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March 23, 2013

Great Moments In Hockey History: Rocket Richard Named 1st, 2nd and 3rd Star!

On March 23rd, 1944 Rocket Richard put on one of the greatest shows in Stanley Cup playoffs history. In doing so, he earned a very unique honour.

Playing in his second career playoff game, "The Rocket" scored all five goals to lead the Canadiens to a 5-1 victory over Toronto, in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals. Newspapers in both cities headlined their sports sections with "Richard 5 - Toronto 1."

The five goal outburst tied the NHL record for goals in a playoff game. Another Montreal legend, Newsy Lalonde, set the mark in 1919.

And to make it even more interesting, on newspaper report at the time said Richard played the game with Leo Lamoureux's stick.

After the game Montreal sports writer Elmer Ferguson awarded all of the 3 Stars to the Rocket, a first in NHL history!

Funnily enough, legend has it that when the P.A. announcer first called Richard as the third star of the game, the fans all booed in disbelief. But when they announced Rocket as also the second star, fans quickly realized what was going on. By the time they called Rocket as the 1st star as well, the Montreal Forum was a boisterous place!

Interestingly, the Rocket may have had a chance to break the record, but legend has it that coach Dick Irvin kept Richard on the bench for the final 10 minutes or so. The game was well in hand and he did not want to risk losing his star player to injury.

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