May 04, 2016

Stanley Cup Flashbacks: 1944: Rocket Richard's First Stanley Cup

The year is 1944. Rocket Richard ends the Montreal Canadiens' 14 year Stanley Cup drought.

Richard wills Montreal to victory. In 9 post-season games he scores 12 goals and 17 points. Five of those goals come in one game against Toronto in the semi-finals, earning him all three star selections at the end of the game. He adds 5 more in the finals against Chicago.

Just as impressive, and in many respects even more impressive is Toe Blake. Richard's left winger sets a record for the most playoff points (18) in a Stanley Cup season. Had assists on all five of Richards' goals in 5-1 win over Toronto and had four goals in five games against the Leafs. Had the game-winner in the opening win over Chicago and the overtime winner in the series clincher. He had points in all but one playoff tilt.

Fellow Punch Line member Elmer Lach picked up 11 points. The ambidextrous goalie Bill Durnan was spectacular throughout the playoffs, allowing just 14 goals in the 9 games.

The Canadiens arrived as real powerhouse, and would remain so for about 30 years. In 1943-44 the Canadiens only lost 5 regular season games out of 50, and finished 25 points better than second place Detroit.

With the Canadiens up 3-0 in the final series, they perhaps took game 4 a little non-nonchalantly, and fell behind early in the game. The fans, perhaps suspecting the team was tanking in order to play another game for more gate receipts, erupted in chants of "Fake! Fake!"

Obviously the Canadiens rallied to complete the sweep of the Hawks and win the Stanley Cup.

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