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On This Date in Sports December 20, 1983: Guy LaFleur joins the 500 Club

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It’s a pair of milestones for the Montreal Canadiens in the Meadowlands, as Guy LaFleur nets his 500th career goal and Steve Shutt gets career goal number 400. The two goals help the Canadiens beat the New Jersey Devils 6-0. Both players would be members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, as LaFleur ended his career with 560 goals, while Shutt finished with 424 goals.

Guy LaFleur was one of the NHL’s top stars of the 1970s. It seemed like he was born to play for the Montreal Canadiens on September 20, 1951, in Thurso, Quebec. After playing with the Quebec Ramparts, he would be chosen first overall by the Canadiens in the 1971 NHL Draft. He would become the first player in NHL history with six straight 50-goal and 100-point seasons. The Canadiens won four consecutive Stanley Cup Championships to close out the decade during this period. LaFleur was able to win two Hart Trophies as the NHL MVP in 1977 and 1978, even producing his own disco album as he became one of Montreal’s all-time favorite players.

On July 1, 1952, Steve Shutt was born in Willowdale, Ontario. Shutt joined Montreal as the fourth overall pick in the 1972 NHL Draft. Not as flashy as LaFleur, he was best known for putting home rebounds, with his best season coming in 1977 when he netted 60 goals.

The Canadiens entered the game 15-16-2 under coach Bob Berry, while the Devils in their second season in New Jersey were struggling at 7-23-2 under Tom McVie. Steve Shutt’s milestone came early in the second period, with the Canadiens already holding a 2-0 lead over the Devils. Shutt got the goal on a perfect pass by Ryan Walter to beat Chico Resch. In the third period, Guy LaFleur’s milestone came on a 30-foot rising slap shot. At the time, he was just the tenth player to reach the 500-goal milestone.

Steve Shutt would retire after the 1985 season, finishing his career with the Los Angeles Kings. Guy LaFleur also retired that same season, but after being enshrined in the Hall of Fame, returned to the NHL with the New York Rangers in 1988. LaFleur would play one season in New York before finishing his career with the Quebec Nordiques in 1991.