On Dec. 29, 2008 the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Florida Panthers 5-2 to become the first NHL team to record 3,000 victories. It's only appropriate for the Canadiens to reach that milestone first since they are the NHL's most successful franchise. As of 2010, Montreal has won 24 Stanley Cups. The first was in 1916 and the most recent was in 1993. This impressive feat has been punctuated by several dominate eras.
From 1956 to 1960, the team won five consecutive champions and from 1976 to 1979 the team won four consecutive championships. The Canadiens lost only eight games out of an 80-game season in 1976-1977. Needless to say, that's an NHL record. The club that won the 1986 and 1993 Stanley Cups were led by goalie extraordinaire Patrick Roy.
Other great Canadiens include Maurice "Rocket Richard, Toe Blake, Jean Beliveau, Dickie More, Henri Richard, Guy LaFleur, Yvan Cournoyer, and Larry Robinson. Montreal Canadiens hockey is represented in the Hockey Hall of Fame by forty-four players. They are the oldest North American hockey team having been founded in 1909 by J. Ambrose O'Brien. The Canadiens were founded for the francophone community in Montreal with the intention of francophones playing on the team. The Canadiens were charter members of the National Hockey Association and they formed the NHL, along with three other clubs, in 1917. They are also a part of the league's "Original Six."
The Canadiens are aligned in the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference. Canadiens tickets are sold to Bell Centre located in Montreal, Quebec. Before moving into the Bell Centre, the team sold Montreal Canadiens tickets to the Montreal Forum. The team called the Forum home for seven decades and many hockey fans considered the venue as a shrine to the sport. The Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs are the NHL's oldest rivalry. After the Leafs, the "Habs" most heated rivals are the Boston Bruins.