Maurice "Rocket" Richard emerged as the team's star in the 1940s, and during the 1944–45 season became the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a single season. Richard sparked the Richard Riot in March 1955 when he was suspended for attacking a linesman. The incident highlighted growing tensions between French Quebec and English Canada, and is regarded as one of the first manifestations of Quebec's Quiet Revolution. In 1959, Jacques Plante revolutionized the game when he became the first goaltender to consistently wear a mask during play. Under general manager Sam Pollock, the Canadiens won nine championships between 1964 and 1978. The 1976–77 team, often regarded as the greatest in NHL history, won 60 games while losing only 8, a record for fewest losses in an 80-game season. With the entry of the World Hockey Association's Quebec Nordiques to the NHL in 1979, a rivalry grew between the Canadiens and the Nordiques, peaking in 1984 when the Canadiens eliminated the Nordiques in six games, but not before the Good Friday Massacre made headlines.
Led by goaltender Patrick Roy, the Canadiens won their 23rd Stanley Cup in 1986 and their 24th in 1993. Roy won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs' most valuable player both times. The 1993 team set an NHL record with 10 consecutive overtime victories in one playoff year and is the most recent Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup. In 2003, Montreal participated in the first outdoor game in NHL history, defeating the Edmonton Oilers in the Heritage Classic.
The Hockey Hall of Fame has inducted over 50 former Canadiens players, as well as ten executives. The team has retired 15 numbers, representing 17 players, and has honoured ten off-ice personnel in its Builder's Row.
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