This Week in Canadiens History: April 12th to April 17th

MONTREAL - UNDATED: Maurice "Rocket" Richard #9 of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
MONTREAL - UNDATED: Maurice "Rocket" Richard #9 of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images) /
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April 13th

Blake Breaks the Drought

On this day, the year of our Lord 1944, the Montreal Canadiens beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime to sweep their Stanley Cup Final series and win their first Stanley Cup in 13 years. It was the longest time between Stanley Cups for the Montreal Canadiens in the entire 20th century.

Halfway through the third, the Hawks were up 4-1, but a goal from Elmer Lach and a pair from Maurice Richard forced overtime. Toe Blake assisted on all three of those third period goals. In fact, he assisted on Lach’s first period goal as well.

Blake put the finishing touches on a 5 point night by scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal just under 10 minutes into overtime. In the 9 playoff games played by the Canadiens, the Punch Line of Lach, Blake and Richard recorded 48 points.

Happy Birthday Mariusz Czerkawski!

On April 13th, 1972, Mariusz Krzysztof Czerkawski was born in Radomsko, Poland. He spent his junior career in Poland before being selected by the Boston Bruins in the 1991 NHL entry draft.

Although previous NHL players had been born in Poland, Czerkawski was the first player to be trained in Poland to make the NHL.

He played with the Bruins, but had his most successful seasons with the New York Islanders, sandwiched around a lackluster season with the Montreal Canadiens. Czerkawski had 2 30 goal and 2 20 goal seasons on Long Island, between a 4 goal season with the Canadiens.

Happy Birthday Arron Asham!

On April 13th, 1978, exactly 6 years after Czerkawski, Arron Asham was born in Portage-la-Prairie, Manitoba. He was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1996 NHL draft, and remained a member of the Canadiens until 2002.

Interestingly, after being a Montreal Canadien, Asham became a member of the New York Islanders. That is because he was traded by the Montreal Canadiens, along with a 5th round pick to the Islanders for Mariusz Czerkawski.

Asham, later as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, scored his biggest goal in a 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens to end the Habs’ cinderella run, and send the Flyers into the Stanley Cup Final in 2010. Asham scored another goal in that Final against the Blackhawks, but the Hawks would go on to win the series and the Cup.