One last hat-trick for The Flower
Right up until he notched his third goal of the afternoon, the explosions of joy coming from the crowd couldn’t compare to the reaction after he had scored his legendary goal against the Bruins in the 1979 postseason. There was no moment as magical as when he made his grand return to Montreal to score two goals for the New York Rangers. And there was no outpouring of love quite as strong as the standing ovation accorded Maurice Richard on the day the Forum closed its doors for the last time.
|WATCH: Guy Lafleur career highlights|
“Today, what I was most focused on was making sure I had my legs going and giving the fans a show,” explained Lafleur after his final game on NHL ice. “I wanted to at least score one goal, that’s all I could have asked for. I’m not exactly going to be talking about that last goal in my new book if I ever decide to write one, but for me the whole day was really special.
“The last four days, the more I thought about the game, the more sore I’ve felt,” added the 59-year-old Hall-of-Famer with a laugh. “I was just hoping not to feel bad at all today. Turns out, I felt pretty good!”
After seeing Lafleur complete the hat-trick, referees Ron Fournier and Kerry Fraser fittingly called the game five minutes early, making the legendary winger’s goal the final one of the afternoon. The 15,835 fans in attendance were thrilled to see “The Flower” hit the ice one last time, along with congratulatory messages from fellow Habs legends Jean Beliveau, Yvan Cournoyer and Henri Richard.
“I had a hard time [holding back tears], but I think I did a pretty good job,” laughed Lafleur, who racked up 518 goals with the Habs in 14 years in Montreal.
Two stops still remain on Lafleur’s farewell tour, including December 12 in his hometown of Thurso and February 27 in Quebec City.