Game 347 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2

Game 347
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2
Wednesday, November 16, 1955
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Maurice Richard’s ninth goal of the season, at the three quarter mark of the third period, gave the Montréal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Maple Leafs in a rather insipid NHL game at the Gardens last night.

The Leafs, already weakened by injuries, will likely have to get along without defenceman Jimmy Thomson for an infinite period. Thomson pulled a groin muscle in the first period, and he was removed to hospital following the game.

Shackled by the Leafs’ close checking for two periods, the lethargic Canadiens shook loose for two goals in the final 20 minutes. Although this was barely enough to win, the powerful Habitants gave the impression they could score more if necessary.

It was the ninth successive game without a defeat for the Montréalers, and it increased their lead to three full games over the New York Rangers, who were held to a tie by Detroit.

As for the struggling Leafs, it was their sixth defeat in a row, and plunged them a little deeper in the ooze of last place. Despite the Leafs’ dismal record in recent games, a crowd of 14,005 turned out for last night’s game.

The Leafs went into the final period with a 2-1 lead, on goals by Hugh Bolton and Ron Hurst. Jean Béliveau had matched Bolton’s first period tally.

Claude Provost tied the score for the Canadiens at 6:40 of the third by tipping in his own rebound, and “The Rocket,” who had come close on a couple of earlier sorties, rammed in the winner on a 25-foot screen shot, after the Canadiens had mesmerized the Leafs with a remorseless attack for several minutes.

The Leafs had little to offer on the attack but, for two periods, they stymied the Canadiens with a demoralizing defensive game. Rudy Migay, Ron Stewart and Jim Morrison worked so effectively, especially when the Leafs were shorthanded, that the Canadiens’ feared power play never did produce a goal.

Béliveau sent the Canadiens ahead early in the first period on a freakish long shot fired from outside the Leafs blue line. The puck landed in front of the Leaf cage and took a powerful leap past the unprepared Harry Lumley.

The crowd was still simmering about that peculiar tally when Bolton almost duplicated it for the Leafs 22 seconds later. He fired from the point and the puck, which didn’t leave the ice, glided past “Jake The Snake” Plante, the Habitants’ roving goalie. That was the first goal scored by a Toronto defenceman this season. It was also the first scored on Plante in three games.

Hurst, who was called up from Pittsburgh a few days ago, scored his first NHL goal late in the second period, while Henri Richard was serving a hooking penalty. Hurst was the third Toronto player to get a whack at the puck in a melee around the Canadien net, and he drove it past the prostrate Plante.

Provost scooted in from left wing at 6:46 in the third and snapped a shot at Lumley’s pads. the puck nestled in front of the line, but before Lum could sweep it clear, Provost stabbed it into the net for the tying goal.

The Canadiens moved into the Toronto end en masse after that score, and Lumley made great saves on Bernie Geoffrion and Béliveau. “The Rocket” hit the right post a few seconds before he finally hit the net from a milling mass in the faceoff circle.

NOTES: Sid Smith, who has missed the last two games, will start skating today. Eric Nesterenko will give his injured knee a workout Monday…Jack Bionda is still feeling the effects of that jolt he received from Boston’s Leo LeBlanc last Saturday…Canadiens coach Toe Blake attributed the Leafs’ close checking for the unimpressive showing of the Canadiens. “We tried to open up,” he said. “They wouldn’t let us.” Blake had words of praise for Migay. The underrated Leaf centre consistently stopped the Canadiens before they could get organized…Lumley was removed for a sixth attacker with 20 seconds to go, but the Leafs didn’t get a shot on the Montréal net.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, November 17, 1955

1st Period
TOR PEN – 03:04 – Thomson, interference
MTL GOAL – 05:28 – Béliveau
TOR GOAL – 05:47 – Bolton
TOR PEN – 07:47 – Stewart, elbowing
TOR PEN – 11:09 – Duff, holding
TOR PEN – 13:10 – Morrison, high sticking
MTL PEN – 13:10 – LeClair, high sticking major
TOR PEN – 17:04 – Duff, elbowing
MTL PEN – 19:53 – Béliveau, delay of game

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 02:35 – team, too many men on the ice
TOR PEN – 09:54 – Hurst, interference
MTL PEN – 11:53 – LeClair, high sticking
TOR PEN – 11:53 – Sloan, high sticking
TOR PEN – 12:15 – Bolton, tripping
MTL PEN – 15:07 – H. Richard, hooking
TOR PP GOAL – 16:32 – Hurst (Morrison, Harris)

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 06:46 – Provost (Harvey, Mosdell)
TOR PEN – 07:11 – Bolton, holding
TOR PEN – 09:19 – Migay, interference
MTL GOAL – 15:00 – M. Richard (H. Richard, Moore)
MTL PEN – 16:06 – Mosdell, tripping
MTL PEN – 19:48 – Talbot, slashing
TOR PEN – 19:48 – Duff, slashing

MTL – Plante (W, 24-26)
TOR – Lumley (L, 25-28)

MTL – 13+5+10 = 28
TOR – 9+8+9 = 26

MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Dollard Saint-Laurent, Jean-Guy Talbot. Forwards: Jean Béliveau, Floyd Curry, Bernie Geoffrion, Jack LeClair, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard.
Goaltenders: Harry Lumley. Defence: Jack Bionda, Hugh Bolton, Larry Cahan, Jim Morrison, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: George Armstrong, Earl Balfour, Dick Duff, Billy Harris, Ron Hurst, Joe Klukay, Rudy Migay, Dave Reid, Tod Sloan, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 10-3-5 (.694)
TOR – 5-11-2 (.333)