1968–69 NHL season
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||October 11, 1968 – May 4, 1969|
|Number of games||74|
|Number of teams||12|
|Season champions||Montreal Canadiens|
|Season MVP||Phil Esposito, (Boston Bruins)|
|Top scorer||Phil Esposito, (Boston Bruins)|
|Playoffs MVP||Serge Savard, (Montreal Canadiens)|
|Stanley Cup champions||Montreal Canadiens|
|Runners-up||St. Louis Blues|
The 1968–69 NHL season was the 52nd season of the National Hockey League. Twelve teams each played 76 games (two more than in 1967–68). For the second time in a row, the Montreal Canadiens faced the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup finals. Montreal won their second consecutive Stanley Cup as they swept the Blues in four, an identical result to the previous season.
Prior to this season no player in NHL history had ever achieved 100 points in a season. This season saw not just one player reach 100, but three. The Boston Bruins' Phil Esposito led the way with 49 goals and 77 assists for a new record of 126 points, as well as setting a record with linemates Wayne Cashman and Ron Murphy for most points in a season by a forward line. Bobby Hull of Chicago set a new record for goals with 58 and came in second in overall scoring with 107. Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings came in third with 103 points.
Red Berenson of St. Louis tied an NHL record, scoring six goals for the Blues (all against goaltender Doug Favell) in an 8–0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on November 7. He became the first player to score a double hat trick on a road game.
Despite finishing last in the West Division, Minnesota was led by rookie left wing Danny Grant, who along with Oakland rookie Norm Ferguson tied Montreal Maroon Nels Stewart's forty-year-old record for most goals by a rookie with 34.
On December 21, with Gump Worsley out because of a nervous breakdown and Rogie Vachon injured, rookie goaltender Tony Esposito of the Canadiens and Gerry Cheevers of the Bruins hooked up in a rare scoreless tie. Esposito made 41 saves, and Cheevers made 34 saves.
Los Angeles introduced rookie goaltender Gerry Desjardins who took over the starter's job from the ailing Wayne Rutledge, who was bothered by groin injuries most of the season. Desjardins recorded 4 shutouts during the season in helping the Kings make the playoffs and win their first round series over Oakland.
On March 2, Phil Esposito became the first NHL player to score 100 points in a season in a 4–0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In the March 20th Boston-Chicago game, two milestones were accomplished. Bobby Hull broke his own record for goals with his 55th goal, and Bobby Orr broke Flash Hollett's record for goals by a defenseman with his 21st goal.
This would be the last time until the 1997-98 season that the Chicago Black Hawks missed the playoffs.
The league held a beauty pageant for the first and only time this season, with a contestant from every franchise. Miss Minnesota North Stars Lynn Marie Stewart was named Miss NHL 1968, and was named the NHL "ambassador" for the 1968-69 season, making various appearances and helping to present the Stanley Cup.
|3||New York Rangers||76||41||26||9||231||196||+35||91|
|4||Toronto Maple Leafs||76||35||26||15||234||217||+17||85|
|5||Detroit Red Wings||76||33||31||12||239||221||+18||78|
|6||Chicago Black Hawks||76||34||33||9||280||246||+34||77|
|1||St. Louis Blues||76||37||25||14||204||157||+47||88|
|2||Oakland Seals||76||29||36||11||219||251||-32 −32||69|
|3||Philadelphia Flyers||76||20||35||21||174||225||-51 −51||61|
|4||Los Angeles Kings||76||24||42||10||185||260||-75 −75||58|
|5||Pittsburgh Penguins||76||20||45||11||189||252||-63 −63||51|
|6||Minnesota North Stars||76||18||43||15||189||270||-81 −81||51|
The Montreal Canadiens swept the St. Louis Blues in a rematch of the 1968 final.
|Quarter-finals||Semi-finals||Stanley Cup Final|
|3||New York Rangers||0|
|4||Toronto Maple Leafs||0|
|W1||St. Louis Blues||0|
|1||St. Louis Blues||4|
|1||St. Louis Blues||4|
|4||Los Angeles Kings||0|
|4||Los Angeles Kings||4|
|1968–69 NHL awards|
|Prince of Wales Trophy:
(East Division champion)
|Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:
(West Division champion)
|St. Louis Blues|
|Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer, regular season)
|Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins|
|Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:
(Perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication)
|Ted Hampson, Oakland Seals|
|Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Top first-year player)
|Danny Grant, Minnesota North Stars|
|Conn Smythe Trophy:
(Most valuable player, playoffs)
|Serge Savard, Montreal Canadiens|
|Hart Memorial Trophy:
(Most valuable player, regular season)
|Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins|
|James Norris Memorial Trophy:
|Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins|
|Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
|Alex Delvecchio, Detroit Red Wings|
(Goaltender(s) of team with best goaltending record)
|Glenn Hall & Jacques Plante, St. Louis Blues|
|Lester Patrick Trophy:
(Service to hockey in the U.S.)
|First Team||Position||Second Team|
|Glenn Hall, St. Louis Blues||G||Ed Giacomin, New York Rangers|
|Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins||D||Ted Green, Boston Bruins|
|Tim Horton, Toronto Maple Leafs||D||Ted Harris, Montreal Canadiens|
|Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins||C||Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens|
|Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings||RW||Yvan Cournoyer, Montreal Canadiens|
|Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks||LW||Frank Mahovlich, Detroit Red Wings|
Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|Phil Esposito||Boston Bruins||74||49||77||126||79|
|Bobby Hull||Chicago Black Hawks||74||58||49||107||48|
|Gordie Howe||Detroit Red Wings||76||44||59||103||58|
|Stan Mikita||Chicago Black Hawks||74||30||67||97||52|
|Ken Hodge||Boston Bruins||75||45||45||90||75|
|Yvan Cournoyer||Montreal Canadiens||76||43||44||87||31|
|Alex Delvecchio||Detroit Red Wings||72||25||58||83||8|
|Red Berenson||St. Louis Blues||76||35||47||82||43|
|Frank Mahovlich||Detroit Red Wings||76||49||29||78||38|
|Jean Ratelle||New York Rangers||76||32||46||78||26|
Note: GP = Games played; Min - Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts
|Jacques Plante||St. Louis Blues||37||2139||70||1.96||18||12||6||5|
|Glenn Hall||St. Louis Blues||41||2354||85||2.17||19||12||8||8|
|Gump Worsley||Montreal Canadiens||30||1703||64||2.26||19||5||4||5|
|Roy Edwards||Detroit Red Wings||40||2099||89||2.54||18||11||6||4|
|Eddie Giacomin||New York Rangers||70||4114||175||2.55||37||23||7||7|
|Bernie Parent||Philadelphia Flyers||58||3365||151||2.69||17||23||16||1|
|Bruce Gamble||Toronto Maple Leafs||61||3446||161||2.80||28||20||11||3|
|Gerry Cheevers||Boston Bruins||52||3112||145||2.80||28||12||12||3|
|Johnny Bower||Toronto Maple Leafs||20||779||37||2.85||5||4||3||2|
|Rogie Vachon||Montreal Canadiens||36||2051||98||2.87||22||9||3||2|
- Plus-Minus leader: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1968–69 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Bob Berry, Montreal Canadiens
- Guy Lapointe, Montreal Canadiens
- Jude Drouin, Montreal Canadiens
- Tony Esposito, Montreal Canadiens
- Brad Park, New York Rangers
- Pat Quinn, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Jean Pronovost, Pittsburgh Penguins
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1968–69 (listed with their last team):
- Kenny Wharram, Chicago Black Hawks
- Kent Douglas, Detroit Red Wings
- Gilles Tremblay, Montreal Canadiens
- Allan Stanley, Philadelphia Flyers
- Billy Harris, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Doug Harvey, St. Louis Blues
- Pierre Pilote, Toronto Maple Leafs
- List of Stanley Cup champions
- 1968 NHL Amateur Draft
- 22nd National Hockey League All-Star Game
- National Hockey League All-Star Game
- 1968 in sports
- 1969 in sports
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- Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5.
- Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9.
- Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1.
- McFarlane, Brian (1973). The Story of the National Hockey League. New York, NY: Pagurian Press. ISBN 0-684-13424-1.
- Hockey’s Book of Firsts, p. 27, James Duplacey, JG Press, ISBN 978-1-57215-037-9
- "1968–1969 Division Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". National Hockey League.
- Dinger 2011, p. 150.