Game 354 – Maple Leafs 1, Canadiens 1

Game 354
Maple Leafs 1, Canadiens 1
Wednesday, February 8, 1956
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Ed Chadwick played the leading role in a hometown-boy-makes-good offering on the icy stage at Maple Leaf Gardens last night.

A Toronto boy, playing goal for a Toronto team for the first time in the National Hockey League, Chadwick’s selection as one of the three stars was cheered by 13,927 patrons, who watched the Leafs and Montréal Canadiens battle to a 1-1 tie.

Called in from the Winnipeg Warriors to replace Gil Mayer, the replacement for Harry Lumley, the one-time St. Michael’s College goaler contributed a full share of work toward ending a losing streak that had reached five game proportions for the Leafs.

Chadwick was beaten by the second NHL shot fired his way, after only 75 seconds of play. He didn’t let it rattle him, as he proceeded to block 27 other offerings over the rest of the distance.

It was a defensive lapse, rather than Chadwick’s ineptitude, that permitted Bernie Geoffrion to rip one of his blistering bullets home. Alone in front, “Boom Boom” took a passout from Jean Béliveau and fired from about 20 feet. Chadwick made the only move possible under the circumstance. He blinked his eyes rapidly as he heard the puck whine past.

Ronnie Hurst got it back in the second period on a play instigated by Jim Morrison’s shot from the left point. Billy Harris blocked the puck in front of the crease, and Hurst jabbed it into the open side of the goal.

This was one of the season’s finer contests, although it deteriorated on a couple of occasions to sloppy hockey when the Canadiens went into a defensive shell. At such times they acted more like a team dedicated to stretching an unbeaten string to six games, rather than one trying to run a Toronto losing streak to similar proportions.

There were some well aimed bodychecks, but despite referee Frank Udvari’s reluctance to issue any more than two penalties to each team, the game threatened only one to degenerate into a brawl. That was when Jim Thomson, a potent Leafs force all the way, and Jean-Guy Talbot wrestled briefly.

Jean Béliveau actually scored midway through the third period on a blast from slightly inside the blueline, but an offside whistle had sounded clearly just before he shot. The drive seemed to handcuff Chadwick, as it trickled off his glove into the goal.

Jacques Plante, who stopped 34 Toronto shots and fielded almost as many more on his wanderings behind his net, was a trifle fortunate on several occasions. He sprawled twice to balk Harris, who was trying to jab the puck at a corner of the crease, and Tod Sloan, the top Toronto forward, hit the post once and couldn’t regain the puck, which dropped into the crease between Plante’s skates. Another time, Sloan whipped in from the side and flipped the puck high over the net while aiming for the top corner.

Hugh Bolton equalled Thomson in defensive efficiency and was strong on the attack, while Marc Réaume was a two way standout. Up front, Sloan and Dick Duff made two parts of the big line work, but George Armstrong wasn’t perking the same way. The Harris-Hurst-Balfour line came close frequently, and Rudy Migay was his usual dependable self.

Béliveau was the big man for the Habs, with Geoffrion prominent frequently. “Rocket” Richard has seldom been so inconspicuous on Toronto ice. Defensively, the Canadiens were superb, with Tom Johnson, Harvey, Talbot and Bob Turner forming a capable bodyguard for Plante.

NOTES: Harry Lumley and Chadwick both accompanied the team to Boston for tonight’s game…Brian Cullen, who played well, hit Balfour on the side of the face with one shot, but Earl insulted him by refusing to act injured…With a minute to go, Hurst took a hurried whack and missed the goal on one of the many fine plays set up by Harris. Talbot promptly jumped on Hurst’s back and wrestled him to the ice. No penalty.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 9, 1956

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 01:15 – Geoffrion (Béliveau, Olmstead)
TOR PEN – 12:21 – Stewart, high sticking

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 04:32 – H. Richard, tripping
MTL PEN – 08:40 – Turner, hooking
TOR GOAL – 10:43 – Hurst (Harris, Morrison)
TOR PEN – 15:52 – Réaume, high sticking

3rd Period

TOR – Chadwick (T, 28-29)
MTL – Plante (T, 34-35)

TOR – 10+16+9 = 35
MTL – 11+9+9 = 29

TORGoaltenders: Ed Chadwick. Defence: Hugh Bolton, Jim Morrison, Marc Réaume, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: George Armstrong, Earl Balfour, Brian Cullen, Dick Duff, Gord Hannigan, Billy Harris, Ron Hurst, Gerry James, Rudy Migay, Tod Sloan, Ron Stewart.
MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Jean-Guy Talbot, Bob Turner. Forwards: Jean Béliveau, Floyd Curry, Bernie Geoffrion, Jack LeClair, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard.

TOR – 17-28-8 (.396)
MTL – 32-12-10 (.685)