1968 Stanley Cup playoffs

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The 1968 Stanley Cup playoffs, to decide the 1968 championship of the National Hockey League (NHL) was the first after the expansion from six to twelve teams. The defending champion Toronto Maple Leafs did not qualify and a new champion would be crowned. The Montreal Canadiens would defeat the St. Louis Blues in four straight to win the Stanley Cup.

Format[edit]

All of the 'Original Six' teams were placed in the new Eastern Division, and all of the new teams placed in the new Western Division. Each division contributed four playoff teams. Division teams then played off to produce a divisional champion, and the two divisional champions played off in the Final to win the Stanley Cup

The imbalance between the new teams and old was readily apparent in the standings. All four of the East Division teams had a better record than the top team in the West.

Series[edit]

The Canadiens drew the third-place Boston Bruins in the first round. The Bruins, making their first appearance in the playoffs since 1959, were swept in four games. In the other East series, the second-place Rangers faced off against the fourth place Chicago Black Hawks. The Black Hawks, led by Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita defeated the Rangers in six to set up a Montreal-Chicago East Division showdown. The Black Hawks could not provide another upset, and lost to the Canadiens in five games, giving Montreal their only defeat of the playoffs.

In the West, all four teams played their first playoff series. The first-place Philadelphia Flyers lost their first-ever playoff series to the Blues, led by goaltender Glenn Hall and coached by future Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman in seven games, while the second-place Los Angeles Kings lost to the fourth-place Minnesota North Stars. The Blues would defeat the North Stars in seven games to advance to their first final.

All series but Bruins-Canadiens had a game postponed after the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4.[1]

Final[edit]

The Blues now faced the Canadiens for the Stanley Cup. Blues coach Bowman, a long-time member of the Canadiens organization was unable to spur the Blues to an upset. The Canadiens, led by Jean Beliveau and Henri Richard swept the series in four games.

Brackets[edit]

Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
                 
1 Montreal Canadiens 4
3 Boston Bruins 0
1 Montreal Canadiens 4
East Division
4 Chicago Black Hawks 1
2 New York Rangers 2
4 Chicago Black Hawks 4
E1 Montreal Canadiens 4
W3 St. Louis Blues 0
1 Philadelphia Flyers 3
3 St. Louis Blues 4
3 St. Louis Blues 4
West Division
4 Minnesota North Stars 3
2 Los Angeles Kings 3
4 Minnesota North Stars 4

Awards and records[edit]

Prince of Wales Trophy:
(East Division champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:
(West Division champion)
St. Louis Blues
Conn Smythe Trophy:
(Playoff MVP)
Glenn Hall, St. Louis Blues

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stanley Cup Notebook
  • Falla, Jack (2001). Quest for the Cup : a history of the Stanley Cup finals, 1893-2000. Key Porter Books. ISBN 1-55263-343-8. 
Preceded by
1967 Stanley Cup playoffs
Stanley Cup playoffs
1968
Succeeded by
1969 Stanley Cup playoffs