No team to take the ice has won more Stanley Cup trophies than the Montreal Canadiens. Founded in 1909 – eight years before the formation of the NHL – the Canadiens are the most storied franchise in all of hockey. But what do you actually know about the Canadiens beyond their name, where they play, and the color of their jersey?
Let’s flip through the history book of the Canadiens success and failures to understand this longstanding franchise better. Continue reading to learn more about their best seasons, what years they won the Stanley Cup, and which coaches helped to get the Habs there.
Never Forget 1976-77
Having won 10 more Stanley Cups than the next closest team, the Toronto Maple Leafs with 13, the Montreal Canadiens have had many successful seasons. But few are as impressive as their 1976-77 season, when the team set multiple records still unsurpassed to this day. The 1976-77 Canadiens only lost in front of their home fans at the Montreal Forum once in 40 games. Only the Detroit Red Wings in the 2006-07 season came close to achieving this feat, with a total of four home losses.
They also collected 132 points (two points awarded for wins, one point awarded for overtime losses), as the final standings left them with a record of 60-8-12. Again, teams have tried to topple the records set by the 1976-77 Canadiens, but it has proven to be extremely difficult. The Detroit Red Wings came the closest in 1995-96, earning 131 points over their 80-game season. Close, as they say, but no cigar.
Going Steady With the Playoffs
The Montreal Canadiens have made over 30 Stanley Cup Finals appearances (pre-NHL and modern era). Even better than that, they’ve won 24 times. They had the displeasure of playing the role of finalist on the following occasions: 1917-18 to the Seattle Metropolitans; 1925-26 to the Victoria Cougars; 1947-48 to the Toronto Maple Leafs; 1951-52 to the Toronto Maple Leafs; 1952-53,1954-55, and 1955-56 to the Detroit Red Wings; 1967-68 to the Toronto Maple Leafs; and 1989-90 to the Calgary Flames.
In fact, the Canadiens have lost more semifinals and quarterfinals (24 combined) than years absent from the playoffs altogether (17). Montreal and its citizens are just used to watching their team win. However, with the Canadiens’ last trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993-94, fans are hoping they’ll see their beloved team skating deeper into the postseason once more.
Coaching for the Win
Over 20 men have coached the Canadiens in their over 100-year history. Current head coach Claude Julien has returned to Montreal for his second stint in charge of the bench. Julien first coached the Habs from 2003 to 2006, eventually leaving to head to the Boston Bruins, where he helped lead them to the Stanley Cup Finals. He also managed them in several deep postseason appearances.
The most winningest coach in Canadiens history was Dick Irvin, who was the man in charge for 15 seasons. His teams earned over 1,000 points in just under 900 games. Irvin’s teams won 431 games, and he had a .566 winning percentage. With three years at the helm, Irvin also coached a side that won the Stanley Cup Finals: 1943-44, 1945-46, and 1952-53.
Canada’s Pride and Joy
Are you rooting the Montreal Canadiens toward their first Stanley Cup Finals championship in over 20 years? Make sure you’re dressed for the part, and head to Fanatics.com for the best officially licensed Canadiens merchandise and apparel.