The 5 Moments That Make Every Montreal Canadiens Fan Nostalgic
Montreal Canadiens fans have been treated to some incredible moments that bring back feelings of nostalgia each time they're relived.
Over their 104-year history, the Habs have seen some of the greatest players in the history of the game pull on the red, white and blue jersey. These stars helped to create some wonderful memories that continue to withstand the test of time.
Here are the top five moments that make every Montreal Canadiens fan nostalgic.
Honorable Mention: 10 Straight OT Wins
The Montreal Canadiens' run in the 1993 Stanley Cup playoffs was as exciting as any in the history of the game, as they won 10 straight overtime games en route to their 24th championship.
The Kings took Game 1 before Games 2 through 4 all ended tied after 60 minutes.
Defenseman Eric Desjardins scored the winner in Game 2 just 51 seconds into the extra frame. This came after he had tied the game late in the third with the net empty and the extra attacker on the ice.
In Games 3 and 4, a young John Leclair would have his coming-out party in L.A., as he scored the golden goal in both contests. The Habs were on their way back to Montreal with a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Two nights later, the Canadiens clinched their 24th Stanley Cup on home ice.
5. Koivu's Return from Cancer
On September 5, 2001, Saku Koivu was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma, putting his hockey career in serious doubt. The captain of the Montreal Canadiens had bigger things to worry about, like surviving the disease that kills 50 percent of its victims.
Koivu was determined to beat the cancer and return to the ice sooner rather than later. As his treatment went on, it seemed more likely he would make a return, but no one expected it would be so soon.
On April 9, 2002, Koivu returned to the Canadiens lineup. He was back on the ice just seven months after his original diagnosis.
Habs fans were elated and they welcomed their captain back with an eight-minute standing ovation.
4. The Red Army Game
The Cold War was in full swing as the Soviet's sent their best teams to North America to take on a few NHL squads in what was called The Super Series.
On New Year's Eve 1975, the Montreal Canadiens played host to Moscow Central Red Army in what is remembered as one of the most exciting games in the history of hockey, at least according to the historical website of the Montreal Canadiens.
Moscow had arrived in North America a few days before and had already shown the hockey world it was for real, as the team skated to a 7-3 victory over the New York Rangers on December 28.
The Habs were one of the best teams in the NHL at the time. The team featured Guy Lafleur, Bob Gainey and Ken Dryden, and they would go on to win the 1976 Stanley Cup.
The Soviet squad was made up of Valeri Kharlamov and Boris Mikhailov up front, while goaltending legend Vladislav Tretiak was between the pipes.
Montreal came out flying. Goals by Steve Shutt and Yvon Lambert gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. The Soviets would bounce back as Mikhailov scored on the Soviet's first shot of the second period to cut the lead to one.
Yvan Cournoyer would later restore the Canadiens' lead to two on the power play, but the Red Army responded again with a late-period goal by Kharlamov.
Tretiak held the fort for the Soviets early in the third, making save after save before 20-year-old Boris Alexandrov tied it at three.
The Canadiens continued to pepper Tretiak but could not net a fourth. Dryden got help from his crossbar late to help conserve the tie.
The Habs perhaps deserved a better fate, but this was nonetheless a special night.
Montreal would use this game as a stepping stone to becoming one of the great hockey dynasties, as the club would capture the Stanley Cup four straight times from 1976-1979.
3. 50 in 50
Through the first 49 games of the 1944-45 season, Maurice Richard had scored 49 goals. He entered the final game of the season looking to make history. No player in NHL history had scored 50 goals in a season before.
The Canadiens' opponent on March 18, 1945 was the Boston Bruins, and they wanted no part of being on the wrong side of history. Through 57 minutes, they played a tight defensive game, not allowing Richard the chance to score.
But with 2:15 remaining, Richard finally broke through, taking a feed from Elmer Lach and firing it past the Bruins goaltender.
The Rocket had done it, scoring 50 goals in 50 games. The feat would not be repeated for another 35 years.
2. 5 Straight Stanley Cups
The Canadiens entered the 1960 playoffs with a chance to do what no team had ever done in the NHL—win their fifth straight Stanley Cup.
The Canadiens opened the series with three straight wins, and on April 14, 1960, they beat the Maple Leafs 4-0 to finish a perfect postseason.
Their record fifth Stanley Cup would also prove to be the end of the greatest hockey dynasty of all time. Maurice Richard would retire later that spring, and Chicago would put an end to Montreal's dominance the following year.
1. Final Game at the Montreal Forum
The Montreal Forum first opened on November 29, 1924. Over the next 72 years, it would become the most iconic arena in hockey history, playing host to some of the greatest players and teams to ever play the game.
After more than 1,500 wins and 22 Stanley Cups (their first two were won at the Mount Royal Arena), the Forum closed its doors on March 11, 1996. Following a 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars, the closing ceremony put on by the organization was most memorable.
The former captains of the Montreal Canadiens led the "Pass the Torch" ceremony to symbolize the team's move to its new building. The oldest living captain, Emile Bouchard, started the ceremony by bringing the the torch from the Habs' dressing room to the ice surface.
It was then passed on to legends such as Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Yvan Cournoyer and others before making its way to then-captain Pierre Turgeon. The following day, a parade took the torch to the new home of the Canadiens, the Molson Centre (now the Bell Centre).
It was a touching ceremony that allowed Canadiens fans to salute all of their heroes from the past one final time. All who watched will remember the chills they had as the crowd gave Maurice Richard a 10-minute standing ovation.
What a fitting way to say farewell to one of the greatest rinks in hockey history.
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