He is nicknamed "The Flower." In 2017, he was named one of the "100 Greatest NHL Players" in history. He played for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, and Quebec Nordiques from the years 1971 to 1981 in an NHL career spanning 17 seasons and five Stanley Cup championships.
Lafleur was born on January 4th, 1951 in Saint-Jean-de-la-République, Quebec. He is a graduate of St. Patrick School in Brookline, Massachusetts and Boston College where he played on the ice hockey team from 1969 to 1970 before turning pro. He is the father of three children: Lionel, Louise, and Gabriel.
He made his debut with the Montreal Canadiens on October 11th, 1971 in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks. He scored his first goal in a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota North Stars. As a rookie, he finished second in voting for the Calder Trophy after scoring 29 goals and adding 49 assists for 78 points in 82 games.
In 1973-74, he led the league in scoring with 126 points (36G, 90A) while playing on a line with Jean Beliveau and Rod Gilbert. He won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the league's most gentlemanly player and was also selected to play in the 1974 All-Star Game.
From 1953 until 1963, he was a member of the Montreal Canadiens. During his career, the club won the Stanley Cup six times, five of which were consecutive. Plante was named one of the "100 Greatest NHL Players of All Time" in 2017.
He died on September 17, 1983 at the age of 53.
Jacques Plante played in only 91 games over six seasons with the Canadiens, but he still ranks third all-time among goalies in franchise history behind Henri Déa and Bernie Parent.
In addition to winning the Stanley Cup six times, the Canadiens also appeared in the final eight years straight from 1955 to 1962. That's more than any other team in NHL history.
Furthermore, four of those championships took place while Plante was still playing for the club. In fact, he was the first goalie used by the Canadiens during each of their title runs. The last game he played before being traded to the New York Rangers was also his last game as a Canadien, as he finished off the season with them after being acquired in a trade with the team that would become his main employer - the Chicago Black Hawks.
After leaving Montreal, Plante went on to win two more titles with the Blackhawks. He retired after the 1967 season having won 28 games that year.
During the 1992-93 season, Oleg Petrov created team history by becoming the first Russian-born player to play for the Montreal Canadiens. In fact, he was instrumental in the team's Stanley Cup victory that season. The Habs went on to win the Cup again in 1993 after losing in game seven of the previous series. After his short career with Montreal, Petrov played for the New York Rangers, Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Petrov made his debut in the NHL on November 6, 1991, against the Boston Bruins at the Montreal Forum. That night, he replaced Chris Mason as the starting goaltender for the Canadiens. He stayed in that role for the rest of the season, posting a 9-7-3 record with a 2.70 goals against average and.908 save percentage.
In 1992-93, Petrov played in all 70 games for the Canadiens, finishing with a 31-13-6 record, a 2.33 goals against average, and a.920 save percentage. He led the league in shutouts with six, while also earning MVP honors from the NHL's official website. The Canadiens won the Presidents' Trophy as the top regular season team during this season.
After one season in Montreal, Petrov signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers on July 1, 1993.
"The Flower," as he was affectionately referred to by teammates, flowered in 1974-75, more than doubling his previous season's totals with 53 goals and 66 assists. He became the first player in NHL history to score 50 or more goals while playing in less than 70 games.
Lafleur led the league in scoring with 99 points (33G, 66A). The Montreal Canadiens finished with 107 points (37G, 70A).
Lafleur also led the league in plus/minus rating with a +52 mark. The Canes were ranked second with a +39 margin.
He was awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship and ability to lead by example. Lafleur was the first player to win this award twice.
Lafleur played in all but three games for the Habs in 1974-75, finishing with a career-high 53 goals and 66 assists. That same year, he was chosen as the MVP of the 1975 All-Star Game.
Before the start of the 1973-74 season, the NHL granted Montreal expansion rights, which resulted in the creation of the Montreal Canadiens II team.