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April 18, 1959: Montreal Canadiens Win Their Fourth Straight Stanley Cup

Kevin van Steendelaar@@LeTirEtLeButAnalyst IApril 18, 2009

Fifty years agoApril 18, 1959the Montreal Canadiens capped off a dominant season with their fourth straight Stanley Cup.

The 1958-59 Canadiens, led by coach Hector “Toe” Blake, went 39-18-13 in the regular season.  They easily won the Prince of Wales Trophy with an 18-point lead over the second-place Boston Bruins.

Even with captain Maurice “Rocket” Richard held to only 38 points during an injury-plagued 42 games, Montreal scored a then-record 258 goals.  

Winger Dickie Moore led the Canadiens offense that season with his second straight Art Ross Trophy, amassing a record 96 points.

Jean Beliveau placed second with 91 points, then a record for centers, and rookie Ralph Backstrom earned the Calder Trophy.  

For a change of pace, Tom Johnson earned the Norris Trophy as best defenseman. The award had been won the four previous seasons by teammate Doug Harvey, who would reclaim the honor again in the next two seasons.

Jacques Plante was as dominant as ever between the pipes, earning the Vezina Trophy while playing in 67 of Montreal’s 70 games.

As the Canadiens entered the playoffs, the injury bug would strike Richard and Beliveau again, limiting them to four and three games, respectively.

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This did not affect Montreal’s drive towards the prized Stanley Cup, as the team had a plethora of future Hall of Fame inductees on the roster.

After the Chicago Blackhawks tied the semifinal series at two games apiece, the Canadiens won their next two games to take the series in six games.

Montreal advanced to its ninth consecutive Stanley Cup Finals and would face their bitter rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Canadiens won the first two games at home in the Montreal Forum, then split the two games at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Led by Ralph Backstrom’s four-point night, Montreal would put up a 5-1 lead in the fifth game and ultimately clinch the Stanley Cup with a 5-3 victory.

Marcel Bonin, considered one of the strongest players in the NHL, took the offensive  reins.  Loaning the gloves from the injured Richard, Bonin led all players with 10 playoff goals. He had scored 13 goals and 43 points in 57 regular season games.

Moore contributed five goals and a playoffs-best 12 assists.

It was the Montreal’s 11th Stanley Cup victory, breaking the Maple Leafs record of three consecutive Cup wins set a decade before.  

The Canadiens were not finished at four and would set the benchmark for Stanley Cup victories in the following season.