1975–76 NHL season

Last updated
1975–76 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
DurationOctober 7, 1975 – May 16, 1976
Number of games80
Number of teams18
Draft
Top draft pick Mel Bridgman
Picked by Philadelphia Flyers
Regular season
Season champions Montreal Canadiens
Season MVP Bobby Clarke (Flyers)
Top scorer Guy Lafleur (Canadiens)
Playoffs
Playoffs MVP Reggie Leach (Flyers)
Stanley Cup
Champions Montreal Canadiens
  Runners-up Philadelphia Flyers
NHL seasons
  1974–75
1976–77  

The 1975–76 NHL season was the 59th season of the National Hockey League. The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup, defeating the defending champion Philadelphia Flyers in the final.

In an organized sports league, a typical season is the portion of one year in which regulated games of the sport are in session: for example, in Major League Baseball the season lasts approximately from April to October. In other team sports, like association football or basketball, it is generally from August or September to May although in some countries - such as Northern Europe or East Asia - the season starts in the spring and finishes in autumn, mainly due to weather conditions encountered during the winter.

National Hockey League North American professional ice hockey league

The National Hockey League is a professional ice hockey league in North America, currently comprising 31 teams: 24 in the United States and 7 in Canada. The NHL is considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, and one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. The Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season.

Montreal Canadiens National Hockey League team in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Montreal Canadiens are a professional ice hockey team based in Montreal, Quebec. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Contents

This season also marked the final time that Hockey Night in Canada on CBC Television in Canada would air radio broadcasts of games, with HNIC moving exclusively to television the next season.

<i>Hockey Night in Canada</i> CBC broadcasts of the National Hockey League in Canada

Hockey Night in Canada is a branding used for Canadian television presentations of the National Hockey League. While the name has been used for all NHL broadcasts on CBC Television, Hockey Night in Canada is primarily associated with its Saturday night NHL broadcasts, a practice originating from Saturday NHL broadcasts that began in 1931 on the CNR Radio network and continued on its successors, and debuting on television beginning in 1952. Initially only airing a single game weekly, the modern incarnation airs a weekly double-header, with game times normally at 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. (ET). The broadcast features various segments during the intermissions and between games, as well as pre- and post-game coverage of the night's games, and player interviews. It also shows the hosts opinions on any controversy occurring in the league.

CBC Television Canadian television network

CBC Television is a Canadian English-language broadcast television network that is owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the national public broadcaster. The network began operations on September 6, 1952. Its French-language counterpart is Ici Radio-Canada Télé.

Regular season

The Montreal Canadiens set records in wins with 58 and points with 127, beginning a four-year stretch where they would dominate the league in the regular season and win four straight Stanley Cup titles. The Philadelphia Flyers tied the record set by the 1929–30 Boston Bruins for most consecutive home ice wins, with 20.

Stanley Cup championship trophy awarded annually in the National Hockey League

The Stanley Cup is the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) playoff winner. It is the oldest existing trophy to be awarded to a professional sports franchise in North America, and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) considers it to be one of the "most important championships available to the sport". The trophy was commissioned in 1892 as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup and is named after Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada who donated it as an award to Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. The entire Stanley family supported the sport, the sons and daughters all playing and promoting the game. The first Cup was awarded in 1893 to Montreal Hockey Club, and winners from 1893 to 1914 were determined by challenge games and league play. Professional teams first became eligible to challenge for the Stanley Cup in 1906. In 1915, professional ice hockey organizations National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) reached a gentlemen's agreement in which their respective champions would face each other annually for the Stanley Cup. It was established as the de facto championship trophy of the NHL in 1926 and then the de jure NHL championship prize in 1947.

Philadelphia Flyers Professional ice hockey team

The Philadelphia Flyers are a professional ice hockey team based in Philadelphia. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). Part of the 1967 NHL Expansion, the Flyers were the first expansion team in the post–Original Six era to win the Stanley Cup, victorious in 1973–74 and again in 1974–75.

During the regular season, between December 28 and January 10, "Super Series '76" took place as two teams from the Soviet Championship League played eight exhibitions against NHL teams. HC CSKA Moscow (the "Red Army Club"), defending Soviet champion, played against the New York Rangers, Montreal, Boston and, on January 11, the defending NHL champion, the Philadelphia Flyers, while Krylya Sovetov Moscow ("the Soviet Wings") played against Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Chicago and the New York Islanders. [1]

Super Series '76 was the first of the "Super Series" ice hockey exhibitions, which saw club teams from Soviet Championship League touring North America to play against teams from the National Hockey League (NHL). The games were played in late December 1975 through the early part of January 1976, in the middle of the regular schedules of the NHL and Soviet league.

Soviet Championship League USSR ice hockey top division

The Soviet Hockey Championship was the highest level ice hockey league in the Soviet Union, running from 1946 to 1992. Before the 1940s the game of ice hockey was not cultivated in Russia, instead the more popular form of hockey was bandy. Following the dissolution of the USSR, the league was temporarily renamed the CIS Championship in 1992. This organization was the direct predecessor of the International Hockey League, and subsequent Russian Superleague (RSL) and current Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

HC CSKA Moscow Russian ice hockey team

HC CSKA Moscow is a Russian professional ice hockey club based in Moscow. The club is a member of the Tarasov Division in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). It is referred to in the West as "Central Red Army" or the "Red Army Team" for its past affiliation with the Soviet Army, popularly known as the Red Army. CSKA won more Soviet championships and European cups than any other team in history. It is owned by Russia's largest oil company, Rosneft, which is in turn majority-owned by the Russian government.

The blockbuster trade of the year saw the Boston Bruins send superstar center Phil Esposito and star defenceman Carol Vadnais to the New York Rangers for star center Jean Ratelle and superstar defenceman Brad Park. Both Ratelle and Park would excel for the Bruins for years to come, while Esposito's days as the preeminent scorer in the NHL were behind him.

Boston Bruins National Hockey League team based in Boston, United States

The Boston Bruins are a professional ice hockey team based in Boston. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team has been in existence since 1924, and is the league's third-oldest team overall and the oldest in the United States. It is also an Original Six franchise, along with the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bruins have won six Stanley Cup championships, tied for fourth most of all-time with the Blackhawks and tied second-most of any American NHL team also with the Blackhawks.

Phil Esposito Canadian ice hockey player

Philip Anthony Esposito is a Canadian broadcaster, and former professional ice hockey executive, coach and player. A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, he played 18 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Chicago Black Hawks, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. He is considered one of the greatest players of all time, and is the older brother of fellow Hall-of-Famer Tony Esposito, a goaltender.

Carol Vadnais Canadian ice hockey defenceman

Carol Marcel Vadnais was a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who played seventeen seasons in the National Hockey League from 1966–67 until 1982–83. Vadnais won two Stanley Cups during his career, in 1968 with the Montreal Canadiens and again in 1972 with the Boston Bruins.

On February 7, 1976, Darryl Sittler set an NHL record that still stands for most points scored in one game. He recorded ten points (six goals, four assists) against the Boston Bruins.

Darryl Sittler Canadian ice hockey player

Darryl Glen Sittler is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey player who played in the National Hockey League from 1970 until 1985 for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Detroit Red Wings. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989, the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Canadian Walk of Fame in 2016. In 2017 Sittler was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.

Final standings

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Note: Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold

Prince of Wales Conference

Adams Division
 GPWLTGFGAPts
Boston Bruins 80481517313237113
Buffalo Sabres 80462113339240105
Toronto Maple Leafs 8034311529427683
California Golden Seals 8027421125027865

[2]

Norris Division
GPWLTGFGAPts
Montreal Canadiens 80581111337174127
Los Angeles Kings 803833926326585
Pittsburgh Penguins 8035331233930382
Detroit Red Wings 8026441022630062
Washington Capitals 8011591022439432

[2]

Clarence Campbell Conference

Patrick Division
GPWLTGFGAPts
Philadelphia Flyers 80511316348209118
New York Islanders 80422117297190101
Atlanta Flames 8035331226223782
New York Rangers 802942926233367

[2]

Smythe Division
GPWLTGFGAPts
Chicago Black Hawks 8032301825426182
Vancouver Canucks 8033321527127281
St. Louis Blues 8029371424929072
Minnesota North Stars 802053719530347
Kansas City Scouts 8012561219035136

[2]

Playoffs

Playoff seeds

The twelve teams that qualified for the playoffs are ranked 1–12 based on regular season points.

Note: Only teams that qualified for the playoffs are listed here.

  1. Montreal Canadiens, Norris Division champions, Prince of Wales Conference regular season champions – 127 points
  2. Philadelphia Flyers, Patrick Division champions, Clarence Campbell Conference regular season champions – 118 points
  3. Boston Bruins, Adams Division champions – 113 points
  4. Buffalo Sabres – 105 points
  5. New York Islanders – 101 points
  6. Los Angeles Kings – 85 points
  7. Toronto Maple Leafs – 83 points
  8. Pittsburgh Penguins – 82 points (35 wins, 5 points head-to-head vs. Atlanta)
  9. Atlanta Flames – 82 points (35 wins, 3 points head-to-head vs. Pittsburgh)
  10. Chicago Black Hawks, Smythe Division champions – 82 points (32 wins)
  11. Vancouver Canucks – 81 points
  12. St. Louis Blues – 72 points

Playoff bracket

 Preliminary RoundQuarterfinalsSemifinalsStanley Cup Finals
                   
    
 1Montreal4 
  8Chicago0 
   
    
 1Montreal4 
 4NY Islanders1 
1Buffalo2 
8St. Louis1 
 4Buffalo2
  5NY Islanders4 
2NY Islanders2
7Vancouver0 
 1Montreal4
 2Philadelphia0
    
    
 2Philadelphia4
  7Toronto3 
4Toronto2
5Pittsburgh1 
 2Philadelphia4
 3Boston1 
    
    
 3Boston4
  6Los Angeles3 
3Los Angeles2
6Atlanta0 

Preliminary Round

(1) Buffalo Sabres vs. (8) St. Louis Blues

The Buffalo Sabres were the first seed of the preliminary round and fourth overall with 105 points. The St. Louis Blues were the eighth seed of the preliminary round and twelfth overall with 72 points. This was the first playoff series between these two teams. The Buffalo Sabres won this year's regular season series earning 5 of 8 points.

Buffalo won series 2–1

(2) New York Islanders vs. (7) Vancouver Canucks

The New York Islanders were the second seed in the preliminary round and fifth overall with 101 points. The Vancouver Canucks were the seventh seed in the preliminary round and eleventh overall with 81 points. This was the first playoff series between these two teams. Vancouver won this year's regular season series earning 8 of 10 points.

New York won series 2–0

(3) Los Angeles Kings vs. (6) Atlanta Flames

The Los Angeles Kings were the third seed of the preliminary round and sixth overall 85 points. The Atlanta Flames were the sixth seed of the preliminary round and ninth overall with 82 points. Atlanta tied with Pittsburgh in points and wins, but Pittsburgh earned 5 points in games against the Flames while Atlanta earned 3 points in games against the Penguins. This was the first playoff meeting between these two teams. Los Angeles won this year's regular season series earning 6 of 8 points.

Los Angeles won series 2–0

(4) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (5) Pittsburgh Penguins

The Toronto Maple Leafs were the fourth seed in the preliminary round and seventh overall with 83 points. The Pittsburgh Penguins were the fifth seed in the preliminary round and eighth overall with 82 points. The Atlanta Flames tied with Pittsburgh in points and wins, but Pittsburgh earned 5 points in games against the Flames while Atlanta earned 3 points in games against the Penguins. This was the first playoff series between these two teams. Pittsburgh won this year's regular season series earning 8 of 10 points.

Toronto won series 2–1

Quarterfinals

(1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (8) Chicago Black Hawks

The Montreal Canadiens finished first in the league with 127 points. The Chicago Black Hawks finished as the Smythe Division Champions and eighth seed of the quarterfinals with 82 points. This was the seventeenth playoff series between these two teams with Montreal winning eleven of the sixteen previous series. Their most recent meeting came in the 1973 Stanley Cup Finals which Montreal won in 6 games. Montreal won this year's regular season series earning 5 of 8 points.

Montreal won series 4–0

(2) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (7) Toronto Maple Leafs

The Philadelphia Flyers finished as Clarence Campbell Conference regular season champions and second seed overall with 118 points. This was the second playoff series between these two teams. Their only previous meeting came in the 1975 quarterfinals which Philadelphia won in 4 games. Philadelphia won this year's regular season series earning 7 of 8 points.

Philadelphia won series 4–3

(3) Boston Bruins vs. (6) Los Angeles Kings

The Boston Bruins finished as the Adams Division regular season champions and third seed overall with 113 points. This was the first playoff series between these two teams. Boston won this year's regular season series earning 8 of 10 points.

Boston won series 4–3

(4) Buffalo Sabres vs. (5) New York Islanders

This was the first playoff series between these two teams. The teams split this year's four-game regular season series.

New York won series 4–2

Semifinals

(1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (4) New York Islanders

Montreal won series 4–1

(2) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (3) Boston Bruins

Philadelphia won series 4–1

Stanley Cup Finals

The two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Philadelphia Flyers, once again made it to the finals, but were swept in four games by the Montreal Canadiens.

Montreal won series 4–0

Awards

1976 NHL awards
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Wales Conference regular season champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:
(Campbell Conference regular season champion)
Philadelphia Flyers
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer, regular season)
Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:
(Perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication)
Rod Gilbert, New York Rangers
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Top first-year player)
Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders
Conn Smythe Trophy:
(Most valuable player, playoffs)
Reggie Leach, Philadelphia Flyers
Hart Memorial Trophy:
(Most valuable player, regular season)
Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers
Jack Adams Award:
(Best coach)
Don Cherry, Boston Bruins
James Norris Memorial Trophy:
(Best defenceman)
Denis Potvin, New York Islanders
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Jean Ratelle, New York Rangers/Boston Bruins
Lester B. Pearson Award:
(Outstanding player, regular season)
Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender(s) of team(s) with best goaltending record)
Ken Dryden, Montreal Canadiens
Lester Patrick Trophy:
(Service to hockey in the U.S.)
Stan Mikita, George A. Leader, Bruce A. Norris

All-Star teams

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
Brad Park, Boston Bruins/New York Rangers D Guy Lapointe, Montreal Canadiens
Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers C Gilbert Perreault, Buffalo Sabres
Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens RW Reggie Leach, Philadelphia Flyers
Bill Barber, Philadelphia Flyers LW Rick Martin, Buffalo Sabres

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points

PlayerTeamGPGAPtsPIM
Guy Lafleur Montreal Canadiens80566912536
Bobby Clarke Philadelphia Flyers763089119136
Gilbert Perreault Buffalo Sabres80446911336
Bill Barber Philadelphia Flyers805062112104
Pierre Larouche Pittsburgh Penguins76535811133
Jean Ratelle New York Rangers/Boston Bruins80366910518
Pete Mahovlich Montreal Canadiens80347110576
Jean Pronovost Pittsburgh Penguins80525210424
Darryl Sittler Toronto Maple Leafs79415910090
Syl Apps, Jr. Pittsburgh Penguins8032679924

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

PlayerTeamGPMINGAGAAWLTSO
Ken Dryden Montreal Canadiens6235801212.03421088
Chico Resch N.Y. Islanders442546882.07231187
Dan Bouchard Atlanta Flames4726711132.54191782
Wayne Stephenson Philadelphia Flyers6638191642.584010131
Billy Smith N.Y. Islanders392254982.61191093
Gilles Gilbert Boston Bruins5531231512.90338103
Tony Esposito Chicago Black Hawks6840031982.973023134
Rogatien Vachon L.A. Kings5130601603.14262055
Wayne Thomas Toronto Maple Leafs6436841963.192824122
Gary Simmons California Seals4023601313.33151952

Other statistics

Coaches

Patrick Division

Adams Division

Norris Division

Smythe Division

Debuts

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1975–76 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1975–76 (listed with their last team):

NOTE: Boudrias finished his major professional career in the World Hockey Association.

See also

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References

Notes
  1. Super Series site
  2. 1 2 3 4 Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Dan Diamond & Associates. p. 151. ISBN   9781894801225.
  3. Dinger 2011, p. 150.