1971 Stanley Cup Finals
The 1971 Stanley Cup Final NHL championship series was contested by the Chicago Black Hawks and the Montreal Canadiens. The Black Hawks made their first appearance in the final series since 1965, the Canadiens had last played and won the series in 1969. The Canadiens would win the series 4–3.
Paths to the final
The playoff system changed this year to allow cross-over between the divisions during the playoffs.
Brothers Frank and Peter Mahovlich starred for the Canadiens, scoring nine goals in the seven game final series. Ken Dryden debuted for the Canadiens, while this was Jean Beliveau's last finals appearance. He ended his career with ten championships. This would be only the second time that the road team would win a game 7 in finals history. The only previous time it happened was when the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2–1 in game 7 in the 1945 Stanley Cup Finals in Detroit; it would not happen again until 2009, when the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Red Wings in game 7 by the same 2–1 score. The next 7-game Stanley Cup Finals would not occur until the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals with the Edmonton Oilers and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Montreal wins the series 4–3.
Both clubs would suffer public controversies regarding coaching performances, specifically accusations of mishandling star players during the series.
Chicago head coach Billy Reay would be attacked in the media by Hawks star forward Bobby Hull for his excessive employment of two little used offensemen, Lou Angotti and Eric Nesterenko, as well as the injured defenseman Keith Magnuson in game seven. With a 2–0 Blackhawks lead, both Hull and Hawks star center Stan Mikita were left on the bench for extended periods in favor of Angotti and Nesterenko, including two four-on-four situations. The wide open matchup should have favored the frustrated Hull, who had been successfully shadowed in the series by Canadiens rookie Rejean Houle. The first two Canadien goals were tallied with the two backliners on the ice and the hobbled Magnuson was beaten one on one by speedy Montreal center Henri Richard for the ultimate game winner.
The Canadiens suffered their own coaching controversy earlier in the series when head coach Al MacNeil benched alternate captain Henri Richard in game five. Following the 0–2 loss, Richard ripped MacNeil in the media calling him incompetent and "the worst coach I ever played for." Accusation of favoring English-speaking players plagued MacNeil and turned the public against him. Following death threats, MacNeil and his family were assigned body guards for the final home game in Montreal. Even the eventual series victory wouldn't be enough to save MacNeil's job. He was replaced as head coach by Scotty Bowman soon after the finals.
Montreal Canadiens 1971 Stanley Cup champions
- †Serge Savard played 37 regular season games, but missed the rest of season injured. †Phil Myre played 30 games, dressed for 70 games, but was not dressed in the playoffs. Both players were included in the team picture. They were not engraved on the Stanley Cup, because they did not play in the playoffs.
- #8 Larry Pleau was included on the team, but did not qualify, 15 regular season games played, so his name was not included on the Stanley Cup.
- Coaching and administrative staff
Stanley Cup engraving
- Mistake Al MacNeil (coach) was engraved on the Stanley Cup as .COACH. MAC NEIL missing his first name "Al". MacNeil was spelled AL MACNEIL COACH on the Replica Cup. MacNeil became the first rookie coach to win the Stanley Cup as mid-season replacement. MacNeil replaced Claude Ruel after 23 games. MacNeil was also the 11 NHL Rookie Coach to win the Stanley Cup
- Phil Roberto was misspelt P ROBRTO missing an "E". Roberto was name corrected P. ROBERTO on the Replica Cup created during the 1992–93 season.
- Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Stanley Cup. NHL.
- Podnieks, Andrew; Hockey Hall of Fame (2004). Lord Stanley's Cup. Triumph Books. ISBN 978-1-55168-261-7.
Stanley Cup champions