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Grand moments

November 5th, 1955
On November 5, 1955, Jean Béliveau’s one-man power play clinic at the Forum led to an NHL rule change.

Trailing Boston 2-0 as play began in the middle period, the Canadiens went two men up when a Bruins defenseman was sent off 16 seconds after the puck dropped, joining teammate Cal Gardner who had been banished at the conclusion of the opening period.

Habs coach Toe Blake sent Doug Harvey and Tom Johnson over the boards to man the points, complementing his forward line of Beliveau, Maurice Richard and Bert Olmstead.

Forty-two seconds into the period, Béliveau took an Olmstead pass out of the corner, redirecting it behind Bruins goaltender Terry Sawchuck for his first goal of the evening. 24 seconds later, lighting struck a second time as “Le Gros Bill” converted another Olmstead offering.

A mere 20 seconds later, with Gardner and Laycoe still looking on helplessly from the sin bin, Beliveau completed his hat trick.

Béliveau needed only 44 seconds to string together the fastest hat trick in Canadiens history, with all three markers coming during the same power play. Only Bill Mosienko, playing with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1952, scored three goals quicker than Béliveau did on that night.

Béliveau topped off his evening’s work by scoring a fourth goal, even strength this time, to fuel Montreal’s 4-2 victory.

Unable to nullify the Canadiens devastating power play on the ice, teams were more successful in thwarting it after the season ended. A rule change was proposed for 1956-57 and beyond allowing players serving minor penalties to return to play after a single power play goal. The amendment passed after a 5-1 vote with only Montreal opposing the rule change.