Game 349 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1

Game 349
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1
Thursday, December 8, 1955
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The Richard frères, the best shooting combination since the James boys (Gerry excepted), united in the third period here tonight to give the Montréal Canadiens a 3-1 win over the Maple Leafs in a turbulent NHL game.

The only smidgen of jubilation for the Leafs, who went down to their fourth successive defeat, was that captain Sid Smith emerged from a prolonged famine to score his first goal of the season. Whether this will set off a chain reaction remains to be seen.

The game was marked by a third period epidemic of penalties which enriched the league by $225. In all, the Leafs took nine minors, one major, three misconducts and one game misconduct. The Canadiens had eight minors, one major, two misconducts and one game misconduct.

Smith’s goal early in the first period, when he seemingly emerged from a manhole in front of moving Jacques Plante to bat in Ron Stewart’s pass, gave the Leafs a lead which they manfully protected until the third period.

At 4:23 in the third period, while Leaf Eric Nesterenko was serving a charging penalty for warping Henri Richard on the boards, “Busher” Curry tied the score. Harry Lumley, who played another great game for the Leafs, kicked out Jean Béliveau’s shot, but Curry whacked in the rebound. Then the Richards took charge.

Maurice sent the Canadiens ahead for the first time at 8:31 on a goal that was bitterly protested by the Leafs. The puck appeared to go in behind Lumley on the left side of the net and slide out the other. The Leafs argued the rubber never entered the net.

Referee Jack Mehlenbacher huddled with his linesmen, and eventually decided to allow the goal. Some uncomplimentary remarks from the Leaf bench after this decision resulted in a team misconduct to the Leafs. It was served by Gerry James.

Somewhat inflamed by what they considered a miscarriage of justice, the Leafs started crashing the Habs hither and yon and, as they say in the pubs near closing time, you could see trouble developing.

The principal eruption came when Ron Stewart and Tom Johnson started ge-stickulating. George Armstrong and Béliveau did likewise, and the remainder of the players gathered in a milling mass to watch.

No punches were thrown, but the threatening gestures resulted in Béliveau and Armstrong getting sent away, each with high sticking minors, 10 minute misconducts and game misconducts. Johnson and Stewart were tagged with majors. Rudy Migay happened by and snarled at the referee, and he too was awarded a misconduct.

Thus, with almost as many players in the penalty box as on the benches, Henri Richard, a gritty little competitor for the Canadiens, raced in close and banged the clinching goal past Lumley. Dickie Moore, who played on a line with the frères, provided the pass.

Eric Nesterenko and Bert Olmstead provided a few more exciting moments shortly after that goal. Olmstead shed his gloves and raced after the Toronto player, but Nester kept his bludgeon raised, and no punches were exchanged. They were given minor penalties, and Olmstead had his sentence bolstered by a 10 minute misconduct when he tried to renew that bout in the box.

The Leafs played extremely well, especially in the first period. The Canadiens started to improve in the second, but they were guilty of some erratic shooting.

NOTES: Questioned about remarks made by Phil Watson after the Rangers downed the Leafs in New York Wednesday night, Hap Day said: “Watson’s success is going to his head.” Watson accused the Leafs of hooking and holding, apparently under instructions from the bench…Smith, Ron Hurst, Marc Réaume, George Armstrong and Tod Sloan played great games for the Leafs tonight, and Lumley was outstanding…The Canadiens’ best were the Richards, Moore, defencemen Johnson and Dollard Saint-Laurent. Plante played a sound game in goal, but he protected the back boards almost as much as his net.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 9, 1955

1st Period
MTL PEN – 03:02 – Saint-Laurent, hooking
TOR GOAL – 06:04 – Smith (Migay, Stewart)
TOR PEN – 08:34 – Hurst, charging
TOR PEN – 14:44 – Balfour, interference
TOR PEN – 19:59 – Horton, tripping

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 04:49 – Balfour, hooking
TOR PEN – 06:58 – Harris, interference
MTL PEN – 12:49 – Saint-Laurent, tripping
MTL PEN – 13:23 – Talbot, slashing

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 03:02 – Nesterenko, charging
MTL PP GOAL – 04:23 – Curry (Béliveau)
MTL PEN – 05:13 – Geoffrion, tripping
MTL GOAL – 08:31 – M. Richard (Moore)
TOR PEN – 08:31 – team, misconduct
MTL PEN – 10:04 – Béliveau, high sticking + misconduct + game misconduct
TOR PEN – 10:04 – Armstrong, high sticking + misconduct + game misconduct
TOR PEN – 10:04 – Migay, misconduct
MTL PEN – 10:04 – Johnson, fighting major
TOR PEN – 10:04 – Stewart, fighting major
TOR PEN – 13:10 – Smith, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 13:52 – H. Richard (Moore, Harvey)
TOR PEN – 15:37 – Nesterenko, high sticking
MTL PEN – 15:37 – Olmstead, high sticking + misconduct
MTL PEN – 16:35 – Curry, hooking

MTL – Plante (W, 26-27)
TOR – Lumley (L, 31-34)

MTL – 5+14+15 = 34
TOR – 9+9+9 = 27

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: Hugh Bolton, Tim Horton, Jim Morrison, Marc Réaume, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: George Armstrong, Earl Balfour, Dick Duff, Billy Harris, Ron Hurst, Gerry James, Rudy Migay, Eric Nesterenko, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith (C), Ron Stewart.

MTL – 16-4-7 (.722)
TOR – 8-16-4 (.357)