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On This Date in Sports March 25, 1980: Lucky Larouche

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

 

Pierre Larouche of the Montreal Canadiens becomes the first player to score 50 goals with two different teams. Larouche previously scored 53 goals with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1975/76 season. Lucky Pierre scored a pair of goals, including one with 25 seconds left as the Canadiens defeated the Chicago Black Hawks 8-4 at the Montreal Forum. It would be the final goals of the season for Larouche. 

Pierre Larouche was born on November 16, 1955, in Taschereau, Quebec. After becoming the top scorer in the QMJHL with the Sorel Eperviers, Larouche was drafted with the eighth overall pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins. After a strong rookie season in which he scored 31 goals with 37 assists, Lucky Pierre Larouche became the youngest player to score 50 goals and net 100 points at the age of 20 in 1976, finishing the season with 53 goals and 58 assists, with a total of 111 points. Both records would be topped by Wayne Gretzky.

Pierre Larouche was unable to match the numbers in his third season and was traded early in his fourth season to the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens acquired Larouche along with future considerations for Pete Mahovlich and Peter Lee. Larouche would not put up high individual numbers in his first two seasons in Montreal as he dealt with injuries. However, he played on two Stanley Cup-winning teams.

In the 1979/80 season, Pierre Larouche was healthy and again found his scoring touch, finishing the season with 50 goals and 41 assists as he shared the team lead with Guy Lafleur in goals scored. Lafleur and Larouche helped each other out in 1980 as they were paired on the same line with Steve Shutt by new coach Claude Ruel, who took over after Bernie Geoffrion struggled early in the season. 

Pierre Larouche never had another 50-goal season. Larouche played one more season in Montreal before an early-season trade in the 1981/82 season sent him to the Hartford Whalers. After two seasons with the Whalers, Pierre Larouche signed with the New York Rangers in 1983, and narrowly missed scoring 50 goals, again, finishing the 1983/84 season with 48 goals. It would be Larouche’s final big season in the NHL as he never reached the same levels again, retiring in 1988.