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Grand moments

April 3rd, 1988
With two games left on the regular season schedule and 45 goals to his credit, 21-year-old Stéphane Richer still had a shot at becoming the youngest 50-goal-scorer in Canadiens history when he laced up his skates on April 2, 1988.

Montreal finished its regular season with a home-and-home weekend series against Buffalo. Returning to the line-up after missing five games, Richer wasted little time showing his intention to join one of the NHL’s most exclusive clubs, one that included both Maurice Richard and Guy Lafleur.

The Habs’ No. 44 fired plenty of rubber at Daren Puppa’s net, scoring his first goal at 12:19 of the first period to give the Canadiens a 2-1 lead and another in the second to put his side up by a 5-2 margin. Richer capped off his night’s efforts by completing his hat trick as Montreal cruised to a 9-4 win.

The story played itself out the next night at the Aud in Buffalo, with Richer beginning the game still two goals short of 50. The young forward with the booming shot could only watch as Tom Barrasso stopped his first four shots, before he finally sent one past the Sabres’ goaltender 42 seconds before end of the second period.

Then, just 4:04 into the third, 43 years after Maurice Richard first reached the mark, Richer beat Barrasso for a second time to become the sixth Canadiens player to score 50 goals in a season. A local automobile dealer came through with his promise of new wheels for the young sniper if he realized the feat and Richer was soon zipping around town in a Jaguar.

Stéphane Richer is presently the 11th-youngest player to pot 50 goals in a single NHL season.