Game 341 – Canadiens 1, Maple Leafs 1

Game 341
Canadiens 1, Maple Leafs 1
Thursday, February 24, 1955
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Harry Lumley, shining much brighter than the Vézina goaltending silverware at which he’s pointing, stood out by far as the greatest reason why the Maple Leafs held the Montréal Canadiens to a 1-1 tie tonight.

Leaf Lumley was never more brilliant this National Hockey League season, especially in the third period when the Flying Frenchmen threw everything at him but Coach Dick Irvin. The draw, however, enabled the Habitants to skate into first place by one point over the idle Detroit Red Wings.

Coach King Clancy of the Leafs caused a bit of fuss at the game’s end when he strode into the stands behind him to do battle with a heckling spectator. Toronto’s George Armstrong poked a stick in the general direction of Clancy’s tormentor, but the episode died without violence.

Both goals came in the middle period. Jean Béliveau, who seldom looks anything but great, potted the Montréal goal before 14,608 rabid Forum followers. Tod Sloan shot the equalizer less than three minutes later.

The Leafs, after a fairly even opening two periods, were badly outplayed over the final 20 minutes. They were outshot 12-3 on the last period and, without a license to steal, Lumley robbed such as Baldy MacKay, “Boom Boom” Geoffrion, Béliveau and Saint-Laurent. They were those “impossible-type” saves you hear about.

Following up a 3-1 victory in New York last night, the Leafs were without right winger Eric Nesterenko for this one. Because of hard checks by Bill Ezinicki and and Ivan Irwin, he’ll be sidelined for at least 10 days with pulled knee muscles and a charley horse.

Nesterenko was replaced by Gerry James of the Toronto Marlboros of the Ontario Hockey Association Junior A series. James, in his pro debut, showed as a fine prospect. He stuck to his check well and handed out a couple of stiff body blows.

The kid, who was chosen as an outstanding Canadian footballer as a member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last season, played on a line with Ted Kennedy and Sid Smith. Incidentally, Smith was one of the best Leafs, despite a small charley horse picked up the previous night.

The first penalty of the middle period brought on the initial goal in the seventh minute. With Leaf Jim Morrison sitting out a hooking sin, Béliveau, standing at the side of the net, tipped in a blazing long shot by Geoffrion.

Defenceman Doug Harvey assisted on the play – his 40th assist of the season. He thus tied an NHL record for defencemen, set by Babe Pratt with the Leafs over the 1943-44 season. The goal was number 100 for the big three of Béliveau, Geoffrion and “Rocket” Richard.

The sides were even when the Leafs tied it. Sloan stole the puck from defenceman Tom Johnson near the nets, circled the cage to whip a quick, low one past Jacques Plante.

That served to point up some improved play by Sloan and George Armstrong since they exchanged positions in New York Wednesday night. Sloan moved to right wing in place of Armstrong, who took his spot at pivot.

Armstrong especially seemed to take on a new lease of life after some poor efforts as of late. He has been hitting harder and skating better since the change.

NOTES: The Montréal press played up a claim by Montréal coach Dick Irvin that Harry Lumley of the Leafs shouldn’t be eligible for the Vézina Trophy, the top goalkeeping award, because he had been caught using an oversized stick. Lumley was unperturbed when questioned. He said he owed Irvin, who first called attention to the fact during a Leaf win over the Canadiens in Toronto February 9 “a debt of gratitude. I’m using a lighter stick and it’s better. I stopped a couple of shots with the new stick that I couldn’t have reached with the other one.”…The Boston Bruins attended tonight’s game in a body and had to stand up. They flew in from St. Paul, Minn., where they tied Chicago last night…Centre Ken Mosdell, who was supposed to have a painful hip injury, was one of the Habs’ best…Centre Paul Ronty, acquired from New York, played briefly in his debut with the Canadiens.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 10, 1955

1st Period
MTL PEN – 04:25 – Curry, hooking
TOR PEN – 05:42 – Cullen, interference
MTL PEN – 13:04 – Johnson, spearing
TOR PEN – 18:59 – Horton, holding
MTL PEN – 19:28 – Geoffrion, tripping

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 06:05 – Morrison, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 06:24 – Béliveau (Geoffrion, Harvey)
TOR GOAL – 09:38 – Sloan
TOR PEN – 11:37 – Kennedy, high sticking
MTL PEN – 11:37 – Béliveau, high sticking
MTL PEN – 13:07 – Marshall, tripping
MTL PEN – 13:30 – Olmstead, spearing
TOR PEN – 16:22 – Sloan, hooking

3rd Period

MTL – Plante (T, 23-24)
TOR – Lumley (T, 30-31)

MTL – 9+10+12 = 31
TOR – 8+13+3 = 24

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.
Goaltenders: Harry Lumley. Defence: Hugh Bolton, Larry Cahan, Tim Horton, Jim Morrison, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: George Armstrong, Brian Cullen, Gerry James, Ted Kennedy (C), Joe Klukay, Parker MacDonald, Rudy Migay, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 34-15-9 (.664)
TOR – 23-19-19 (.533)