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1968–69 NHL season

1968–69 NHL season

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.

1968–69 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 11, 1968 – May 4, 1969
Number of games76
Number of teams12
Top draft pickMichel Plasse
Picked byMontreal Canadiens
Regular season
Season championsMontreal Canadiens
Season MVPPhil Esposito (Bruins)
Top scorerPhil Esposito (Bruins)
Playoffs MVPSerge Savard (Canadiens)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsMontreal Canadiens
  Runners-upSt. Louis Blues

Regular season

Prior to this season no player in NHL history had ever achieved 100 points in a season, but 1968–69 saw three achieve the feat. 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 tied an NHL record, scoring six goals for the St. Louis 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 in 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 Nels Stewart's forty-year-old record for most goals by a rookie with 34.

On December 21, with Montreal goalies Gump Worsley (nervous breakdown) and Rogie Vachon (injured) both unavailable, rookie Tony Esposito and Boston's Gerry Cheevers both achieved shutouts 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 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 Boston-Chicago game on March 20, 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 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. The league held just two more pageants in 1970 and 1972 before abandoning the concept.

Final standings

East Division[[CITE|2|http://www.nhl.com/ice/standings.htm?season=19681969&type=DIV]]
1Montreal Canadiens76461911271202+69103
2Boston Bruins76421816303221+82100
3New York Rangers7641269231196+3591
4Toronto Maple Leafs76352615234217+1785
5Detroit Red Wings76333112239221+1878
6Chicago Black Hawks7634339280246+3477
West Division[[CITE|2|http://www.nhl.com/ice/standings.htm?season=19681969&type=DIV]]
1St. Louis Blues76372514204157+4788
2Oakland Seals76293611219251−3269
3Philadelphia Flyers76203521174225−5161
4Los Angeles Kings76244210185260−7558
5Pittsburgh Penguins76204511189252−6351
6Minnesota North Stars76184315189270−8151


Playoff bracket

QuarterfinalsSemifinalsStanley Cup Finals
3New York0
East Division
W1St. Louis0
1St. Louis4
1St. Louis4
West Division
4Los Angeles0
4Los Angeles4


(E1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (E3) New York Rangers

Montreal won series 4–0

(E2) Boston Bruins v. (E4) Toronto Maple Leafs

Boston won series 4–0

(W1) St. Louis Blues vs. (W3) Philadelphia Flyers

St. Louis won series 4–0

(W2) Oakland Seals vs. (W4) Los Angeles Kings

Los Angeles won series 4–3


(E1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (E2) Boston Bruins

Montreal won series 4–2

(W1) St. Louis Blues vs. (W4) Los Angeles Kings

St. Louis won series 4–0

Stanley Cup Finals

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

Montreal won series 4–0


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.)
Robert M. Hull, Edward J. Jeremiah

All-Star teams

First Team  Position  Second Team
Glenn Hall, St. Louis BluesGEd Giacomin, New York Rangers
Bobby Orr, Boston BruinsDTed Green, Boston Bruins
Tim Horton, Toronto Maple LeafsDTed Harris, Montreal Canadiens
Phil Esposito, Boston BruinsCJean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
Gordie Howe, Detroit Red WingsRWYvan Cournoyer, Montreal Canadiens
Bobby Hull, Chicago Black HawksLWFrank Mahovlich, Detroit Red Wings

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

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

Phil EspositoBoston Bruins74497712679
Bobby HullChicago Black Hawks74584910748
Gordie HoweDetroit Red Wings76445910358
Stan MikitaChicago Black Hawks7430679752
Ken HodgeBoston Bruins7545459075
Yvan CournoyerMontreal Canadiens7643448731
Alex DelvecchioDetroit Red Wings722558838
Red BerensonSt. Louis Blues7635478243
Jean BeliveauMontreal Canadiens6933498255
Frank MahovlichDetroit Red Wings7649297838
Jean RatelleNew York Rangers7532467826

Source: NHL.[3]

Leading goaltenders

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

Jacques PlanteSt. Louis Blues372139701.96181265
Glenn HallSt. Louis Blues412354852.17191288
Gump WorsleyMontreal Canadiens301703642.2619545
Roy EdwardsDetroit Red Wings402099892.54181164
Eddie GiacominNew York Rangers7041141752.55372377
Bernie ParentPhiladelphia Flyers5833651512.691723161
Bruce GambleToronto Maple Leafs6134461612.802820113
Gerry CheeversBoston Bruins5231121452.802812123
Johnny BowerToronto Maple Leafs20779372.855432
Rogie VachonMontreal Canadiens362051982.8722932

Other statistics

  • Plus-Minus leader: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins

1968 Miss NHL Pageant

The 1968 Miss NHL Pageant was the first of three in NHL history and was held in Toronto on June 27, 1968. There were twelve contestants in the pageant, one from each of the twelve NHL teams. The winner would be named Miss NHL 1968 and would be the NHL ambassador for the 1968–69 season.

**Team nominees**
Miss Boston BruinsValerie Miller
Miss Chicago Black HawksPatricia Anne Cooper
Miss Detroit Red WingsBarbara Thomas
Miss Los Angeles KingsJulia Martin
Miss Minnesota North StarsLynn Marie Stewart
Miss Montreal CanadiensMary Ann Lambert
Miss New York RangersDonna Hardy
Miss Oakland SealsDebra Lynne Smith
Miss Philadelphia FlyersRhonda Moore
Miss Pittsburgh PenguinsKaren Antkiewicz
Miss St. Louis BluesTerri Sherwood
Miss Toronto Maple LeafsAngela Miller
  • Miss Minnesota North Stars Lynn Marie Stewart was named Miss NHL 1968, with Miss New York Rangers Donna Hardy the first runner-up, and Miss Los Angeles Kings Julia Martin the second runner-up. A second-year education student at the University of Minnesota, she received a new 1969 convertible, a trip for two to Mexico, a mink stole, a movie camera and a diamond watch set. Also, she would be the NHL ambassador for the 1968–69 season, making appearances at the NHL All-Star Game, the NHL awards, and the Stanley Cup Finals where she helped NHL President Clarence Campbell present the Stanley Cup. Each contestant received $1,500 in prizes including season tickets to the team that they represented in the pageant. Stewart's prizes were worth $15,000, with those for the first-runner up worth $2,700 and the second runner-up worth $2,200.

  • Miss Pittsburgh Penguins Karen Antkiewicz was chosen Miss Personality Plus by the other contestants.

  • Selection of Miss NHL was done on the basis of personality and poise (30 points), carriage and figure (15 points), make-up and grooming (10 points), speech and projection (10 points), talent (10 points) and overall impression (10 points).



  • Boston Bruins: Harry Sinden

  • Chicago Black Hawks: Billy Reay

  • Detroit Red Wings: Bill Gadsby

  • Montreal Canadiens: Claude Ruel

  • New York Rangers: Bernie Geoffrion

  • Toronto Maple Leafs: Punch Imlach


  • Los Angeles Kings: Red Kelly

  • Minnesota North Stars: John Muckler

  • Oakland Seals: Fred Glover

  • Philadelphia Flyers: Keith Allen

  • Pittsburgh Penguins: George "Red" Sullivan

  • St. Louis Blues: Scotty Bowman


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

Last games

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

See also

  • 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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