Game 357 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 3

Game 357
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 3
Thursday, March 8, 1956
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

Two goals by Maurice Richard, his 37th and 38th of the season, gave the prosperous Montréal Canadiens a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs here tonight.

The Canadiens, who nailed down first place more than a week ago, thus kept their hopes alive of at least equalling the most points made by a team in a single season in the National Hockey League. With five games to go, they require seven more points to equal the record set by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1950-51 season.

Despite the loss, the Leafs preserved their margin in fourth place, three points ahead of the Boston Bruins, who were beaten in Detroit. The Leafs and Bruins each have four games to play.

A crowd of 13,538, reputedly reduced by Montréal’s worst blizzard of the year, saw the Leafs give one of their most impressive performances of the season in Montréal. Only some fantastic goaltending by AWOL Jacques Plante prevented them from running up a big lead in the first period.

The Leafs outshot the Canadiens 32-27, including a monstrous 13-4 edge in the first period, but Plante, by employing some weird acrobatics, refused to yield.

The Leafs even grabbed a 1-0 lead early in the second, and were still pressing the Canadiens when Harry Lumley granted a tying goal to Henri Richard on a rather feeble shot from about 40 feet out. From the press box at the opposite end of the rink, the puck appeared to soar between Lumley’s pads, and he didn’t budge on the soft shot.

The Leafs’ desire dissipated after that goal, and the Canadiens suddenly improved. Within two minutes, they had added two more goals while Leaf Ron Stewart was sitting out a hooking penalty.

Althogh Lumley blew on that one shot, he defied the Canadiens on several other occasions with remarkable saves.

The Canadiens confined their scoring to the second period. Three of their goals were scored while the Leafs were shorthanded, and the Leafs counted once while they had a player in the penalty box.

Other Montréal scorers were Henri Richard and Bert Olmstead. Toronto goals were scored by George Armstrong, Rudy Migay and Gerry James. James scored his at 18:55 in the third period, thereby setting the stage for a last, desperate offensive by the Leafs that failed to produce the tying goal.

Lumley was yanked for the final minute and the Leafs milled furiously around the Canadiens cage, but again Plante stymied them. Jim Morrison, George Armstrong, Tod Sloan and Dick Duff had shots that mysteriously were turned aside.

Armstrong opened the scoring by slamming in Morrison’s rebound in the second period. That lead lasted for about six minutes until Henri Richard drifted in his long floater. Then, with Stewart off, Olmstead and Maurice Richard scored. Olmstead sank Mosdell’s rebound, and Maurice whacked in a Jean Béliveau pass from close in.

Stewart came out of the penalty box to help Migay whittle Montréal’s margin. They exchanged passes through the Montréal team, and Migay beat Plante from about 10 feet out.

But Maurice Richard came back late in the period to slam in a pass from Dickie Moore. James revived the Leafs briefly late in the third by tucking in Billy Harris’ pass, but after that Plante slammed the door.

NOTES: Armstrong played an outstanding game for the Leafs. So did Jimmy Thomson, Tod Sloan, James and Migay. Moore and the Richards were tops, as usual, for the Canadiens…The Habs were without defencemen Doug Harvey and Tom Johnson and forward Don Marshall, but none seemed to be missed…Wally Clune, a defenceman from the Montréal Royals, played well for the Canadiens.

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

1st Period
MTL PEN – 01:21 – M. Richard, high sticking
TOR PEN – 12:29 – Smith, high sticking
MTL PEN – 12:29 – Béliveau, high sticking
TOR PEN – 17:26 – Bolton, elbowing

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 01:44 – Armstrong (Morrison)
MTL GOAL – 04:27 – H. Richard (Moore, Talbot)
TOR PEN – 07:41 – Stewart, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 08:10 – Olmstead (Mosdell, M. Richard)
MTL PP GOAL – 09:12 – M. Richard (Béliveau, Mosdell)
TOR PEN – 10:19 – team, too many men on the ice
TOR SH GOAL – 11:23 – Migay (Stewart)
MTL PEN – 12:22 – Geoffrion, hooking
TOR PEN – 13:54 – Sloan, slashing
TOR PEN – 17:23 – Morrison, tripping + misconduct
MTL PP GOAL – 18:42 – M. Richard (Moore)

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 00:13 – Moore, slashing
MTL PEN – 04:11 – H. Richard, hooking
TOR PEN – 07:40 – James, high sticking
MTL PEN – 07:40 – Talbot, high sticking
TOR GOAL – 18:55 – James (Smith, Harris)
TOR PEN – 19:52 – Horton, high sticking
MTL PEN – 19:52 – Turner, high sticking

MTL – Plante (W, 29-32)
TOR – Lumley (L, 23-27)

MTL – 4+18+5 = 27
TOR – 13+6+13 = 32

MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Wally Clune, Dollard Saint-Laurent, Jean-Guy Talbot, Bob Turner. Forwards: Jean Béliveau, Floyd Curry, Bernie Geoffrion, Jack LeClair, Dickie Moore, Kenny Mosdell, Bert Olmstead, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard.
TORGoaltenders: Harry Lumley. Defence: Hugh Bolton, Tim Horton, Jim Morrison, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: George Armstrong, Brian Cullen, Dick Duff, Gord Hannigan, Billy Harris, Ron Hurst, Gerry James, Rudy Migay, Tod Sloan, Sid Smith (C), Ron Stewart.

MTL – 42-13-10 (.723)
TOR – 22-32-12 (.424)