|1978–79 NHL season|
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||October 11, 1978 – May 21, 1979|
|Number of games||80|
|Number of teams||17|
|Top draft pick||Bobby Smith|
|Picked by||Minnesota North Stars|
|Season champions||New York Islanders|
|Season MVP||Bryan Trottier (Islanders)|
|Top scorer||Bryan Trottier (Islanders)|
|Playoffs MVP||Bob Gainey (Canadiens)|
|Runners-up||New York Rangers|
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 consecutive Cup. The Cleveland Barons merged with the Minnesota North Stars (continuing as the North Stars), reducing the NHL membership to 17 teams; the last time that the NHL contracted (as of 2019). In the 1978–79 season, two of the "Original Six" teams met in the Finals, which would not occur again until 2013. The Boston Bruins joined the Canadiens and Rangers in the 1978–79 semifinals and marked the last appearance by three Original Six teams in the final four until 2014.
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.
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.
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).
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.
The New York Americans, colloquially known as the Amerks, were a professional ice hockey team based in New York City, New York from 1925 to 1942. They were the third expansion team in the history of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the second to play in the United States. The team never won the Stanley Cup, but reached the semifinals twice. While it was the first team in New York City, it was eclipsed by the second, the New York Rangers, which arrived in 1926 under the ownership of the Amerks' landlord, Madison Square Garden. The team operated as the Brooklyn Americans during the 1941–42 season before suspending operations in 1942 due to World War II and long-standing financial difficulties. The demise of the club marked the beginning of the NHL's Original Six era from 1942 to 1967, though the Amerks' franchise was not formally canceled until 1946.
The 1941–42 NHL season was the 25th season of the National Hockey League. Seven teams played 48 games each. The Toronto Maple Leafs would win the Stanley Cup defeating the Detroit Red Wings winning four straight after losing the first three in a best-of-seven series, a feat only repeated three times in NHL history and once in Major League Baseball (2004) as of 2017.
The Cleveland Barons were a professional ice hockey team in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1976 to 1978. They were a relocation of the California Golden Seals franchise that had played in Oakland since 1967. After just two seasons, the team merged with the Minnesota North Stars. As a result, the NHL operated with 17 teams during the 1978–79 season.
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.
The World Hockey Association was a professional ice hockey major league that operated in North America from 1972 to 1979. It was the first major league to compete with the National Hockey League (NHL) since the collapse of the Western Hockey League in 1926. Although the WHA was not the first league since that time to attempt to challenge the NHL's supremacy, it was by far the most successful in the modern era.
The 1979–80 NHL season was the 63rd season of the National Hockey League. This season saw the addition of four teams from the disbanded World Hockey Association as expansion franchises. The Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, New England Whalers, and Quebec Nordiques joined the NHL, bringing the total to 21 teams. The other two WHA teams were paid to disband.
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.
The National Hockey League All-Star Game is an exhibition ice hockey game that is traditionally held during the regular season of the National Hockey League (NHL), with many of the League's star players playing against each other. Each team plays with four players. The Game's proceeds benefit the pension fund of the players.
The 1979 Challenge Cup was a series of international ice hockey games between the Soviet Union national ice hockey team and a team of All-Stars from the National Hockey League. The games were played on February 8, 10, and 11 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It replaced the NHL's all-star festivities for the 1978–79 NHL season. The Soviets defeated the NHL All-Stars 2 games to 1.
North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.
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.
The New York Islanders are a professional ice hockey team based in the New York metropolitan area. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team splits its home games between Barclays Center in the borough of Brooklyn and Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders are one of three NHL franchises in the New York metropolitan area, along with the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers, and their fan base resides primarily on Long Island.
This was the last season until the 2005–06 season that the St. Louis Blues missed the playoffs.
The 2005–06 NHL season was the 89th season of operation of the National Hockey League (NHL). This season succeeded the 2004–05 season which had all of its scheduled games canceled due to a labor dispute with the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) over the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the League and its players. The 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs began on April 21, 2006, and concluded on June 19, with the Carolina Hurricanes defeating the Edmonton Oilers to win their first Stanley Cup, after which the Oilers would miss the postseason ten consecutive times and the Hurricanes would miss 11 of their next 12.
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
|Toronto Maple Leafs||80||34||33||13||267||252||81|
|Minnesota North Stars||80||28||40||12||257||289||68|
|Los Angeles Kings||80||34||34||12||292||286||80|
|Detroit Red Wings||80||23||41||16||252||295||62|
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.
|New York Islanders||80||51||15||14||358||214||116|
|New York Rangers||80||40||29||11||316||292||91|
|Chicago Black Hawks||80||29||36||15||244||277||73|
|St. Louis Blues||80||18||50||12||249||348||48|
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.
|Preliminary Round||Quarterfinals||Semifinals||Stanley Cup Finals|
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 and 1993, Rangers winning in 1994.
|May 13||New York Rangers||4–1||Montreal Canadiens||Montreal Forum||Recap|
| Steve Vickers (5) – pp – 06:28|
Ron Greschner (7) – 14:27
|First period||No scoring|
| Phil Esposito (7) – pp – 09:30|
Dave Maloney (3) – sh – 12:32
|Second period||07:07 – Guy Lafleur (9)|
|No scoring||Third period||No scoring|
|John Davidson 31 saves / 32 shots||Goalie stats|| Ken Dryden 9 saves / 13 shots|
Michel Larocque 9 saves / 9 shots
|May 15||New York Rangers||2–6||Montreal Canadiens||Montreal Forum||Recap|
| Anders Hedberg (4) – 01:02|
Ron Duguay (4) – 06:21
|First period||08:34 – Yvon Lambert (4)|
12:24 – Guy Lafleur (10)
16:27 – Bob Gainey (4)
|No scoring||Second period||06:51 – Steve Shutt (3)|
17:35 – pp – Jacques Lemaire (8)
|No scoring||Third period||04:38 – Mark Napier (3)|
|John Davidson 27 saves / 33 shots||Goalie stats||Ken Dryden 23 saves / 25 shots|
|May 17||Montreal Canadiens||4–1||New York Rangers||Madison Square Garden||Recap|
| Steve Shutt (4) – pp – 07:27|
Doug Risebrough (1) – 15:44
|First period||No scoring|
|No scoring||Second period||No scoring|
| Mario Tremblay (3) – 14:48|
Jacques Lemaire (9) – 17:10
|Third period||06:06 – Ron Duguay (5)|
|Ken Dryden 19 saves / 20 shots||Goalie stats||John Davidson 19 saves / 23 shots|
|May 19||Montreal Canadiens||4–3||OT||New York Rangers||Madison Square Garden||Recap|
|Rejean Houle (1) – 02:39||First period||01:19 – Pat Hickey (1)|
17:03 – Don Murdoch (7)
|Yvon Lambert (5) – 18:05||Second period||No scoring|
|Bob Gainey (5) – 06:27||Third period||04:26 – Phil Esposito (8)|
|Serge Savard (2) – 07:25||First overtime period||No scoring|
|Ken Dryden 18 saves / 21 shots||Goalie stats||John Davidson 38 saves / 42 shots|
|May 21||New York Rangers||1–4||Montreal Canadiens||Montreal Forum||Recap|
|Carol Vadnais (2) – 16:52||First period||10:36 – Rick Chartraw (2)|
|No scoring||Second period||01:02 – pp – Jacques Lemaire (10)|
11:01 – Bob Gainey (6)
18:49 – Jacques Lemaire (11)
|No scoring||Third period||No scoring|
|John Davidson 27 saves / 31 shots||Goalie stats||Ken Dryden 14 saves / 15 shots|
|Montreal won series 4–1|
|1979 NHL awards|
| Prince of Wales Trophy:|
(Wales Conference regular season champion)
| 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:|
|Al Arbour, New York Islanders|
| James Norris Memorial Trophy:|
|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.)
|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|
GP = Games Played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points, PIM = Penalties In Minutes
|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|
Note: GP = Games played; Min - Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts
|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|
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):
Players marked with § began their major professional career in the World Hockey Association.
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):
The 1991–92 NHL season was the 75th regular season of the National Hockey League. The Pittsburgh Penguins repeated as Stanley Cup champions, winning a best of seven series four games to none against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The 1990–91 NHL season was the 74th season of the National Hockey League. The Stanley Cup winners were the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won the best of seven series 4–2 against the Minnesota North Stars. This was the last NHL season to end in May.
The 1989–90 NHL season was the 73rd season of the National Hockey League. The Stanley Cup winners were the Edmonton Oilers, who won the best of seven series 4–1 against the Boston Bruins. The championship was the Oilers' fifth Stanley Cup in the past seven years.
The 1988–89 NHL season was the 72nd season of the National Hockey League. The Calgary Flames won an all-Canadian Stanley Cup final against the Montreal Canadiens four games to two. This remains the last time two Canadian teams faced each other for the Stanley Cup.
The 1985–86 NHL season was the 69th season of the National Hockey League. This season saw the league's Board of Governors introduce the Presidents' Trophy, which would go to the team with the best overall record in the NHL regular season. The Edmonton Oilers would be the first winners of this award.
The 1984–85 NHL season was the 68th season of the National Hockey League. The Edmonton Oilers won their second straight Stanley Cup by beating the Philadelphia Flyers four games to one in the final series.
The 1983–84 NHL season was the 67th season of the National Hockey League. The Edmonton Oilers de-throned the four-time defending Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders four games to one in the Cup finals.
The 1982–83 NHL season was the 66th season of the National Hockey League. The New York Islanders won their fourth Stanley Cup in a row with their second consecutive finals sweep by beating the Edmonton Oilers four games to none. No team in any major professional North American sport has won four consecutive playoff championships since.
The 1980–81 NHL season was the 64th season of the National Hockey League. The New York Islanders were the top regular season team and the top playoff team, winning their second consecutive Stanley Cup.
The 1972–73 NHL season was the 56th season of the National Hockey League. Sixteen teams each played 78 games. Two new teams, the New York Islanders and the Atlanta Flames, made their debuts. The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup by beating the Chicago Black Hawks four games to two in the Stanley Cup Final.
The 1971–72 NHL season was the 55th season of the National Hockey League. Fourteen teams each played 78 games. The Boston Bruins beat the New York Rangers four games to two for their second Stanley Cup in three seasons in the finals.
The 1970–71 NHL season was the 54th season of the National Hockey League. Two new teams, the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks made their debuts and were both put into the East Division. The Chicago Black Hawks were moved to the West Division. The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup by beating the Black Hawks in seven games in the finals.
The 1973–74 NHL season was the 57th season of the National Hockey League. The Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup championship, the team's first. The team was the first of the post-1967 teams to win the Cup.
The 1974–75 NHL season was the 58th season of the National Hockey League. Two new teams, the Washington Capitals and Kansas City Scouts were added, increasing the number of teams to 18. To accommodate the new teams, the NHL re-organized its divisional structure and playoff format. The regular season was expanded to 80 games per team. The Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup for the second consecutive year.
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.
The 1976–77 NHL season was the 60th season of the National Hockey League. The Kansas City Scouts moved to Denver, Colorado, and became the Colorado Rockies and the California Golden Seals moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and became the Cleveland Barons. The Montreal Canadiens once again dominated the playoffs as, for the second straight year, they swept their opponent four games to none in the final series for the Stanley Cup.
The 1977–78 NHL season was the 61st season of the National Hockey League. The Montreal Canadiens won their third Stanley Cup in a row, defeating the Boston Bruins four games to two in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The 1979 Stanley Cup playoffs, the championship of the National Hockey League (NHL) began on April 10, after the conclusion of the 1978–79 NHL season. The playoffs concluded on May 21 with the champion Montreal Canadiens defeating the New York Rangers 4–1 to win the Final series four games to one and win the Stanley Cup. Three Original Six teams made the semifinals which would not happen again until the 2014 Conference Finals.
The 1983 Stanley Cup playoffs, the championship of the National Hockey League (NHL) began on April 5, after the conclusion of the 1982–83 NHL season. The playoffs concluded on May 17 with the champion New York Islanders defeating the Edmonton Oilers 4–0 to win the Final series four games to none and win the Stanley Cup for the fourth consecutive season.