in collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
With a 4-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Maple Leaf Gardens, the Montreal Canadiens complete a four-game sweep to win their fifth straight Stanley Cup Championship. It is the 12th overall Stanley Cup title for the Canadiens. It is also the end of an era as Maurice Ricard retires following the game. In 17 seasons, the Rocket guided Montreal to the Stanley Cup eight times.
Following the infamous Richard Riots in 1955, the Montreal Canadiens played with purpose and determination. Despite playing without Maurice Richard, who was suspended for the postseason for hitting a linesman in, the Canadiens came within one game of winning the Stanley Cup in 1955, losing to the Detroit Red Wings in seven games.
As Maurice Richard, the Canadiens assembled the greatest dynasty in NHL history. Under new coach Toe Blake, the Habs posted 45-15-10 record in the 1955/56 season; they would go on to cruise to the Stanley Cup, beating the New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings, winning each series in five games.
The Canadiens finished in second place during the 1956/57 season with a record 35-23-12. Once again, it was a postseason of dominance for the Canadiens, as they again needed just five games in each series. In the first round, the Habs again beat the Rangers, while the Boston Bruins would go down in the Stanley Cup Finals after upsetting the Red Wings in the semifinals.
The Montreal Canadiens claimed their third straight Stanley Cup Championship in 1957/58. Once again, they were the regular-season champions with a record of 43-17-10. In the semifinals, the Canadiens made quick work of the Detroit Red Wings, winning four straight games. Facing the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Habs needed six games to continue their dynasty.
The Montreal Canadiens became the first team to win the Stanley Cup four straight seasons. The Canadiens were the best team in the regular season, posting a record of 39-18-13. The Canadiens were pushed to six games by the Chicago Black Hawks, before meeting the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Canadiens would need just five games to take down the Maple Leafs.
As the 1950s ended, the Canadiens dynasty continued as they posted a record of 40-18-12 to win the regular season. At the time, the NHL’s regular-season champions laid claim to the Prince of Wales Trophy. It was a notable season for the Canadiens in that Jacques Plante became the first goalie to regularly wear a mask. Plante would win the Vezina as the top goalie in the NHL. The Canadiens wasted no time reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, as they swept the Chicago Black Hawks. Winning the first two games 4-3 and blanking the Black Hawks in the next two games 4-0 and 2-0. Along the way, Dickie Moore was the top scorer with four goals.
Facing the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Montreal Canadiens jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead on goals by Dickie Moore, Doug Harvey, and Jean Beliveau. Toronto would score a pair of goals in the second period, but Montreal, with a goal by Henri Richard, won the opener 4-2. Dickie Moore scored 86 seconds into Game 2, Beliveau added a goal four minutes later. The Maple Leafs would answer with a goal by Larry Regan but could not get closer, as the Canadiens won 2-1. As the series shifted to Toronto for Game 3, the Canadiens continued to dominate, winning 5-2 as five different players lit the lamp, including Maurice Richard, who notched the final goal of his career.
Leading 3-0, the Montreal Canadiens went into Game 4, looking to complete the sweep. Eight minutes into the first period, saw Montreal take a 2-0 lead as Jean Beliveau and Doug Harvey scored 29 seconds apart. In the second period, the Canadiens made it 3-0 on a goal by Henri Richard, Beliveau added a second goal in the third period, as Jacques Plante stopped all 30 shots for the 4-0 shutout.
At the time of retirement, Maurice Richard was the NHL’s top scorer with 544 career goals.