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The Montreal Canadiens were founded in 1909 as a member of the National Hockey Association, a precursor to the National Hockey League. The team quickly established itself as a powerhouse, winning its first Stanley Cup in 1916. Over the next two decades, the Canadiens would win five more championships, including three straight from 1930 to 1932.
In the 1940s, the Canadiens became the dominant team in the NHL. Led by legendary coach Toe Blake and star players like Maurice "Rocket" Richard, Jean Beliveau, and Doug Harvey, the Canadiens won six Stanley Cups between 1944 and 1953. Richard, in particular, became a cultural icon in Quebec, known for his blazing speed, fierce competitiveness, and devotion to the Canadiens.
The Canadiens continued to be a competitive team throughout the 1950s and 1960s, thanks to the contributions of players like Henri Richard, Jacques Plante, and Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion. In 1960, the team won its first Stanley Cup in five years, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in the final. The Canadiens would win four more championships in the 1960s, including a historic run in 1965-66, when they won the Stanley Cup without losing a single playoff game.
In the 1970s, the Canadiens continued to be a dominant force in the NHL, thanks to the contributions of players like Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden, and Larry Robinson. The team won six more Stanley Cups between 1971 and 1979, establishing itself as one of the greatest dynasties in the history of professional sports. The Canadiens' success in the 1970s was also notable for the team's commitment to integrating francophone players into the roster, a move that helped to cement the Canadiens' place as a cultural institution in Quebec.
The Canadiens continued to be a competitive team throughout the 1980s and 1990s, thanks to the contributions of players like Patrick Roy, Chris Chelios, and Mats Naslund. In 1986 and 1993, the team won two more Stanley Cups, with Roy winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP in both years.
The 1993 championship was particularly memorable, as the Canadiens entered the playoffs as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and faced a formidable lineup of opponents, including the Quebec Nordiques, the Buffalo Sabres, and the New York Islanders. In the Stanley Cup Final, the Canadiens faced the Los Angeles Kings, a team that had dominated the regular season and was widely expected to win the championship. The Canadiens won the series in five games, with John LeClair scoring the series-winning goal in Game 5.
The Canadiens struggled in the early 2000s, but they rebounded in the late 2000s and early 2010s with a roster that included star players like Carey Price, P.K. Subban, and Max Pacioretty. In 2010, the team reached the Eastern Conference Final, but they lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in five games. In 2014, the Canadiens again reached the Eastern Conference Final, but they lost to the New York Rangers in six games.
Today, the Canadiens continue to be one of the most popular and successful franchises in the NHL. With a rich history and a passionate fan base, the Canadiens are a true institution in the world of professional sports.