1968–69 NHL season

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1968–69 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Duration October 11, 1968 – May 4, 1969
Number of games 74
Number of teams 12
Regular season
Season champions Montreal Canadiens
Season MVP Phil Esposito, (Boston Bruins)
Top scorer Phil Esposito, (Boston Bruins)
Playoffs
Playoffs MVP Serge Savard, (Montreal Canadiens)
Stanley Cup
Champions Montreal Canadiens
  Runners-up St. Louis Blues
NHL seasons

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.

Regular season[edit]

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.[1]

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.

Final standings[edit]

East Division[2]
GP W L T GF GA DIFF Pts
1 Montreal Canadiens 76 46 19 11 271 202 +69 103
2 Boston Bruins 76 42 18 16 303 221 +82 100
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
West Division[2]
GP W L T GF GA DIFF Pts
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


Playoffs[edit]

Final[edit]

The Montreal Canadiens swept the St. Louis Blues in a rematch of the 1968 final.

Playoff bracket[edit]

Quarter-finals Semi-finals Stanley Cup Final
                 
1 Montreal Canadiens 4
3 New York Rangers 0
1 Montreal Canadiens 4
East Division
2 Boston Bruins 2
2 Boston Bruins 4
4 Toronto Maple Leafs 0
E1 Montreal Canadiens 4
W1 St. Louis Blues 0
1 St. Louis Blues 4
3 Philadelphia Flyers 0
1 St. Louis Blues 4
West Division
4 Los Angeles Kings 0
2 Oakland Seals 3
4 Los Angeles Kings 4

Awards[edit]

1968–69 NHL awards
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(East Division champion)
Montreal Canadiens
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:
(Best defenceman)
Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Alex Delvecchio, Detroit Red Wings
Vezina Trophy:
(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.)
Bobby Hull

All-Star teams[edit]

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

Player statistics[edit]

Scoring leaders[edit]

Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Player Team GP G A PTS PIM
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

Source: NHL.[3]

Leading goaltenders[edit]

Note: GP = Games played; Min - Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts

Player Team GP MIN GA GAA W L T SO
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

Other statistics[edit]

Debuts[edit]

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):

Last games[edit]

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):

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Kingston, NY: Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X. 
  • 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. 
Notes
  1. ^ Hockey’s Book of Firsts, p. 27, James Duplacey, JG Press, ISBN 978-1-57215-037-9
  2. ^ a b "1968–1969 Division Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". National Hockey League. 
  3. ^ Dinger 2011, p. 150.

External links[edit]