1978–79 NHL season

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1978–79 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Duration October 11, 1978 – May 21, 1979
Number of games 80
Number of teams 17
Regular season
Season champions New York Islanders
Season MVP Bryan Trottier, (New York Islanders)
Top scorer Bryan Trottier, (New York Islanders)
Playoffs
Playoffs MVP Bob Gainey, (Montreal Canadiens)
Stanley Cup
Stanley Cup champions Montreal Canadiens
  Runners-up New York Rangers
NHL seasons

The 1978–79 NHL season was the 62nd season of the National Hockey League. The Montreal Canadiens beat the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup finals four games to one for their fourth Cup in a row. This was the last time that two of the "Original Six" teams met in the Finals until 2013.

League business[edit]

This season saw the first reduction in the total number of teams since the Brooklyn Americans folded following the 1941–42 season. Fearing that two teams were on the verge of folding, the league approved the merger of the financially unstable Cleveland Barons and Minnesota North Stars franchises, reducing the number of teams to 17. The merged team continued as the Minnesota North Stars, but assumed the Barons' place in the Adams Division.

This reduction would only be temporary, however, as negotiations continued toward an agreement with the World Hockey Association that would see it fold following this season, with four of its teams joining the NHL as expansion franchises for 1979–80.

For the first time since the NHL All-Star Game became an annual tradition, it was not played. In its stead was the 1979 Challenge Cup, which saw Soviet Union players come over to North America to play against NHL players. The Soviets won the series two games to one.

This was the last season until the 2005-06 season that the St. Louis Blues missed the playoffs.

Regular season[edit]

For the past three seasons, the Montreal Canadiens had dominated the regular season, but times were changing. The New York Islanders had been steadily improving over the past few seasons and this season saw them beat out the Canadiens by one point for the best record in the league.

Final standings[edit]

GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, PIM = Penalties In Minutes
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold

Prince of Wales Conference[edit]

Adams Division
  GP W L T GF GA PTS
Boston Bruins 80 43 23 14 316 270 100
Buffalo Sabres 80 36 28 16 280 263 88
Toronto Maple Leafs 80 34 33 13 267 252 81
Minnesota North Stars 80 28 40 12 257 289 68

[1]

Norris Division
GP W L T GF GA Pts
Montreal Canadiens 80 52 17 11 337 204 115
Pittsburgh Penguins 80 36 31 13 281 279 85
Los Angeles Kings 80 34 34 12 292 286 80
Washington Capitals 80 24 41 15 273 338 63
Detroit Red Wings 80 23 41 16 252 295 62

[1]Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, Pts = Points


       Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.

Clarence Campbell Conference[edit]

Patrick Division
  GP W L T GF GA PTS
New York Islanders 80 51 15 14 358 214 116
Philadelphia Flyers 80 40 25 15 281 248 95
New York Rangers 80 40 29 11 316 292 91
Atlanta Flames 80 41 31 8 327 280 90
Smythe Division
GP W L T GF GA PTS
Chicago Black Hawks 80 29 36 15 244 277 73
Vancouver Canucks 80 25 42 13 217 291 63
St. Louis Blues 80 18 50 12 249 348 48
Colorado Rockies 80 15 53 12 210 331 42

[1]

Playoffs[edit]

Playoff bracket[edit]

  Preliminary Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Stanley Cup Final
                                     
        
  2  Montreal 4  
    9  Toronto 0  
6  Atlanta 0
9  Toronto 2  
  2  Montreal 4  
  3  Boston 3  
        
        
  3  Boston 4
    8  Pittsburgh 0  
7  Buffalo 1
8  Pittsburgh 2  
  2  Montreal 4
  5  NY Rangers 1
        
        
  1  NY Islanders 4
    11  Chicago 0  
      
        
  1  NY Islanders 2
  5  NY Rangers 4  
4  Philadelphia 2  
12  Vancouver 1  
  4  Philadelphia 1
    5  NY Rangers 4  
5  NY Rangers 2
10  Los Angeles 0  

Preliminary round[edit]

(6) Atlanta Flames vs. (9) Toronto Maple Leafs[edit]

Toronto won series 2-0


(7) Buffalo Sabres vs. (8) Pittsburgh Penguins[edit]

Pittsburgh won series 2-1


(4) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (12) Vancouver Canucks[edit]

Philadelphia won series 2-1


(5) New York Rangers vs. (10) Los Angeles Kings[edit]

New York won series 2-0


Quarterfinals[edit]

(2) Montreal Canadiens vs. (9) Toronto Maple Leafs[edit]

As of 2013, this was the last time the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs have met in the playoffs.


Montreal won series 4-0


(3) Boston Bruins vs. (8) Pittsburgh Penguins[edit]

Boston won series 4-0


(1) New York Islanders vs. (11) Chicago Black Hawks[edit]

Game 2 was the first 1-0 overtime playoff game since Game 5 of the 1954 Stanley Cup Finals.[2]


New York won series 4-0


(4) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (5) New York Rangers[edit]

New York won series 4-1


Semifinals[edit]

(2) Montreal Canadiens vs. (3) Boston Bruins[edit]

Game seven of the Montreal-Boston semifinal is perhaps one of the most memorable in the history of the NHL. About a minute and a half after Boston's Rick Middleton scored with four minutes remaining in the third period to give the Bruins a 4–3 lead, linesman John D'Amico called a bench minor for too many men on the ice against the Bruins. Montreal's Guy Lafleur scored on the ensuing power play, sending the game to overtime where Yvon Lambert gave the Canadiens the win and a trip to their fourth straight Stanley Cup final.


Montreal won series 4-3


(1) New York Islanders vs. (5) New York Rangers[edit]

New York Rangers won series 4-2


Final[edit]

Prior to 2013, this was the last time two Original Six clubs met in the finals. Both teams would next appear in the Stanley Cup Finals: Canadiens winning in 1986, Rangers winning in 1994.


Montreal won series 4-1


Awards[edit]

1979 NHL awards
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Wales Conference regular season champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:
(Campbell Conference regular season champion)
New York Islanders
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer, regular season)
Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:
(Perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication)
Serge Savard, Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Top first-year player)
Bobby Smith, Minnesota North Stars
Conn Smythe Trophy:
(Most valuable player, playoffs)
Bob Gainey, Montreal Canadiens
Frank J. Selke Trophy:
(Best defensive forward)
Bob Gainey, Montreal Canadiens
Hart Memorial Trophy:
(Most valuable player, regular season)
Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders
Jack Adams Award:
(Best coach)
Al Arbour, New York Islanders
James Norris Memorial Trophy:
(Best defenceman)
Denis Potvin, New York Islanders
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Bob MacMillan, Atlanta Flames
Lester B. Pearson Award:
(Outstanding player, regular season)
Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles Kings
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender(s) of team(s) with best goaltending record)
Ken Dryden & Michel Larocque, Montreal Canadiens
Lester Patrick Trophy:
(Service to hockey in the U.S.)
Bobby Orr

All-Star teams[edit]

First team   Position   Second team
Ken Dryden, Montreal Canadiens G Glenn Resch, New York Islanders
Denis Potvin, New York Islanders D Borje Salming, Toronto Maple Leafs
Larry Robinson, Montreal Canadiens D Serge Savard, Montreal Canadiens
Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders C Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles Kings
Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens RW Mike Bossy, New York Islanders
Clark Gillies, New York Islanders LW Bill Barber, Philadelphia Flyers

Player statistics[edit]

Scoring leaders[edit]

GP = Games Played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points, PIM = Penalties In Minutes

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Bryan Trottier New York Islanders 76 47 87 134 50
Marcel Dionne Los Angeles Kings 80 59 71 130 30
Guy Lafleur Montreal Canadiens 80 52 77 129 28
Mike Bossy New York Islanders 80 69 57 126 25
Bob MacMillan Atlanta Flames 79 37 71 108 14
Guy Chouinard Atlanta Flames 80 50 57 107 14
Denis Potvin New York Islanders 73 31 70 101 58
Bernie Federko St. Louis Blues 74 31 64 95 14
Dave Taylor Los Angeles Kings 78 43 48 91 124
Clark Gillies New York Islanders 75 35 56 91 68

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
Ken Dryden Montreal Canadiens 47 2814 108 2.30 30 10 7 5
Chico Resch N.Y. Islanders 43 2539 106 2.50 26 7 10 2
Bernie Parent Philadelphia Flyers 36 1979 89 2.70 16 12 7 4
Michel Larocque Montreal Canadiens 34 1986 94 2.84 22 7 4 3
Billy Smith N.Y. Islanders 40 2261 108 2.87 25 8 4 1
Mike Palmateer Toronto Maple Leafs 58 3396 167 2.95 26 21 10 4
Don Edwards Buffalo Sabres 54 3160 159 3.02 26 18 9 2
Mario Lessard L.A. Kings 49 2860 148 3.10 23 15 10 4
Glen Hanlon Vancouver Canucks 31 1821 94 3.10 12 13 5 3
Gerry Cheevers Boston Bruins 43 2509 132 3.16 23 9 10 1

Other statistics[edit]

Plus-minus
  • Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders

Milestones[edit]

Debuts[edit]

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1978–79 (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 1978–79 (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. 
Notes
  1. ^ a b c National Hockey League Official Guide and Record Book 2006, p. 163, Dan Diamond & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, ISBN 0-920445-98-5
  2. ^ Palm Beach Post. 1979 April 19.
  3. ^ Dinger 2011, p. 151.

External links[edit]