Game 351 – Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 2

Game 351
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 2
Thursday, December 29, 1955
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Despite the fact that he was overshadowed by the brilliant performance of his younger brother Henri, Maurice Richard scored the 500th goal of his NHL career here tonight, as the Montréal Canadiens downed the Maple Leafs 5-2.

The loss, the first in four games for the Leafs, dropped them back into fifth place behind the Chicago Black Hawks, who won in New York. For the Canadiens, who had lost their two previous starts in their most humiliating slump of the season, the win merely strengthened their hold on first place.

Maurice, who has scored a great many spectacular goals throughout a checkered career, sent the Canadiens ahead shortly after the game started on a flukey counter. The puck glanced into the net off his skate after Dickie Moore had slid a pass out of the corner.

A crowd of 13,784 gave “The Rocket” a standing ovation for having reached the 500 mark in goals. That represents his total for schedule and playoffs.

But it was Henri Richard, the most talented rookie in the NHL this season, who supplied the spark which enabled the Canadiens to fight from behind a 2-1 lead, which the Leafs grabbed in the first period. Henri had one goal and he assisted on three of the Canadiens’ first four goals.

The Leafs, working from a carbon copy of their earlier games in Montréal, held out the Canadiens for the first two periods. But they had nothing left for the third period, and the Habs punched in three goals.

“The Rocket”‘s goal, his 21st of the season, wasn’t equalled by the Leafs until Canadien defenceman Dollard Saint-Laurent went off for tripping at 13:31. Before he returned, the Leafs scored twice.

“Jake The Snake” Plante, back in the Canadiens net, kicked out a drive from the point by Marc Réaume, but Tod Sloan swept in the rebound. It was Sloan’s 18th goal of the season.

Dick Duff sent the Leafs ahead a short time later. He outfought Jean-Guy Talbot for the puck in the corner, skated out in front of the net, and beat Plante with a short shot.

Both teams were playing four a side in the second period, when Saint-Laurent tied the score for the Canadiens. Henri Richard decoyed the Leafs’ defence, flipped a pass in front, and Saint-Laurent hammered the puck past Harry Lumley.

The Leafs started to reel under continuous Canadien pressure in the third period, and Henri finally sent the Habs ahead to stay with a high 30-foot shot, after picking up a pass from brother Maurice.

Near the three quarter mark of the period, Henri sent Moore away in the clear with a perfect pass, and Moore skated in close before slamming the puck in the net.

The Canadiens concluded their scoring late in the period when Bernie Geoffrion took the puck away from Tim Horton and passed in front to Jean Marc Béliveau. Béliveau did what he normally does under those circumstances. It was Jean Marc’s 22nd goal of the season, tops in the league.

NOTES: Doug Harvey was back on the Canadiens defence tonight, but Hugh Bolton was still missing for the Leafs…Tom Johnson played an outstanding game on defence for the Canadiens…Henri Richard has scored 11 goals for the Canadiens this year, the best mark for a rookie in the league…Plante and Lumley distinguished themselves with remarkable saves in the first two periods.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 30, 1955

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 01:39 – M. Richard (H. Richard, Moore)
TOR PEN – 04:13 – Duff, holding
MTL PEN – 07:31 – Johnson, charging
TOR PEN – 10:10 – James, roughing
MTL PEN – 10:10 – Bouchard, roughing
MTL PEN – 11:21 – H. Richard, holding
MTL PEN – 13:31 – Saint-Laurent, tripping
TOR PP GOAL – 13:42 – Sloan (Réaume, James)
TOR PP GOAL – 15:18 – Duff
TOR PEN – 17:39 – Morrison, holding
TOR PEN – 19:29 – Réaume, high sticking
MTL PEN – 19:29 – Moore, high sticking

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 01:13 – Saint-Laurent (H. Richard)
TOR PEN – 02:19 – Duff, high sticking / roughing double minor
MTL PEN – 02:19 – Talbot, slashing / roughing double minor
MTL PEN – 07:13 – Talbot, spearing
MTL PEN – 09:33 – M. Richard, tripping
TOR PEN – 11:53 – James, high sticking

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 02:40 – Thomson, hooking
MTL PEN – 03:05 – M. Richard, high sticking
TOR PEN – 03:05 – Morrison, high sticking
MTL GOAL – 05:47 – H. Richard (M. Richard)
MTL PEN – 11:37 – H. Richard, roughing
TOR PEN – 11:37 – Hurst, hooking
MTL GOAL – 15:31 – Moore (H. Richard, M. Richard)
MTL GOAL – 18:13 – Béliveau (Geoffrion)

MTL – Plante (W, 16-18)
TOR – Lumley (L, 20-25)

MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Butch Bouchard (C), Tom Johnson, Dollard Saint-Laurent, Jean-Guy Talbot. Forwards: Jean Béliveau, Floyd Curry, Bernie Geoffrion, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard.
Goaltenders: Harry Lumley. Defence: Tim Horton, Jim Morrison, Marc Réaume, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: George Armstrong, Earl Balfour, Dick Duff, Gord Hannigan, Billy Harris, Ron Hurst, Gerry James, Rudy Migay, Eric Nesterenko, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith (C), Ron Stewart.

MTL – 23-7-7 (.716)
TOR – 12-19-6 (.405)