1955–56 NHL season

Last updated
1955–56 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
DurationOctober 6, 1955 – April 10, 1956
Number of games70
Number of teams6
Regular season
Season champion Montreal Canadiens
Season MVP Jean Beliveau (Canadiens)
Top scorer Jean Beliveau (Canadiens)
Stanley Cup
Champions Montreal Canadiens
  Runners-up Detroit Red Wings
NHL seasons

The 1955–56 NHL season was the 39th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 70 games. The Montreal Canadiens were the Stanley Cup champions as they beat the Detroit Red Wings four games to one in the best-of-seven final series.

Contents

League business

At a governors' meeting in December, a discussion took place concerning the uniforms worn by officials. It was contended that the present orange and black uniforms were confusing to players and fans, particularly when red uniforms are worn by either of the participating teams. Furthermore, it was pointed out that the existing uniforms showed up black on television. It was unanimously agreed that officials' uniforms should be changed to black and white vertical stripes. The black and white uniforms were first worn on December 29, 1955.

With Montreal frequently racking up two or three goals on any one power play, NHL President Clarence Campbell said he'd like the penalty rule revised to a penalized player returning to the ice when a power play goal is scored on a minor penalty. The Canadiens were the lone club to vote against the new legislation.

Regular season

The streak of seven straight seasons at the top of the NHL held by the Detroit Red Wings' dynasty came to an end as the Montreal Canadiens were tops. The Canadiens set a new record for wins in a season with 45. The Canadiens had a new coach, their one-time great former All-Star left-winger, Hector "Toe" Blake.

Dick Irvin, formerly the coach in Montreal, whom Habs' GM Frank Selke Sr. found a little truculent, took over as coach in Chicago, but could not get them out of the cellar, though they did improve. It was sort of a homecoming for Irvin as he started his coaching career with Chicago in 1930.

Highlights

When the Hawks went to the Montreal Forum on October 22, Irvin was presented with a set of silver flatware by William Northey, representing the Canadian Arena Company. In the game itself, rookie Henri Richard scored two goals as Montreal shut out Chicago 6–0.

On November 5, Jean Beliveau scored three goals in 44 seconds as Montreal beat Boston 4–3. The record for fastest hat trick still was held by Bill Mosienko with three goals in 21 seconds.

On December 29, officials debut the new "zebra" outfits in a game between the Canadiens and Maple Leafs. [1]

On January 11, a crowd of 15,570 delighted fans at Madison Square Garden watched the Rangers trounce the Canadiens 6–1. Pete Conacher was a star for the Rangers with two goals. Lou Fontinato and Maurice Richard had a gala fight and Fontinato knocked out Richard with a punch that required several stitches above Richard's eye.

Montreal routed the Rangers 9–4 on February 18 as Beliveau had the hat trick and Richard two. The Rocket was incensed when referee Louis Maschio gave his brother a misconduct penalty and his teammates had to cool him off.

Beliveau set a record for goals by a center when he scored his 45th goal on March 15. Maurice Richard was hurt in this game when he fell over Hawk defenceman Pierre Pilote's skate and went headlong into the goal. He required stitches and was taken to hospital for X-rays. The Rocket was back in the lineup on St. Patrick's Day as the Canadiens trounced the Rangers 7–2 and Richard had the hat trick.

Rookie Glenn Hall had a fabulous year with 12 shutouts and a 2.11 goals against average for the ever-powerful Detroit Red Wings. He received the Calder Memorial Trophy over Henri "Pocket Rocket" Richard.

Final standings

National Hockey League [2]
GPWLTGFGADIFFPts
1 Montreal Canadiens 70451510222131+91100
2 Detroit Red Wings 70302416183148+3576
3 New York Rangers 70322810204203+174
4 Toronto Maple Leafs 70243313153181−2861
5 Boston Bruins 70233413147185−3859
6 Chicago Black Hawks 70193912155216−6150

Playoffs

Playoff bracket

Semifinals Stanley Cup Finals
      
1Montreal4
3 New York 1
1Montreal4
2 Detroit 1
2Detroit4
4 Toronto 1

Semifinals

(1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (3) New York Rangers

March 20New York Rangers1–7Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
No scoringFirst period13:29 – Bernie Geoffrion (1)
Jack Evans (1) – 06:45Second period04:17 – Maurice Richard (1)
17:48 – pp – Bernie Geoffrion (2)
18:30 – pp – Maurice Richard (2)
No scoringThird period01:55 – Maurice Richard (3)
14:33 – Dickie Moore (1)
15:32 – Jean Beliveau (1)
Gump Worsley Goalie stats Jacques Plante
March 22New York Rangers4–2Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
Andy Hebenton (1) – 03:45
Jean-Guy Gendron (1) pp – 14:41
First period07:38 – Jean Beliveau (2)
No scoringSecond period11:20 – ppClaude Provost (1)
Bronco Horvath (1) – pp – 00:42
Dean Prentice (1) – 14:10
Third periodNo scoring
Gordie Bell Goalie stats Jacques Plante
March 24Montreal Canadiens3–1New York Rangers Madison Square Garden III Recap  
Ken Mosdell (1) – 14:42First period16:02 – Jean-Guy Gendron (2)
Bert Olmstead (1) – 16:24Second periodNo scoring
Bert Olmstead (2) – 19:48Third periodNo scoring
Jacques Plante Goalie stats Gump Worsley
March 25Montreal Canadiens5–3New York Rangers Madison Square Garden III Recap  
Bert Olmstead (3) – pp – 02:11
Bert Olmstead (4) – 13:33
First period16:26 – Wally Hergesheimer (1)
18:57 – ppBill Gadsby (1)
Jean Beliveau (3) – pp – 02:22
Claude Provost (2) – 03:22
Second periodNo scoring
Jean Beliveau (4) – 08:16Third period15:04 – Andy Bathgate (1)
Jacques Plante Goalie stats Gump Worsley
March 27New York Rangers0–7Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
No scoringFirst period08:24 – ppDoug Harvey (1)
No scoringSecond period03:11 – Dickie Moore (2)
06:10 – Henri Richard (1)
13:00 – pp – Doug Harvey (2)
15:35 – Jean Beliveau (5)
No scoringThird period08:49 – Henri Richard (2)
13:28 – Dickie Moore (3)
Gordie Bell Goalie stats Jacques Plante
Montreal won series 4–1

(2) Detroit Red Wings vs. (4) Toronto Maple Leafs

March 20Toronto Maple Leafs2–3Detroit Red Wings Olympia Stadium Recap  
George Armstrong (1) – pp – 11:57First periodNo scoring
Ron Stewart (1) – 11:31Second periodNo scoring
No scoringThird period00:58 – Gordie Howe (1)
05:12 – Johnny Bucyk (1)
05:56 – Alex Delvecchio (1)
Harry Lumley Goalie stats Glenn Hall
March 22Toronto Maple Leafs1–3Detroit Red Wings Olympia Stadium Recap  
George Armstrong (2) – 05:09First periodNo scoring
No scoringSecond period05:40 – Alex Delvecchio (2)
19:05 – Ted Lindsay (1)
No scoringThird period14:39 – Lorne Ferguson (1)
Harry Lumley Goalie stats Glenn Hall
March 24Detroit Red Wings5–4OTToronto Maple Leafs Maple Leaf Gardens Recap  
Red Kelly (1) – 12:27First period00:29 – George Armstrong (3)
16:33 – ppBrian Cullen (1)
No scoringSecond period13:20 – shGerry James (1)
Metro Prystai (1) – 02:46
Gordie Howe (2) – 09:11
Ted Lindsay (2) – 14:25
Third period07:40 – pp – George Armstrong (4)
Ted Lindsay (3) – 04:22First overtime periodNo scoring
Glenn Hall Goalie stats Harry Lumley
March 27Detroit Red Wings0–2Toronto Maple Leafs Maple Leaf Gardens Recap  
No scoringFirst periodNo scoring
No scoringSecond period10:58 – Billy Harris (1)
No scoringThird period03:15 – Sid Smith (1)
Glenn Hall Goalie stats Harry Lumley
March 29Toronto Maple Leafs1–3Detroit Red Wings Olympia Stadium Recap  
Dick Duff (1) – pp – 05:34First period08:38 – ppAlex Delvecchio (3)
14:49 – Alex Delvecchio (4)
No scoringSecond periodNo scoring
No scoringThird period19:35 – Ted Lindsay (4)
Harry Lumley Goalie stats Glenn Hall
Detroit won series 4–1

Stanley Cup Finals

March 31Detroit Red Wings4–6Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
Alex Delvecchio (5) – pp – 08:17First periodNo scoring
Bill Dineen (1) – 03:45
Ted Lindsay (5) – 08:11
Alex Delvecchio (6) – pp – 11:20
Second period03:00 – ppJean Beliveau (6)
06:40 – Henri Richard (3)
No scoringThird period05:20 – Jack LeClair (1)
06:20 – Bernie Geoffrion (3)
07:31 – Jean Beliveau (7)
10:49 – Claude Provost (3)
Glenn Hall Goalie stats Jacques Plante
April 3Detroit Red Wings1–5Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
No scoringFirst period07:23 – ppDonnie Marshall (1)
No scoringSecond period11:37 – Henri Richard (4)
14:38 – Bernie Geoffrion (4)
Norm Ullman (1) – 00:31Third period02:48 – Jean Beliveau (8)
19:21 – Maurice Richard (4)
Glenn Hall Goalie stats Jacques Plante
April 5Montreal Canadiens1–3Detroit Red Wings Olympia Stadium Recap  
Jean Beliveau (9) – 19:20First period14:27 – ppRed Kelly (2)
No scoringSecond periodNo scoring
No scoringThird period11:36 – Ted Lindsay (6)
18:12 – Gordie Howe (3)
Jacques Plante Goalie stats Glenn Hall
April 8Montreal Canadiens3–0Detroit Red Wings Olympia Stadium Recap  
Jean Beliveau (10) – 15:52First periodNo scoring
Jean Beliveau (11) – 11:39Second periodNo scoring
Floyd Curry (1) – 11:34Third periodNo scoring
Jacques Plante Goalie stats Glenn Hall
April 10Detroit Red Wings1–3Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
No scoringFirst periodNo scoring
No scoringSecond period14:16 – ppJean Beliveau (12)
15:08 – ppMaurice Richard (5)
Alex Delvecchio (7) – 00:35Third period00:13 – Bernie Geoffrion (5)
Glenn Hall Goalie stats Jacques Plante
Montreal won series 4–1

Awards

Award winners
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Regular season champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer)
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Glenn Hall, Detroit Red Wings
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
James Norris Memorial Trophy:
(Best defenceman)
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Earl Reibel, Detroit Red Wings
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender of team with the best goals-against average)
Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens

All-Star teams

First team  Position  Second team
Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens G Glenn Hall, Detroit Red Wings
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens D Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings
Bill Gadsby, New York Rangers D Tom Johnson, Montreal Canadiens
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens C Tod Sloan, Toronto Maple Leafs
Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens RW Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings LW Bert Olmstead, Montreal Canadiens

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes

PlayerTeamGPGAPTSPIM
Jean Beliveau Montreal Canadiens70474188143
Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings70384179100
Maurice Richard Montreal Canadiens7038337189
Bert Olmstead Montreal Canadiens7014567094
Tod Sloan Toronto Maple Leafs70372966100
Andy Bathgate New York Rangers7019476659
Bernie Geoffrion Montreal Canadiens5929336266
Earl Reibel Detroit Red Wings6817395610
Alex Delvecchio Detroit Red Wings7025265124
Dave Creighton New York Rangers7020315143

Source: NHL [3]

Leading goaltenders

Note: GP = Games played; Min – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts

PlayerTeamGPMINGAGAAWLTSO
Jacques Plante Montreal Canadiens6438401191.864212107
Glenn Hall Detroit Red Wings7042001472.1030241612
Terry Sawchuk Boston Bruins6840801772.602233139
Harry Lumley Toronto Maple Leafs5935271592.702128103
Lorne Worsley New York Rangers7042001992.843228104
Al Rollins Chicago Black Hawks5834801722.971730113

Coaches

Debuts

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1955–56 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1955–56 (listed with their last team):

See also

Related Research Articles

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References

Notes
  1. Finger, Scott. "This Day In Hockey History - December 29". hookedonhockeymagazine.com. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  2. "1955–1956 Division Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". National Hockey League.
  3. Dinger 2011, p. 149.