The Montreal Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cups in their storied history, by far the most of any NHL franchise. The very first Cup-winner, in 1893, was an amateur club from Montreal. In 1910, the National Hockey Association was born, and with it the Canadiens, who took the silver bowl for the first time by beating the PCHA champion Portland Rosebuds, three games to two with the now-legendary Georges Vezina in net.
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Now members of the NHL, the fabled Canadiens and their powerhouse lineup that included such franchise luminaries as Sylvio Mantha, Howie Morenz, Aurele Joliat, Georges Vezina and Sprague Cleghorn swept the WCHL champion Calgary Tigers in a best-of-three final.
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Led by superstar center Howie Morenz (left) and left winger Aurele Joliat (center), the Habs dethroned the defending champion Boston Bruins in a two-game sweep in the 1930 final. The following season, right winger Johnny "Black Cat" Gagnon (right) joined the top line and the Habs repeated by downing the Chicago Blackhawks in a final that went the full five games.
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Left wing and captain Toe Blake ended a 13-year drought by scoring the goal that restored the old silver bowl to Montreal's possession in 1944. Blake and his legendary Punch Line of right wing Rocket Richard and center Elmer Lach ran wild with 10 of Montreal's 16 goals in a four-game sweep of Chicago. Two years later, the line was the deciding factor in a hard-fought final against Boston, won by the Habs, 4-1.
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With Toe Blake now behind the bench, the Canadiens launched a record-setting dynasty. Backstopped by Jacques Plante, the Habs won the first of five successive Cups by dusting Detroit in the final, four games to one.
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Center Jean Beliveau (left) carried on in the finest tradition of the Flying Frenchmen by setting a record for goals in one Cup final (7) in 1956.
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The victory parade became an annual event in Montreal during the late 1950s. Here, Jean Beliveau takes a little ride through town after winning the Cup in 1956.
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Rocket Richard poured the bubbly after the Habs ousted the Bruins in five games in the 1957 final. Richard torched the Bs for four goals in Game One, including a record-tying three in second period.
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Legendary backliner Doug Harvey anchored a sturdy defense that helped the Habs bump off the Bruins in a six-game rematch in 1958.
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Rocket Richard and Jean Beliveau were frequently seen smiling with their old friend Stanley during these years. In the 1960 final, the Habs capped off their record-setting streak of five Cups by sweeping Toronto as The Rocket set a career record of 34 finals tallies.
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(Left to right) Forwards Dave Balon, Dick Duff and Yvan "Road Runner" Cournoyer celebrated Lord Stanley's return to Montreal in 1965 after the Habs edged the Blackhawks in a seven-game final. The following season, the trio would enjoy a repeat after Henri Richard scored in overtime of Game 6 against Detroit.
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Coach Toe Blake retired in 1968 after winning the last of his 11 Stanley Cups (including three as a player). The silverware came in a four-game sweep of the expansion St. Louis Blues, who boasted such old friends as Doug Harvey and Dickie Moore. In 1969, new bench boss Claude Ruel would orchestrate another sweep of the Blues.
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Captain Jean Beliveau gratefully clutched Lord Stanley after the Habs redeemed themselves for failing to make the 1970 playoffs by winning it all the following season. The big story was goaltender Ken Dryden coming out of the minors late in the regular season and backstopping Montreal through a seven-game thriller final against Chicago. Two years later, Dryden and the Habs won the six-game rematch.
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The Habs' second great dynasty -- four successive Cups -- began with Guy Lafleur's two game-winners sparking a sweep of two-time defending champion Philadelphia. The run continued with a sweep of Boston in 1977 (the Habs' sixth straight finals win over the Bruins). The 1977-78 team lost only 10 regular season games and again bounced Boston in the final. The run concluded in the Forum against the New York Rangers, the first time since 1968 that the Habs had hoisted the Cup on home ice.
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With upstart goaltender Patrick Roy, 20, becoming the youngest player to win the Conn Smythe, the Canadiens doused the Calgary Flames in a five-game final. The Cup broke a tie with the New York Yankees for the most championships (23) by a professional sports franchise.
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With St. Patrick Roy again working his Conn Smyth magic between the pipes, the Canadiens captured their 24th Cup -- and last to date -- by beating Wayne Gretzky's Los Angeles Kings in five games. Three of the Habs' four wins came in overtime.
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