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 14th

The Drive For Five

On this day, the year of our Lord 1960, the Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-0 to win their Stanley Cup Final series 4-0 and win the 1960 Stanley Cup. Jean Beliveau scored two goals and Bernie Geoffrion registered 3 assists.

It put a cap on one of the most dominant playoff runs ever, sweeping both the Blackhawks and the Leafs, and it was the 5th Stanley Cup the Montreal Canadiens won in a row, the only time that had been accomplished.

The 1960-61 season saw the Montreal Canadiens finish first in the NHL off of 90+ point seasons from Beliveau and Geoffrion, but would lose to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 in the first round of the playoffs.

Happy Birthday Dave Allison!

On April 14th, 1959, Dave Allison was born in Fort Frances, Ontario. Allison played just 3 games in the NHL, all with the Montreal Canadiens, finishing with no points, a -3 rating and 12 penalty minutes.

But Allison is perhaps better known as his almost as short career as an NHL head coach. The Ottawa Senators had been superglued to the bottom of the NHL standings since returning to the league in 1992. By the 1995-96 season, their best player, Alexei Yashin, refused to play for the team.

Allison had been the head coach of the Prince Edward Island Senators, the AHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators, but had became the head coach of the NHL team after Rick Bowness was fired. But Allison was thrust into a terrible team and finished his coaching career with a 2-22-1 record.

It is one of the least successful head coaching tenures in history. With a point percentage of .100, which is the lowest of any coach that played at least 20 games.

Happy Birthday Sylvio Mantha!

On April 14th, 1902, Thomas Sylvio Theobald Mantha was born in Montreal, Quebec. Mantha started his hockey career as a winger, but was moved to the back end, and became one of the league’s best two-way defenders of his generation.

Mantha got his first NHL action in Montreal after Billy Coutu was injured and Sprague Cleghorn was suspended, naturally in 1924. Come 1927, Coutu and Cleghorn were traded and Mantha was named captain of the Canadiens.

Mantha scored the first goal in one of hockey’s legendary arenas, Boston Gardens in 1928. In 1936 Canadiens’ coach Newsy Lalonde was suspended and Mantha played 2 games as a player-coach. He impressed enough to garner a full time player-coach position in 1938, but the Montreal Canadiens finished at the bottom of the league that year, and Mantha was fired.

After playing just 4 games with the Boston Bruins to replace injured Eddie Shore, Mantha retired as a player, but remained as an official in the NHL. Mantha was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1960.