Montreal was one of the founders of the National Hockey League in 1917. There were in fact two teams in the city in that first year, the Wanderers and the Canadiens. Both had also played in the National Hockey Association. The Wanderers did not finish the season, leaving the Canadiens as Montreal’s only team until 1924 when the Maroons joined the league. The Maroons folded in 1938, and the Canadiens have been the sole team in Montreal ever since.
There have been a total of five arenas used to play NHL games in Montreal: Montreal Arena, Mount Royal Arena, Jubilee Arena, Montreal Forum, and the current arena, Bell Centre.
Here is a list of the top ten scorers in each of the five arenas.
Montreal Arena/Westmount Arena
The Montreal Arena, also known as the Westmount Arena, was used by the Canadiens and Wanderers of the NHA starting in 1911. It was used for both teams’ home games in the NHL.
|Newsy Lalonde||7||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Harry Hyland||6||All with Montreal Wanderers.|
|Joe Malone||5||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Harry Cameron||4||All with Toronto Arenas.|
|Reg Noble||4||All with Toronto Arenas.|
|Jack McDonald||3||All with Montreal Wanderers.|
|Didier Pitre||3||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Dave Ritchie||3||All with Montreal Wanderers.|
|Bert Corbeau||2||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Billy Coutu||2||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Corb Denneny||2||All with Toronto Arenas.|
|Cy Denneny||2||All with Ottawa Senators.|
Only four games were played at Westmount before the arena burned down on January 2, 1918. The Wanderers played there on December 19 (a 10-9 win over Toronto), December 22 (an 11-2 loss to the Canadiens), and December 26 (a 6-3 loss to Ottawa). The Canadiens beat Toronto 9-2 in their only home game at the arena, on December 29. The Canadiens were scheduled to host the Wanderers on January 2. The Wanderers forfeited the next two games, and never played again.
Despite playing only two games there, Newsy Lalonde tops the list with 7 goals.
There are actually only 9 other players who scored at Westmount, each with one goal: Billy Bell (Wanderers), Louis Berlinquette (Canadiens), George Boucher (Ottawa), Jack Darragh (Ottawa), Frank Nighbor (Ottawa), Art Ross (Wanderers), Hamby Shore (Ottawa), Alf Skinner (Toronto), and Phil Stevens (Wanderers).
The Canadiens and Wanderers had also played at Jubilee Arena for a few NHA seasons. The Canadiens moved back there when Westmount Arena burned down.
|Joe Malone||29||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Newsy Lalonde||22||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Didier Pitre||18||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Odie Cleghorn||12||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Jack McDonald||11||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Cy Denneny||8||All with Ottawa Senators.|
|Harry Cameron||7||5 with Toronto Arenas, 2 with Ottawa Senators|
|Joe Hall||6||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Eddie Gerard||5||All with Ottawa Senators.|
|Frank Nighbor||5||All with Ottawa Senators.|
|Reg Noble||5||All with Toronto Arenas.|
The Canadiens played the rest of the 1917-18 season at Jubilee, and all of the 1918-19 season. Joe Malone scored 29 goals despite missing most of the 1918-19 season, and playing only 16 games there in total. As is often the case for the early NHL arenas, Cy Denneny of the Senators is the highest scoring visiting player. Just like Westmount before it, Jubilee also burned down, doing so during the off-season in 1919.
Mount Royal Arena
Mount Royal Arena was built to replace Jubilee, but was not completed in time for the start of the 1919-20 season. The Canadiens played a long road trip to begin the season, and played their first game at Mount Royal on January 10, 1920.
|Billy Boucher||50||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Odie Cleghorn||45||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Newsy Lalonde||45||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Aurel Joliat||36||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Howie Morenz||34||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Sprague Cleghorn||30||26 with Montreal Canadiens, 2 with Boston Bruins, 1 with Ottawa Senators, 1 with Toronto St. Patricks.|
|Louis Berlinquette||22||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Amos Arbour||18||16 with Montreal Canadiens, 2 with Hamilton Tigers.|
|Dider Pitre||18||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Billy Coutu||17||13 with Montreal Canadiens, 4 with Hamilton Tigers.|
|Babe Dye||17||All with Toronto St. Patricks.|
|Joe Malone||17||10 with Hamilton Tigers, 6 with Quebec Bulldogs, 1 with Montreal Canadiens.|
Among the highest scorers are the Cleghorn brothers; Billy Boucher, who was one of the four Boucher brothers to play in the NHL; Newsy Lalonde, who only played three seasons at Mount Royal; and Aurel Joliat and Howie Morenz, who were also star players at the Forum. Joe Malone rejoined the Quebec franchise when it was reactivated in 1919, but he also scored one final goal while playing for Montreal in 1923. The highest scoring player who never played for Montreal is Toronto’s Babe Dye.
The last game at Mount Royal Arena was March 16, 1926. Meanwhile, the Montreal Maroons had joined the league in 1924 and played in the new Forum. The Canadiens joined them there in 1926.
Mount Royal eventually burned down as well, decades later in 2000.
The Forum opened on November 29, 1924, as the home of the new Montreal Maroons. It was the Canadiens, however, who played the first game there. The Maroons played at the Forum until they folded after the 1937-38 season. The Canadiens moved into the Forum in 1926 and played there for almost 70 years, until March 11, 1996.
|Maurice Richard||324||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Guy Lafleur||306||303 with Montreal Canadiens, 2 with New York Rangers, 1 with Quebec Nordiques.|
|Jean Beliveau||291||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Yvan Cournoyer||240||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Steve Shutt||226||225 with Montreal Canadiens, 1 with Los Angeles Kings.|
|Bernie Geoffrion||215||211 with Montreal Canadiens, 4 with New York Rangers.|
|Jacques Lemaire||207||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Henri Richard||203||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Mario Tremblay||144||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Claude Provost||143||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
The Forum was one of the most famous NHL arenas. It was the home of the Canadiens dynasties of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, and the team won 22 Stanley Cups there in total. From this list, all but Tremblay and Provost have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The top ten scorers (as well as number 11, Mats Naslund, with 141) all played after the Maroons era. Number 12 on the list is Aurel Joliat, who scored 140 goals at the Forum, including 2 at the opening game in 1924. He scored 22 of those goals at away games against the Maroons.
The next highest scorer from the Maroons era is Howie Morenz. Of his 119 goals at the Forum, 11 were at away games against the Maroons. He also scored once at the opening game in 1924, and once with the Chicago Blackhawks, against the Canadiens.
The only Maroons player who comes close to making the list is Nels Stewart, with 125. Stewart scored 104 goals at the Forum with the Maroons, 7 of which were at Canadiens home games. He scored another 8 goals at the Forum with Boston (4 each against the Canadiens and Maroons), and another 13 with the New York Americans (6 against the Canadiens, 7 against the Maroons).
Richard, who passed Stewart for the NHL goal-scoring record in 1952, ended up scoring as many goals at the Forum as Stewart scored in his entire career.
The highest scorer who never played for Montreal is Gordie Howe, with 58.
Bell Centre/Molson Centre
The Canadiens have played at the Bell Centre, originally known as Molson Centre, since March 16, 1996. Active players as of the end of the 2011-12 season are in italics.
|Saku Koivu||101||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Tomas Plekanec||68||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Alex Kovalev||61||55 with Montreal Canadiens, 3 with Ottawa Senators, 2 with Pittsburgh Penguins, 1 with New York Rangers.|
|Brian Savage||57||56 with Montreal Canadiens, 1 with Philadelphia Flyers.|
|Michael Ryder||55||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Martin Rucinsky||52||49 with Montreal Canadiens, 2 with New York Rangers, 1 with St. Louis Blues.|
|Andrei Kostitsyn||50||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Mark Recchi||48||45 with Montreal Canadiens, 3 with Philadelphia Flyers.|
|Richard Zednik||44||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
|Chris Higgins||44||All with Montreal Canadiens.|
The only active player currently playing for Montreal (as of the end of 2011-12) is Plekanec. He is unlikely to pass Koivu’s total next season, but he probably will if he continues to play for the Canadiens.
The highest scoring players who have never played for Montreal are Daniel Alfredsson and Jaromir Jagr, each with 13.
My main sources were the game summaries at the Hockey Summary Project, up to the 1986-87 season. For the seasons not covered by the HSP (most of 1926-27 to 1951-52, except the Philadelphia Quakers’ 1930-31 season, 1938-39, and 1942-43), I used the Google News archives of the Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Daily Herald and Calgary Herald, Border Cities Star and Windsor Daily Star, Saskatoon Phoenix and Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Pittsburgh Press, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Sports Illustrated article “One Skate in Valhalla” (Pete Axthelm, February 12, 1968) broke down the first 400 goals of Maurice Richard, Gordie Howe, and Bobby Hull into home and away goals. Of Richard’s first 400, 239 were scored at home; number 239 was his 399th goal overall, scored December 16, 1954. Counting forwards from there brought me to the total of 324, and a second count, starting over from the beginning, also ended up at 324. This agrees with a press release issued by the Canadiens and posted to the Hockey History Yahoo Group, which listed the top five scorers in franchise history (who all happened to have played at the Forum). I have also confirmed the other totals and separated them by team when necessary.
For 1987-88 to the present, I used Hockey Reference’s Play Finder, which is able to separate goals into home and away goals.
For a list of the top scorers at all the regular home arenas, see my list of goals per arena.
As always, comments and corrections are welcome!