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season card
GP Games played - Number of games the team has played
W Wins - Games the team has won, either in regulation or in overtime
L Losses - Games the team has lost in regulation
T Ties - Games that have ended in a tie
PTS Points - Team points, calculated from W, L, T, OTL and SOL; used to determine standings
GF Goals for - Number of goals the team has scored
GA Goals against - Number of goals scored against the team
Pittsburgh Penguins 82 49 29 4 102 362 284
Boston Bruins 82 40 31 11 91 282 269
Montreal Canadiens 82 40 32 10 90 265 248
Hartford Whalers 82 34 39 9 77 237 259
Buffalo Sabres 82 33 42 7 73 247 262
Ottawa Senators 82 18 59 5 41 191 291
Season's leaders see the complete stats
GP Games played - Number of games the player has set foot on the ice
G Goals - Number of goals the player has scored
A Assists - Number of goals the player has assisted in
PTS Points - Scoring points, calculated as the sum of G and A
77 Pierre Turgeon 80 38 58 96
25 Vincent Damphousse 80 38 56 94
8 Mark Recchi 82 28 50 78
26 Martin Rucinsky 56 25 35 60
11 Saku Koivu 82 20 25 45
GP Games played - Number of games the player has set foot on the ice
RECORD Record - Goalie record (W-L-T)
SO Shutouts - Number of games where the goaltender has not allowed a goal
GAA Goals against average - Mean goals-per-game scored on the goaltender
41 Jocelyn Thibault 40 23-13-3 3 2.83
Season results


At the beginning of the season, the team’s frustration over missing the playoffs the previous spring is palpable.

The Canadiens welcome two young players to the dressing room, Saku Koivu and Marko Kiprusoff, both of whom were members of the Finnish national team that won the world championship a few months earlier.

The Habs get off to a slow start with four straight losses by scores of 7-1, 6-1, 3-1 and 4-1. Team president Ronald Corey has seen enough and immediately cleans house. He fires general manager Serge Savard, who has held the position since 1983, as well as head coach Jacques Demers and his assistants.

A few days later, Corey introduces Rejean Houle as the team’s GM and Mario Tremblay as head coach. Yvan Cournoyer and Steve Shutt are also brought in as assistant coaches.

The huge changes rejuvenate the team and spark immediate results. The Habs win six in a row under Tremblay and accomplish the same feat in November.

While it appears the recovery is complete, with the team sitting in fifth place overall in the Eastern Conference at the end of November, things boil over on December 2.

In a game against the Detroit Red Wings, the team quickly falls behind 5-1 in the first period. Tremblay decides to leave Roy in goal while the Red Wings continue to score at will. Backup goalie Pat Jablonski finally relieves Roy with the Canadiens trailing 9-1. Roy, furious about the coach’s decision to leave him in goal during the blowout, demands to be traded.

On December 6, Roy is dealt to the Colorado Avalanche along with team captain Mike Keane in exchange for goalie Jocelyn Thibault and forwards Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko. Pierre Turgeon becomes the team’s new captain. He will proudly carry the torch by leading the team in scoring at the end of the season.

On March 11, the Canadiens play their final game at the legendary Forum before moving into the brand-new Molson Centre. The Canadiens claim victory in the great arena’s swan song, posting a 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars. Kovalenko scores the historic final goal at the Forum. A classy and emotional ceremony follows the game where Maurice Richard is accorded a standing ovation that lasts nearly 10 minutes.

Five days later, at the Molson Centre, the Canadiens beat the New York Rangers, 4-2 and Vincent Damphousse scores the first goal in the team’s new home.

The team finishes the season sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 40-32-10 mark and earns the right to play spring hockey after missing the playoffs the previous season.


In the first round, the Canadiens face the New York Rangers, two years removed from a Stanley Cup Championship. Jocelyn Thibault stands out in the first two games in New York, stopping a total of 78 shots to help the Habs grab a 2-0 series lead.

Thibault continues his strong play in Game 3 and holds the Rangers to two goals on 35 shots. Montreal’s offense only manages 17 shots against Mike Richter, though, and New York wins, 2-1. Mark Messier and the Rangers continue their winning ways from there, eliminating the Canadiens in six games.

Damphousse still manages to record eight postseason points, while Turgeon notches six.

The playoffs roadmap
Conference quarter-finals - New York Rangers
Date AWAY   HOME  
April 16th, 1996 MTL 3 NYR 2  
April 18th, 1996 MTL 5 NYR 3  
April 21st, 1996 NYR 2 MTL 1  
April 23rd, 1996 NYR 4 MTL 3  
April 26th, 1996 MTL 2 NYR 3  
April 28th, 1996 NYR 5 MTL 3  
New York won best-of-seven series 4-2