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1Nov1959-Plante mask.jpg

The 1959-60 NHL season was the 43rd season of the National Hockey League. The Montreal Canadiens were the Stanley Cup winners as they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4 games to 0 for their fifth straight Stanley Cup.

Regular Season[]

The year was marked by important changes in the NHL. Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jacques Plante, like Clint Benedict before him, began to wear a mask in regularly. While Plante had previously used his mask in practice to avoid getting injured, starting in 1956, his coach, Toe Blake would not permit him to wear it during regulation play. However, on November 1, 1959, Plante's nose was broken when he was hit by a shot fired by Andy Bathgate and he was taken to the dressing room for stitches. When he returned, he was wearing the crude home-made mask that he had been using in practices. Blake was livid, but he had no other goaltender to call upon and Plante refused to return to the goal unless he wore the mask. Blake agreed on the condition that Plante discard the mask when the cut healed. The Canadiens won the game 3–1. In the ensuing days Plante refused to discard the mask, and as the Canadiens continued to win, Blake was less vocal about it. The unbeaten streak stretched to 18 games.

Phil Watson suffered an ulcer and was quietly dismissed as Ranger coach and replaced by Alf Pike. Gump Worsley was demoted to Springfield of the AHL and Worsley screamed he was finished with hockey. But he reported to Springfield anyway. Eddie Shore, known for his criticism of his players, gave Worsley a surprise vote of confidence. Gump played well for the Indians.

There was trouble brewing for Rangers right-winger sniper Andy Bathgate, who'd ripped open Plante's nose on the night of the goalie mask's official NHL debut, when, in an article in True Magazine, ghosted by Dave Anderson, he listed the names of players whom he considered guilty of the dangerous act of spearing. This was brought to the attention of NHL President Clarence Campbell, who then fined Bathgate $500 and Ranger general manager Muzz Patrick $100 on the grounds the article was prejudicial to and against the welfare of the league.

Jack McCartan stops Bobby Hull, March 9, 1960.

Gump Worsley, demoted to Springfield of the AHL, was brought back up as Marcel Paille was even worse in goal. Gump and the Rangers beat the Canadiens 8-3 in his first game back. Then a week later, Gump got bombed 11-2. Nothing had changed. Later against the Chicago Black Hawks, Worsley suffered an injury that finished him for the season. Hawks' winger Bobby Hull skated over his catching glove and severed two tendons in his fingers. Al Rollins was called up to replace him. Later, Olympic hero Jack McCartan played a few games for the Rangers and performed well.

This regular season, like the two preceding it and the two following it, belonged to the Montreal Canadiens as they were in the midst of five straight first overall finishes and at the tail end of five straight Stanley Cup victories. The Detroit Red Wings, who were dead last and missed the playoffs the previous season, squeaked into the playoffs riding a Hart Memorial Trophy performance by their ageless star right-winger Gordie Howe.

This season marked the first season of the Original Six era during which every active player had played for Original Six teams only. Ken Mosdell, the last player to play for another team, retired the previous season.

Bronco Horvath had his best NHL season in 1959-60.

Going into the last game of the season against the Chicago Black Hawks, the Bruins had been eliminated from the playoffs. However, the Art Ross Trophy was still up for grabs between Bronco Horvath and Chicago's Bobby Hull. Horvath led the scoring race with 39 goals and 41 assists, while Hull had 38 goals and 41 assists. With Chicago leading 1-0, as the first period neared its end, Bob Armstrong's shot from the point hit Horvath on the left jaw. He collapsed and was rushed to hospital by taxi while still wearing his uniform. While receiving x-rays, he missed a seven goal second period in which Hull scored once that ended with the score tied 4-4. With the x-rays negative, Horvath returned for the third period but was dazed and didn't record any points. Doug Mohns put the Bruins up 5-4 but at 13:01, Hull's pass to the front of the Bruins net bounced off the skate of teammate Eric Nesterenko and into the Boston goal. The game ended in a 5-5 tie with Hull winning the Art Ross Trophy by one point. Horvath was given a $1000 bonus by the Bruins for his accomplishment and ended tied with Hull for the goal scoring lead with 39.

Final Standings[]

National Hockey League
Montreal Canadiens 70 40 18 12 92 255 178
Toronto Maple Leafs 70 35 26 9 79 199 195
Chicago Black Hawks 70 28 29 13 69 191 180
Detroit Red Wings 70 26 29 15 67 186 197
Boston Bruins 70 28 34 8 64 220 241
New York Rangers 70 17 38 15 49 187 247

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

Scoring Leaders[]

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

Player Team GP G A Pts
Bobby Hull Chicago Black Hawks 70 39 42 81
Bronco Horvath Boston Bruins 68 39 41 80
Jean Beliveau Montreal Canadiens 60 34 40 74
Andy Bathgate New York Rangers 70 26 48 74
Henri Richard Montreal Canadiens 70 30 43 73
Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings 70 28 45 73
Bernie Geoffrion Montreal Canadiens 59 30 41 71
Don McKenney Boston Bruins 70 20 49 69
Vic Stasiuk Boston Bruins 69 29 39 68
Dean Prentice New York Rangers 70 32 34 66

Leading Goaltenders[]

Note: GP = Games played; MIN = Minutes played; GA = Goals against; SO = Shut outs; AVG = Goals against average

Jacques Plante Montreal Canadiens 69 4140 175 3 2.54
Glenn Hall Chicago Black Hawks 70 4200 179 6 2.56
Terry Sawchuk Detroit Red Wings 58 3480 155 5 2.67
Johnny Bower Toronto Maple Leafs 66 3960 177 5 2.68
Don Simmons Boston Bruins 28 1680 91 2 3.25
Harry Lumley Boston Bruins 42 2520 146 2 3.48
Gump Worsley New York Rangers 39 2301 135 0 3.52

Stanley Cup Playoffs[]

All dates in 1960

The momentum did not stop for the Habs as they played the minimum number of games to win the Stanley Cup. Montreal, in the process, became the last Cup winners in NHL history to go undefeated in the playoffs to date. After winning the Stanley Cup, Maurice Richard retired from the NHL as a champion.

Playoff Bracket[]

Semifinals Finals
1 Montreal Canadiens 4
3 Chicago Black Hawks 0
1 Montreal Canadiens 4
2 Toronto Maple Leafs 0
2 Toronto Maple Leafs 4
4 Detroit Red Wings 2


Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks had lead the league in scoring, but the well-oiled machine called the Montreal Canadiens managed to hold him to only one goal as the Canadiens swept the Black Hawks in four. The Toronto Maple Leafs, though, had a slightly tougher time against the Gordie Howe led Detroit Red Wings as it took the Leafs 6 games, including one in triple overtime, to win the series.

Chicago Black Hawks vs. Montreal Canadiens

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
March 24 Chicago Black Hawks 3 Montreal Canadiens 4
March 26 Chicago Black Hawks 3 Montreal Canadiens 4 (OT)
March 29 Montreal Canadiens 4 Chicago Black Hawks 0
March 31 Montreal Canadiens 2 Chicago Black Hawks 0

Montreal wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 0

Detroit Red Wings vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
March 23 Detroit Red Wings 2 Toronto Maple Leafs 1
March 26 Detroit Red Wings 2 Toronto Maple Leafs 4
March 27 Toronto Maple Leafs 5 Detroit Red Wings 4 (3OT)
March 29 Toronto Maple Leafs 1 Detroit Red Wings 2 (OT)
April 2 Detroit Red Wings 4 Toronto Maple Leafs 5
April 3 Toronto Maple Leafs 4 Detroit Red Wings 2

Toronto wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 2


see 1960 Stanley Cup Finals

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 7 Toronto Maple Leafs 2 Montreal Canadiens 4
April 9 Toronto Maple Leafs 1 Montreal Canadiens 2
April 12 Montreal Canadiens 5 Toronto Maple Leafs 2
April 14 Montreal Canadiens 4 Toronto Maple Leafs 0

Montreal wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 0

Playoff Leading Scorers[]

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

Player Team GP G A Pts
Henri Richard Montreal Canadiens 8 3 9 12
Bernie Geoffrion Montreal Canadiens 8 2 10 12
Leonard "Red" Kelly Toronto Maple Leafs 10 3 8 11
Dickie Moore Montreal Canadiens 8 6 4 10
Alex Delvecchio Detroit Red Wings 6 2 6 8
Jean Beliveau Montreal Canadiens 8 5 2 7
Bert Olmstead Toronto Maple Leafs 10 3 4 7

NHL Awards[]

1959-60 NHL Awards
Prince of Wales Trophy: Montreal Canadiens
Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks
Calder Memorial Trophy: Bill Hay, Chicago Black Hawks
Hart Memorial Trophy: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Don McKenney, Boston Bruins
Vezina Trophy: Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens

All-Star Teams[]

First Team   Position   Second Team
Glenn Hall, Chicago Black Hawks G Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens D Allan Stanley, Toronto Maple Leafs
Marcel Pronovost, Detroit Red Wings D Pierre Pilote, Chicago Black Hawks
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens C Bronco Horvath, Boston Bruins
Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings RW Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens
Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks LW Dean Prentice, New York Rangers


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1959-60 (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 1959-60 (listed with their last team):


See Also[]


NHL Seasons

1955-56 | 1956-57 | 1957-58 | 1958-59 | 1959-60 | 1960-61 | 1961-62 | 1962-63 | 1963-64