In 1962-63, Laperriere made his NHL debut with the Montreal Canadiens. scoring 2 assists in 6 games. He also played in 5 playoff games that season, but spent the majority of his time with the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens of the Eastern Professional Hockey League, seeing action in 40 games, scoring 8 goals and 27 points.
The following season he became a full time NHLer, playing 65 games with Montreal, scoring his first 2 NHL goals on his way to 30 points and a career high 102 penalty minutes. His defensive play as a rookie was quite impressive, as he made few mistakes game after game, which led to him winning the Calder Trophy as the NHL Rookie of the Year as well as being named to the NHL Second All-Star Team at the conclusion of the season.
Just prior to the start of the 1964-65 season, Laperriere played in the 1964 NHL All-Star Game, which at the time was held before the regular season, rather than the current mid-season location on the schedule.
The 1964-65 season saw Laperriere post similar offensive numbers with 5 goals at 27 points as well as 92 penalty minutes. During the playoffs, Laperriere played in 6 of Montreal's 13 playoff games as they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4 games to 2 in the Semifinals before defeating the Chicago Black Hawks in a series that went the full seven games before the Canadiens won the deciding game 4-0 to get Laperriere's name engraved on the Stanley Cup for the first time of his career.
Tall for his day at 6' 2", the smooth skating Laperriere used his long reach to stymie his opponents on a consistent basis while is steady offensive contributions continued for the 1965-66 season with 6 goals and 31 points. His fine play that season was recognized when he was named the winner of the Norris Trophy as the NHL's Best Defenseman for 1966 despite only playing in 57 games. Although he missed the playoffs, a controversial Game 7 overtime goal by Henri Richard won the Stanley Cup for the Canadiens, earning Laperriere his name on the Stanley Cup for the second time.
While Laperriere did not score a goal during the 1966-67 season, he contributed his customary 20 assists. While Montreal made it to the Stanley Cup Finals once again, the came up short against Toronto 4 games to 2.
The 1967-68 season saw Laperriere score 4 goals and 25 points during the season the NHL expanded from six teams to twelve. The great expansion led to the addition of another round of the playoffs, and Montreal demonstrate their utter dominance by sweeping the Boston Bruins in four before eliminating the Black Hawks 4 games to 1 to advance to the Finals, where they swept the expansion St. Louis Blues to win Laperriere's third Stanley Cup.
1968-69 was a virtual repeat of the previous season, as Laperriere scored 5 goals and matched his career high with 31 points. The Canadiens again had an easy time of it in the Eastern Division playoffs, which was comprised of all of the established, much stronger Original 6 teams, as they swept the New York Rangers in four and eliminated the Bruins in six to advance to the finals, where they once again faced off against St. Louis. Montreal had finished the season with a league best 103 points, 15 points better than the Blues 88. The might of the Canadiens was too great for St. Louis, as Montreal won in four straight for the second year in a row, outscoring the Blues 12-3 in the series, thanks in no small part to Laperriere's strong defensive play
Laperriere set a career high in 1969-70 with 37 points from 6 goals and 31 assists, his seventh consecutive season of 20 points or more. Shockingly, Montreal missed the playoffs, losing a tie breaker to the Rangers for the fourth and final East Division playoff spot, despite their 92 points being more points than the West Division winning Blues 86 points!
The Canadiens regrouped in 1970-71, and solidly qualified for the playoffs. Laperriere's season was limited by injuries to 49 games and just 16 assists, he was recovered in time for the postseason, where he went on a tear, scoring 4 goals and 13 points in 20 games while controlling the play every time he was on the ice. The new playoff format saw the Canadiens defeat the rival Bruins in 7 games before defeating the Minnesota North Stars in six to advance to the Finals against the Chicago Black Hawks. The series went the full seven games and Laperriere was on the ice at the end, trusted by head coach Al MacNeil to protect the Canadiens 3-2 lead and he was the first player to hug the Canadiens young phenomenon in goal, Ken Dryden. Montreal was the last team to win
Laperriere rebounded with a 73 game season in 1971-72, scoring 28 points. He was again slowed by injuries in 1972-73, but still managed his customary 23 points in only 57 games during the regular season. Healthy enough to play in 10 of Montreal's 17 playoff games, the Canadiens defeated the Buffalo Sabres in 6, the Philadelphia Flyers in 5 and earned Laperriere his sixth Stanley Cup after they beat the Black Hawks in six games. That season, Laperriere also led the NHL with a +78 rating, becoming the only player other than Bobby Orr to lead the league between 1969 and 1975.
His final NHL season of 1973-74 was cut short after 42 games when Laperriere suffered a knee injury that ended his career after 691 games played with 40 goals and 242 assists for 282 points and a +241 rating, a Calder Trophy, a Norris Trophy and six Stanley Cups. Additionally, Laperriere played in five NHL All-Star Games (1964, 1965, 1967, 1968 and 1970) and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987.
Following his playing career, Laperriere would become an assistant coach to the Canadiens for 16 seasons, which included winning two more Stanley Cups in 1986 and 1993. He later would be on the coaching staff of the Bruins, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils.
Today's featured jersey is a 1962-63 Montreal Canadiens Jacques Laperriere jersey as worn during his rookie season in the NHL. This style jersey dates back to 1941 and, aside from a version with a blue stripe around the chest for three years in the late 40's, has remained essentially unchanged ever since.
Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1967-68 Montreal Canadiens Jacques Laperriere jersey as worn during the season the Canadiens won the fifth of six Stanley Cups Laperriere would win during his 12 year career with Montreal.
The Canadiens red sweaters with the blue band around the chest date back to before the formation of the NHL in 1917 and this exact variation with the lace up collar and numbers inside the arms stripes dates back to 1966-67 and remained in use through 1974-75 when it was replaced by a new v-neck collar.
Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1973-74 Montreal Canadiens Jacques Laperriere jersey as worn during the final season of his NHL career.