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Grand moments

March 18th, 1945
50 IN 50
Going into Montreal’s final regular season game in Boston, on March 18, 1945, Maurice Richard, with 49 goals in as many games already in the book, the right winger had one more chance to become the first NHLer to light the lamp 50 times in a single season.

The night before, referee King Clancy, had prevented Richard’s ascension to the lofty plateau, disallowing a goal against Chicago and causing great dismay among the Forum faithful in the process.

Determined that Richard would not hit the milestone at their expense, the Bruins gave him very little room to manoeuvre. After two periods, the score was tied at a goal apiece with Richard’s name still missing from the score sheet. Boston’s second goal gave the Bruins a lead and threatened to cancel Richard’s date with destiny.

However, with 2:15 to play, "The Rocket" made the rendez-vous, firing the puck into the net behind Harvey Bennett. The single-season scoring record holder since potting his 45th, Richard became the first NHL player to score 50 goals in a single season and the first to do it in only 50 games. It would be 16 years before another NHLer joined Richard in the 50-goal club and 30 before anyone hit the mark in as few games.

The record-setting exploit gave Montreal renewed vigor. Richard assisted on Toe Blake’s goal 57 seconds later and Elmer Lach then capped the comeback, in a 4-2 Montreal victory.