Game 366 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2

Game 366
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2
Wednesday, January 16, 1957
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Montréal Canadiens, skating inexorably to their second consecutive National Hockey League championship, scored a 3-2 win over the Maple Leafs in the Gardens last night.

The Canadiens concentrated all their scoring in the second period, then withstood a last-gasp rally by the determined Leafs, which produced two goals in the final eight minutes.

The win, manufactured before a crowd of 14,166, widened the Canadiens’ lead on the second place Detroit Red Wings to five points. The Stanley Cup champions have won eight and tied one of their last nine games.

It was a close checking game most of the way, with the artistic Canadiens giving the Leafs a lesson in puck control and positional play. The Leafs fought back fiercely at times, but erratic shooting and a lack of finish hampered them almost as much as the Canadiens did.

Henri Richard, the Canadiens’ chief threat in this game, Dickie Moore and Jean Béliveau scored for the Montréal team. Sid Smith and Dick Duff were the Toronto snipers.

Béliveau was on his way for a second goal when time ran out. The Leafs removed Ed Chadwick from the net with 15 seconds remaining, and Béliveau was en route to the empty cage with the puck when the final buzzer sounded.

The Leafs had numerous scoring opportunities, but the acrobatic Jacques Plante, who wandered at will throughout the game, blocked all their shots successfully until the final eight minutes. The Canadiens were minus two players through penalties for 32 seconds in the third period, but the helter-skelter Leafs didn’t get a shot on goal.

Statistics show that the Canadiens outshot the Leafs by only 30-27, but that is a deception. The majority of the Canadiens’ shots were of the type that sends goalkeepers fleeing into retirement. It was a duel of pea-shooters versus pom-poms.

Béliveau almost tore the net from its moorings with his second period goal. Awed onlookers fully expected to see a mushroom shaped cloud rise after the red light flashed.

The Richard brothers went the length of the ice for the Canadiens’ first goal. henri pulled away from Ted Kennedy, passed to Maurice, and took a return pass in the Toronto zone. Henri, flitting in from right wing, beat Chadwick with a low shot to the far side of the net.

Moore, who has been the leading man in Chadwick’s nightmares all season, fired his 21st on a power play. It was a long, screened shot from the right point. Chadwick had difficulty concentrating on this shot inasmuch as Bernie Geoffrion was lying in front of him. Geoffrion couldn’t get up because Jerry Games and Al MacNeil were sitting on him. This was Moore’s ninth goal of the season on Chadwick.

Béliveau blasted his goal about a minute later, from about 30 feet out on left wing. Bert Olmstead tossed him a pass, and big Jean sent the puck on its way like a V-2 rocket.

Smith tipped in Rudy Migay’s rebound at 12:20 of the third period for the Leafs’ first goal. Tom Johnson was serving a slashing penalty at the time. George Armstrong set up Dick Duff’s 17th goal of the season with some expert stickhandling. He zigged his way around Béliveau and Johnson before giving Duff a pass to Plante’s right. Duff drove the puck past Plante from 10 feet out.

NOTES: Leaf defenceman Jim Morrison broke his nose in the third period when he was hit by a flying piece of Johnson’s broken stick…Referee Frank Udvari, who has a reputation for infuriating the Canadiens, had to call only 11 penalties, six to the Leafs. Maurice Richard merely glowered when Udvari skated out at the start of the game…Henri Richard, who flits around the ice like a hummingbird, set up some outstanding plays for the Canadiens. And Henri was a favourite target for the Leafs, but they missed him more times than they connected…Morrison was the Leafs’ best defenceman in this game. Bobby Pulford, Smith, Migay and Ron Stewart were other Leafs whose play was conspicuous…Duff needs only one more goal to equal his entire production of last season. What’s this about a sophomore jinx?

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, January 17, 1957

1st Period

TOR PEN – 02:28 – Réaume, hooking
TOR PEN – 09:28 – Pulford, slashing
MTL PEN – 12:45 – Provost, charging

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 02:02 – H. Richard (M. Richard, Moore)
MTL PEN – 05:48 – Olmstead, holding
MTL PEN – 11:07 – H. Richard, high sticking
TOR PEN – 12:05 – Cullen, high sticking
TOR PEN – 17:45 – Thomson, tripping
MTL PP GOAL – 18:25 – Moore (Harvey, Olmstead)
MTL GOAL – 19:24 – Béliveau (Olmstead)

3rd Period
TOR PEN – 06:55 – James, elbowing
MTL PEN – 09:36 – Talbot, holding
MTL PEN – 11:04 – Johnson, slashing
TOR PP GOAL – 12:20 – Smith (Migay, Stewart)
TOR PEN – 16:34 – Réaume, cross checking
TOR GOAL – 19:33 – Duff (Armstrong)

MTL – Plante (W, 25-27)
TOR – Chadwick (L, 27-30)

MTL – 10+11+9 = 30
TOR – 10+7+10 = 27

MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Dollard Saint-Laurent, Jean-Guy Talbot, Bob Turner. Forwards: Jean Béliveau, Floyd Curry, Bernie Geoffrion, Jack LeClair, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, Bert Olmstead, André Pronovost, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard (C).
Goaltenders: Ed Chadwick. Defence: Al MacNeil, Jim Morrison, Marc Réaume, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: George Armstrong, Barry Cullen, Dick Duff, Gerry James, Ted Kennedy (C), Rudy Migay, Mike Nykoluk, Bob Pulford, Sid Smith, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 25-12-6 (.651)
TOR – 14-21-8 (.419)