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This Date in NHL History

Sept. 20: Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur born

Plus: Blue Jackets make preseason debut

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: Sept. 20

1951: Guy Lafleur, arguably the biggest star of the Montreal Canadiens dynasty in the late 1970s, is born in Thurso, Quebec.

After scoring 103 and 130 goals in his final two seasons with Quebec of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Lafleur is taken by the Canadiens with the No. 1 pick in the 1971 NHL Draft. He averages 26 goals through his first three seasons before breaking out with a 53-goal, 119-point performance in 1974-75. Lafleur leads the NHL in scoring with 125 points (56 goals, 69 assists) in 1975-76 and wins the Art Ross Trophy again in 1976-77 and 1977-78; in all, he scores at least 50 goals and finishes with 119 or more points in each season from 1974-75 through 1979-80. Lafleur wins the Hart Trophy as the regular-season MVP and the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1976-77, when the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup for the second time in four consecutive seasons.

Lafleur retires early in the 1984-85 season and is elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988. But at 37, he returns to the NHL with the New York Rangers in 1988-89, and scores 45 points (18 goals, 27 assists) for the Rangers, who trade him to the Quebec Nordiques in the summer of 1989. He plays two seasons with the Nordiques before retiring for good in 1991 with 1,353 points (560 goals, 793 assists) in 1,126 games in the League.

 

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1991: In a trade that winds up helping each team win the Stanley Cup, the Montreal Canadiens send forwards Stephane Richer and Tom Chorske to the New Jersey Devils for forward Kirk Muller and goaltender Roland Melanson. Muller helps the Canadiens win the Cup in 1993; Richer and Chorske are part of New Jersey's Cup-winning team in 1995.

 

2000: The NHL returns to Ohio for the first time since the demise of the Cleveland Barons in 1978 when the Columbus Blue Jackets, one of two expansion teams entering the League for the 2000-01 season, play their first home game at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets defeat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 in a preseason game that draws a packed house of 18,136.

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