Friday, 17 January 2014

Today in Habs History: January 17th Edition

Today marks the birthdate of one of hockey’s all-time greats, Jacques Plante. There’s been much written and recorded on the life of “Jake The Snake.” Todd Denault’s biography of the Hall of Fame goaltender is probably the best place to start, if you haven’t already read it.

But who was Pat Hughes? Well he scored his first career hat trick on this day in 1979 as a rookie, as the Canadiens defeated the Los Angeles Kings 7-3. Mark Napier (who is Hughes’ brother-in-law) had two goals as the Habs peppered Kings’ golaie Mario Lessard with 44 shots.

Hughes finished the season with 17 points in 41 games, which is impressive for a rookie on a team stacked with top minute forwards with names like Lafleur, Larouche, Shutt and co. He played eight games in the playoffs to get his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.

He had shown a consistent scoring touch in the minors, but with a multitude of offense already, and Ken Dryden retiring, the Canadiens prioritized filling the goaltending void. With that, Hughes was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Denis Herron, who, as we know, was no replacement for Dryden.

Hughes had 18 goals for the Penguins in 1979-80, but was dealt to the Edmonton Oilers during the following season. There, with a kid named Gretzky dishing out biscuits left and right, Hughes had three straight 20-plus-goal season seasons and picked up two more Stanley Cup rings.

Dealt to the Buffalo Sabres to start the 1985-86 season, Hughes never regained his scoring touch, and left the NHL after a season split between Hartford and St. Louis.

More on Pat Hughes at Greatest Hockey Legends.

Elsewhere on this day..

1942: Joe Benoit scores his first career hat trick in the Canadiens 6-2 win over the New York Rangers.

1963: Gilles Tremblay scores the 4000th goal in franchise history, and Jean Belivieau adds three assists in a 6-4 Canadiens win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

1968: Jean Beliveau’s 14th career hat trick leads the Habs to a 6-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

1973: Rejean Houle records his first career hat trick in Montreal’s 6-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

1996: In the first regular season game at the Palladium (now Scotiabank Place), Jocelyn Thibault’s 2nd shutout of the season gives the Canadiens a 3-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

2003: The Canadiens fire head coach Michel Therrien and replace him with Claude Julien. Ten years later..

Habs Born on This Day: Sylvain Turgeon (1965)

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