Who is that masked man? A humble rookie goaltender called up from the AHL by the Canadiens in the spring of 1971 and not expected to make much of an impact. But Ken Dryden would soon win a Stanley Cup (and several others after that), eventually becoming a legend in Montreal.
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After winning all six of his regular-season appearances, with a 1.65 goals-against average, Dryden was rewarded by starting the first round of the playoffs. He shocked the powerful Boston Bruins of Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr, who had home ice advantage, in seven games.
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With the calm and technically impressive Drydan continuing to shine, the Habs knocked off Minnesota, then beat Chicago Blackhawks in seven games in the Stanley Cup Finals.
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At the tender age of 23, Dryden had become the second rookie goaltender -- and first since Toronto's Frank McCool in 1945 -- to lead his team to the championship.
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Dryden's playoff heroics and numbers (12-8, 3.00 GAA) earned him the Conn Smythe Trophy on a team that featured such all-time greats as Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard and Yvan Cournoyer.
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Still technically a rookie, Dryden nailed down the starting job in 1971-72, posting a 39-8-15 mark with a 2.24 GAA while becoming the first netminder in NHL history to win the Calder Trophy after winning the Conn Smythe and the Stanley Cup.
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A thoughtful student of the game and his position, Dryden backstopped the Habs to another Cup in 1972-73, winning his first Vezina Trophy in the process.
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Never one to do the expected, Dryden stunned the world of hockey by walking away from the game at the age of 26 after two Cups in three seasons. He took a job at a Toronto law firm for a salary of $7,500.
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With Montreal coming off a first-round playoff exit in 1974 and in dire need of dependable goaltending, Dryden was coaxed out of retirement and he barely missed a beat in 1974-75 -- winning 30 games and another 11 in the playoffs before the Habs fell one round shy of the finals.
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Montreal recaptured the Cup in 1976, with Dryden sporting otherworldly postseason numbers (12-1, 1.92). The following season, he was even better: four shutouts and a miserly 1.56 GAA in postseason play as the Habs successfully defended their championship en route to a run of four straight.
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After the 1978-79 season, Dryden retired for good with six Cups, five Vezinas, 258 wins, 46 shutouts, a 2.24 GAA (80-32, 2.40 in postseason) and 23 assists for good measure. A 1983 Hall of Fame inductee, he has been just as productive off the ice, working as a broadcaster, professor, author, GM of the arch-rival Maple Leafs, and member of Canada's Parliament.
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