 17:11 – Morrison, hooking

MTL – Plante (W, 25-27)
TOR – Lumley (L, 23-26)

MTL – 10+7+9 = 26
TOR – 7+14+6 = 27

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, Brian Cullen, Ted Kennedy (C), Joe Klukay, Parker MacDonald, Eric Nesterenko, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 30-13-8 (.667)
TOR – 20-17-15 (.529)