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1968–69 Boston Bruins · NHL
Division 2nd East
1968–69 record 42-18-6
Goals for 303 (1st)
Goals against 221 (5th, tie)
General Manager Milt Schmidt
Coach Harry Sinden
Alternate captains John Bucyk
Phil Esposito
Ed Westfall
Ted Green
Arena Boston Garden
Average attendance 14,833
Team Leaders
Goals Phil Esposito (49)
Assists Phil Esposito (77)
Points Phil Esposito (126)
Penalties in minutes Don Awrey (149)
Wins Gerry Cheevers (28)
Goals against average Gerry Cheevers (2.80)
← Seasons →
1967–68 1969–70

The 1968–69 Boston Bruins season was the Bruins' 45th season in the NHL. The Bruins finished second in the East Division, three points behind the Montreal Canadiens. They lost in the Semi-finals to Montreal 4 games to 2.

Off-season[edit | edit source]

The Boston Garden score clock prior to the 1968-69 season.

GM Milt Schmidt made a few minor moves in the off-season, trading penalty killing specialist Skip Krake to the Los Angeles Kings for a first round pick which the Bruins would use to select Reggie Leach. Jean Pronovost and John Arbour were sold to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ron Buchanan was lost in the intra-league draft to the Philadelphia Flyers and Jean Gauthier was claimed.

Bobby Orr had a second surgery on his left knee in June 1968. In August 1968, Orr and Phil Esposito both signed three year contracts but their salaries were not disclosed.

A new score clock was installed above center ice at the Boston Garden during the summer of 1968. The clock faces were replaced with digital numbers for the game and penalty times.

Pre-season[edit | edit source]

Ken Hodge, Ron Murphy, Glen Sather and Derek Sanderson at training camp, October 10, 1968.

The Bruins held their training camp at London, Ontario which began on September 14, 1968. They played ten exhibition games, mainly against other NHL teams. Bobby Orr did not play in any of the pre-season games but was in the line-up for the regular season opener.

September 23, 1968: Boston 1, Toronto Maple Leafs 1 @ London, Ontario
September 24, 1968: Boston 6, Oklahoma City Blazers 4 @ Oshawa, Ontario
September 29, 1968: Boston 4, Detroit Red Wings 2 @ Hamilton, Ontario
September 30, 1968: Boston 0, New York Rangers 3 @ London, Ontario
October 1, 1968: Boston 0, New York Rangers 3 @ Kingston, Ontario
October 2, 1968: Boston 3, Toronto Maple Leafs 1 @ Peterborough, Ontario
October 7, 1968: Boston 1, Detroit Red Wings 3 @ London, Ontario
October 8, 1968: Boston 5, Rochester Americans 2 @ Rochester, New York
October 11, 1968: @ Boston 1, New York Rangers 3
October 16, 1968: @ Boston 3, Montreal Canadiens 0

The Bruins finished the exhibition season with a 5-4-1 record.

As in the previous season, the Bruins had no captain. John Bucyk, Ed Westfall and Phil Esposito were appointed "co-captains."

Regular Season[edit | edit source]

Bobby Orr started the 1968-69 season after a second knee surgery.

The Bruins of 1968-69 had very minor changes in the line-up from the previous year. A healthy Ron Murphy took his place on the first line with Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge while the second line of Fred Stanfield centering John Bucyk and John McKenzie remained intact. Derek Sanderson, Ed Westfall and Glen Sather were relied on as penalty killers while Wayne Cashman would establish himself quickly and eventually supplant Murphy on Esposito's line. Eddie Shack and Tom Williams played on various lines.

The defense remained unchanged, led by Norris Trophy winner Bobby Orr, partnered with Dallas Smith. Ted Green, Don Awrey and newcomer Rick Smith, who the Bruins drafted in 1966, rounded out the regular blueliners. Gary Doak acted as the sixth defenseman and saw his playing time drop with Rick Smith's promotion. Goaltending was set as the excellent tandem of Gerry Cheevers and Eddie Johnston manned the nets.

Ed Johnston wore a mask for the rest of his career beginning in January 1969.

Boston went 6-4-0 in October but weren't scoring at the rate that made them the goals for leader in the 1967-68 season. Ted Green refused to honour the second year of his contract and missed the first two games until coming to terms. John McKenzie was hurt during the October 16, 1968 game versus the Oakland Seals and Ross Lonsberry was recalled. Ron Murphy played on Stanfield's line while Williams manned the left wing on Esposito's line. Hodge and Esposito had slow starts, with 1 and 4 goals respectively until McKenzie's return on October 30 while Williams and Lonsberry went scoreless. During the pre-game warm-ups for the October 31, 1968 game versus the Detroit Red Wings, an Orr shot hit Ed Johnston in the temple. He was rushed to the hospital where blood clots were found. Johnston nearly died but recovered after three weeks in hospital. When he returned to action months later, he wore a mask for the first time in his career.

Gerry Cheevers played every game in November 1968. Note the beginning of the stitches on Cheever's mask.

November saw the Bruins hit their stride offensively. During the November 10, 1968 game versus the St. Louis Blues, Ted Green and Bob Plager had a stick-swinging incident which cleared the benches. This was a precursor to a much worse incident Green would have with a different member of the Blues a year later. The battles continued two games later at the Philadelphia Spectrum as Bobby Orr fought twice with former Bruin Gary Dornhoefer after being speared several times. Both were given game misconducts after the second fight. Boston then went on a four game winning streak in which they scored 22 goals with Phil Esposito netting a Hat trick during the 7-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on November 24, 1968. The Bruins finished the month two points out of first place.

Dallas Smith scores shorthanded, December 1, 1968.

Boston began December with a 4-0 blanking of Minnesota North Stars on December 1 with Gerry Cheevers earning the shutout. The Bruins outshot the Stars 46-27 and scored two shorthanded goals, including a skilled solo effort by Dallas Smith. The December 5, 1968 game versus the Montreal Canadiens saw Phil Esposito face his brother Tony who was starting his first NHL game in the nets for the Habs. The Bruins tested Tony with 35 shots but only Phil could solve him as he scored both Bruins goals in a 2-2 tie. After Rick Smith was relegated to the minors, Barry Gibbs was recalled and played eight games in November, beginning with the Esposito brothers match-up.

Bobby Orr after his first hat trick, all 3 goals assisted by Ed Westfall, December 14, 1968.

The December 14, 1968 game versus the Chicago Black Hawks saw Westfall, Stanfield, Bucyk and McKenzie score 4 points and Bobby Orr net his first career hat trick (and 5 points) as Boston thumped Chicago 10-5. Having started 19 games in a row, Gerry Cheevers was pulled with 8:56 to go and backup Joe Junkin played in his only NHL game. Junkin held the fort and shutout Chicago for the remainder of the match.

Howie Young ends Tom Williams' season, December 14, 1968.

A major development during this game would affect the Bruins for the next decade. Tommy Williams, an offensive bright spot for the Bruins for the last seven seasons, suffered a season-ending left knee injury during the first shift of the game when kneed by Howie Young. Wayne Cashman would win a regular spot in the line-up with Williams' injury. He'd be part of both Bruins Stanley Cup winning teams, play 15 seasons for the club and become its captain. Eddie Shack was also knocked out of the line-up during the December 14 match which saw the recall of Tom Webster, who played his first NHL game. The injuries didn't hurt the Bruins performance as they went on a four game point streak.

Phil Esposito scores on brother Tony, December 22, 1968.

During a rematch against Tony Esposito and the Canadiens on December 21, 1968, the game ended in a scoreless draw. Playing against Tony and Montreal the next night, the Bruins were down 4-1 early in the second period. Five straight goals turned the tide with Phil Esposito notching two as Boston won 7-5. After losing for only the second time in December, to Oakland by 3-1 on Christmas Day, the Bruins defeated St. Louis 6-2 on December 28 with Ken Hodge scoring a pair. The year closed out the next night with a 3-3 tie against Detroit as Grant Erickson scored the only NHL goal of his career and Esposito set up all three Boston goals. The Bruins ended the year with a 19-8-7 record and 45 points, one point out of first place.

Phil Esposito opens the scoring, January 4, 1969.

In the new year, Ed Johnston played the first game since his head injury in a 2-2 tie with the Minnesota North Stars on January 4, 1969 in which Phil Esposito scored both Bruins goals. On January 9, Boston played at home versus Toronto. A huge melee broke out in the first period in which 49 penalty minutes were called and Jim Dorey was ejected from the game. The Bruins went up 3-0 and held on for a 3-2 win. Despite being outshot 46-29, the Bruins beat the Canadiens 6-3 in Montreal with Esposito potting a goal and two assists.

Phil Esposito makes it 3-0, January 16, 1969.

Esposito was unstoppable during January as he accumulated 9 goals and 22 assists, including a 5 assist night during the 8-4 win over Pittsburgh on January 12, 1969. With Eddie Shack still out of the line-up, Jim Harrison was called up to the NHL for the first time. He played the majority of the games in January and scored his first goal during the 5-5 tie with Toronto on January 15, 1969. Bill Lesuk and Don Marcotte also saw limited action. The Bruins dominated the North Stars on January 16, allowing only one shot in the first period and out shooting them 40-14 in a 5-1 win.

Bill Collins and Phil Esposito, January 26, 1969.

The 22nd All-Star game was held at Montreal on January 21, 1969. Four Bruins played for the East Division All Stars including Gerry Cheevers, Bobby Orr, Ted Green and Phil Esposito. The game ended in a 3-3 tie with no Bruins recording a point. Jean Béliveau wore jersey #4 and Tim Horton wore jersey #7 so Orr wore jersey #2 and Esposito wore jersey #11. The Bruins 7-5 win over the Los Angeles Kings on January 30, 1969, saw Boston go undefeated in the month with a 10-0-4 record. Derek Sanderson had his first career hat trick in this game but Bobby Orr twisted his knee and would miss matches in February. With a 16 game unbeaten streak, the Bruins finished January on top of the East Division.

The Bruins defeated the Oakland Seals 9-0 on February 27, 1969.

With Bobby Orr out day-to-day, the Bruins continued the undefeated streak into February for two games where Eddie Shack returned from injury. They finally lost 3-1 to St. Louis on February 6, 1969, ending the streak at 18 games. During the third period of the February 8, 1969 match versus the Philadelphia Flyers, Phil Esposito shoved referee Bob Sloan and was given a game misconduct. The Boston Garden was only half full for the 3-3 tie February 9 game against Oakland due to a snowstorm. The Bruins played their last home game of the month on February 11 in a 7-3 victory over Chicago. Ken Hodge had a hat trick and Phil Esposito notched five points. The Bruins lost the first two games of the road trip to Montreal (Jim Lorentz played his first NHL game) and Chicago and then Esposito was notified he'd be suspended for two games for the incident with Sloan. Without Orr and Esposito, the Bruins were shutout 3-0 by the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 19, 1969. Orr returned for the February 23, 1969 game versus the New York Rangers which the Bruins lost 9-0. The four game losing streak was broken on February 26 in the 4-2 win over Los Angeles in which Esposito and Orr both had two assists. The next night in Oakland, the Bruins won 9-0 in which Esposito had 3 points and Orr, a goal and an assist. Ending the month, they were tied with Montreal for first place.

Phil Esposito becomes the first NHLer to score 100 points in a season, March 2, 1969.

March 1969 would be a month of Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr breaking multiple league individual scoring records. Esposito had a goal and an assist in the 8-5 win during the March 1, 1969 game versus the Rangers for 98 points on the season, breaking Bobby Hull's record of 97 points. The next evening, he netted two goals in the 4-0 win against Pittsburgh, becoming the first player in league history to score 100 points in a season. Jim Lorentz also scored his first NHL goal in this game, which was the winner. During the 3-3 tie on March 11, 1969 versus Minnesota, Esposito had two assists, giving him 68 assists on the season and breaking the record of 67 jointly held by Dickie Moore and Stan Mikita. With an assist during the March 15 match versus the Toronto Maple Leafs, Bobby Orr had 60 points, breaking the mark of 59 set by Pierre Pilote.

Bobby Orr sets the record for most goals by a defenseman in a season, March 20, 1969.

Playing the Leafs again the next evening, the Bruins trounced them 11-4, scoring eight goals in the second period. Derek Sanderson had 3 goals and 6 points while rookie Garnet Bailey scored his first 2 NHL goals and had 5 points. During the March 19 game versus Pittsburgh, Orr scored the winner in a 3-2 triumph. The next night against Chicago, the Bruins blew a four goal lead and were trailing 5-4. Pulling Gerry Cheevers for an extra attacker, Orr tipped in John Bucyk's point shot with a second left to salvage a 5-5 tie. It was Orr's 21st goal of the season, scored on his 21st birthday, breaking the record for defensemen set by Flash Hollett.

Clarence Campbell presents trophies to Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr for the 1968-69 season.

Entering the last weekend of the season, Boston trailed Montreal by three points going into a home and home series with them. Esposito was held off the score sheet in the first game on March 29 as the Habs won 5-3 to take first place. The Bruins took the second game 6-3 with Esposito and Ken Hodge both scoring two goals. The Bruins finished second in the East Division with 100 points. Bobby Orr won the James Norris Memorial Trophy while Esposito won the Hart Memorial Trophy and both were named First Team All-Stars. Esposito also won the Art Ross Trophy as the leading scorer, the first for the Bruins since Herb Cain had the most points in the 1943-44 season. Ted Green was named a Second Team All-Star as he had his best NHL season with 46 points. Despite winning no awards, Ken Hodge had what in past years would have been an MVP season, with 45 goals and 90 points.

Final Standings[edit | edit source]

East Division
GP W L T GF GA PTS
Montreal Canadiens 76 46 19 11 271 202 103
Boston Bruins 76 42 18 16 303 221 100
New York Rangers 76 41 26 9 231 196 91
Toronto Maple Leafs 76 35 26 15 234 217 85
Detroit Red Wings 76 33 31 12 239 221 78
Chicago Black Hawks 76 34 33 9 280 246 77

[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.

Game Log[edit | edit source]

Regular Season Schedule
No. R Date Score Opponent Record
1 W October 11, 1968 4–2 Detroit Red Wings (1968–69) 1–0–0
2 W October 13, 1968 3–2 Philadelphia Flyers (1968–69) 2–0–0
3 W October 16, 1968 2–1 @ Oakland Seals (1968–69) 3–0–0
4 L October 17, 1968 1–2 @ Los Angeles Kings (1968–69) 3–1–0
5 W October 19, 1968 5–1 @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1968–69) 4–1–0
6 L October 24, 1968 1–2 St. Louis Blues (1968–69) 4–2–0
7 L October 26, 1968 0–2 @ Toronto Maple Leafs (1968–69) 4–3–0
8 W October 27, 1968 4–2 Montreal Canadiens (1968–69) 5–3–0
9 W October 30, 1968 4–2 @ Minnesota North Stars (1968–69) 6–3–0
10 L October 31, 1968 5–7 @ Detroit Red Wings (1968–69) 6–4–0
11 W November 3, 1968 5–3 Chicago Black Hawks (1968–69) 7–4–0
12 W November 6, 1968 7–1 Philadelphia Flyers (1968–69) 8–4–0
13 T November 10, 1968 1–1 St. Louis Blues (1968–69) 8–4–1
14 T November 13, 1968 1–1 @ Toronto Maple Leafs (1968–69) 8–4–2
15 L November 14, 1968 2–4 @ Philadelphia Flyers (1968–69) 8–5–2
16 W November 17, 1968 6–3 Oakland Seals (1968–69) 9–5–2
17 W November 21, 1968 4–1 Los Angeles Kings (1968–69) 10–5–2
18 W November 23, 1968 5–1 New York Rangers (1968–69) 11–5–2
19 W November 24, 1968 7–4 Toronto Maple Leafs (1968–69) 12–5–2
20 T November 27, 1968 4–4 @ St. Louis Blues (1968–69) 12–5–3
21 L November 30, 1968 1–4 New York Rangers (1968–69) 12–6–3
22 W December 1, 1968 4–0 Minnesota North Stars (1968–69) 13–6–3
23 T December 5, 1968 2–2 Montreal Canadiens (1968–69) 13–6–4
24 W December 7, 1968 4–1 Detroit Red Wings (1968–69) 14–6–4
25 L December 8, 1968 4–7 @ Chicago Black Hawks (1968–69) 14–7–4
26 T December 11, 1968 2–2 @ New York Rangers (1968–69) 14–7–5
27 W December 14, 1968 10–5 Chicago Black Hawks (1968–69) 15–7–5
28 W December 15, 1968 5–3 Pittsburgh Penguins (1968–69) 16–7–5
29 W December 19, 1968 6–4 Los Angeles Kings (1968–69) 17–7–5
30 T December 21, 1968 0–0 @ Montreal Canadiens (1968–69) 17–7–6
31 W December 22, 1968 7–5 Montreal Canadiens (1968–69) 18–7–6
32 L December 25, 1968 1–3 Oakland Seals (1968–69) 18–8–6
33 W December 28, 1968 6–2 @ St. Louis Blues (1968–69) 19–8–6
34 T December 29, 1968 3–3 @ Detroit Red Wings (1968–69) 19–8–7
35 W January 2, 1969 4–2 @ New York Rangers (1968–69) 20–8–7
36 T January 4, 1969 2–2 @ Minnesota North Stars (1968–69) 20–8–8
37 W January 9, 1969 3–2 Toronto Maple Leafs (1968–69) 21–8–8
38 W January 11, 1969 6–3 @ Montreal Canadiens (1968–69) 22–8–8
39 W January 12, 1969 8–4 Pittsburgh Penguins (1968–69) 23–8–8
40 T January 15, 1969 5–5 @ Toronto Maple Leafs (1968–69) 23–8–9
41 W January 16, 1969 5–1 Minnesota North Stars (1968–69) 24–8–9
42 W January 18, 1969 5–3 @ Philadelphia Flyers (1968–69) 25–8–9
43 W January 19, 1969 5–3 Toronto Maple Leafs (1968–69) 26–8–9
44 T January 23, 1969 2–2 @ Detroit Red Wings (1968–69) 26–8–10
45 W January 25, 1969 4–0 St. Louis Blues (1968–69) 27–8–10
46 W January 26, 1969 4–3 Minnesota North Stars (1968–69) 28–8–10
47 T January 29, 1969 3–3 @ Oakland Seals (1968–69) 28–8–11
48 W January 30, 1969 7–5 @ Los Angeles Kings (1968–69) 29–8–11
49 W February 2, 1969 4–2 Detroit Red Wings (1968–69) 30–8–11
50 W February 5, 1969 7–2 @ Chicago Black Hawks (1968–69) 31–8–11
51 L February 6, 1969 1–3 @ St. Louis Blues (1968–69) 31–9–11
52 W February 8, 1969 6–5 Philadelphia Flyers (1968–69) 32–9–11
53 T February 9, 1969 3–3 Oakland Seals (1968–69) 32–9–12
54 W February 11, 1969 7–3 Chicago Black Hawks (1968–69) 33–9–12
55 L February 15, 1969 1–3 @ Montreal Canadiens (1968–69) 33–10–12
56 L February 16, 1969 1–5 @ Chicago Black Hawks (1968–69) 33–11–12
57 L February 19, 1969 0–3 @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1968–69) 33–12–12
58 L February 23, 1969 0–9 @ New York Rangers (1968–69) 33–13–12
59 W February 26, 1969 4–2 @ Los Angeles Kings (1968–69) 34–13–12
60 W February 27, 1969 9–0 @ Oakland Seals (1968–69) 35–13–12
61 W March 1, 1969 8–5 New York Rangers (1968–69) 36–13–12
62 W March 2, 1969 4–0 Pittsburgh Penguins (1968–69) 37–13–12
63 T March 5, 1969 2–2 Detroit Red Wings (1968–69) 37–13–13
64 L March 8, 1969 4–7 @ Detroit Red Wings (1968–69) 37–14–13
65 W March 9, 1969 7–2 Los Angeles Kings (1968–69) 38–14–13
66 T March 11, 1969 3–3 @ Minnesota North Stars (1968–69) 38–14–14
67 L March 13, 1969 1–2 @ Philadelphia Flyers (1968–69) 38–15–14
68 L March 15, 1969 4–7 @ Toronto Maple Leafs (1968–69) 38–16–14
69 W March 16, 1969 11–3 Toronto Maple Leafs (1968–69) 39–16–14
70 W March 19, 1969 3–2 @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1968–69) 40–16–14
71 T March 20, 1969 5–5 Chicago Black Hawks (1968–69) 40–16–15
72 W March 22, 1969 5–3 @ Chicago Black Hawks (1968–69) 41–16–15
73 L March 23, 1969 2–4 @ New York Rangers (1968–69) 41–17–15
74 T March 27, 1969 3–3 New York Rangers (1968–69) 41–17–16
75 L March 29, 1969 3–5 @ Montreal Canadiens (1968–69) 41–18–16
76 W March 30, 1969 6–3 Montreal Canadiens (1968–69) 42–18–16

Playoffs[edit | edit source]

Boston Bruins 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 0[edit | edit source]

The teams last met a decade before in the 1959 Semi-finals where the Leafs edged the Bruins 4 games to 3. The Bruins ran roughshod over the Maple Leafs in the 1969 Quarter-finals, led by Phil Esposito who had 10 points, 5 goals from Derek Sanderson and Gerry Cheevers who had 2 shutouts and allowed only 5 goals in Boston's four game sweep.

Phil Esposito's hat trick goal, 1969 Quarter-finals Game 1, April 2, 1969.

Game 1 at the Boston Garden was a wide open, penalty-filled affair dominated by the Bruins who outshot the Leafs 51-40. Boston scored two quick Power play goals by Esposito and John Bucyk and led 2-0 before four minutes were played. Esposito potted another before the first period ended. Johnny Bower was pulled and gave way to Bruce Gamble at the start of the second period. Bucyk scored his second goal and then Sanderson his first at 10:40. With the Bruins leading 5-0, the roughness picked up with the Leafs Forbes Kennedy drawing a double minor. Esposito scored on the power play for his first playoff Hat trick.

Bobby Orr confronts Pat Quinn, April 2, 1969.

Sanderson and Tim Horton fought and with two minutes to go in the period, Pat Quinn caught Bobby Orr with his head down and hit him with a high check. Orr lay motionless and the crowd began to bay for Quinn's head. Eventually, Orr regained consciousness and skated off the ice unsteadily (he was not stretchered off). He even exchanged a few words with Quinn on his way to the dressing room. Though taken to hospital with a concussion, he played in the next game. Quinn received a 5 minute elbowing penalty and went to the penalty box where he was attacked by fans. The glass behind the box shattered, police had to intervene and the Leafs bench cleared to help Quinn, who escaped the box and went to the dressing room.

Pat Quinn being attacked by fans, April 2, 1969.

Esposito scored his fourth goal of the game during Quinn's penalty. With Boston leading 7-0 starting the third period, Fred Stanfield scored during the remainder of Quinn's penalty. Quinn returned to the ice and fans showered him with debris. With less than four minutes to play, multiple fights broke out beginning with Eddie Shack and Jim Dorey. Kennedy instigated a fight with Gerry Cheevers which resulted in multiple Bruins going after him. When he neared the boards, Kennedy was hit by a fan and he punched linesman George Ashley, who tried to restrain him. In all, 17 penalties were called. Kennedy received seven penalties and a game misconduct as part of 135 minutes in penalties in the game. Sanderson scored his second of the game and Ken Hodge his first as the Bruins destroyed the Leafs 10-0 powered by 6 points by Esposito.

John Bucyk makes it 2-0, 1969 Quarter-finals Game 2, April 3, 1969.

Game 2 at Boston saw Toronto's Forbes Kennedy out of the line-up with a four game suspension and $1000 fine. It was a much tamer affair than Game 1 with only one fight. The Bruins continued to dominate the Leafs as John Bucyk opened the scoring in the first period, finishing off a 2 on 1 with Phil Esposito. Bucyk then blasted a slapshot from the left wing between Johnny Bower's pads. A Ted Green slapshot from the point sailed over Bower's shoulder to make it 3-0 Bruins at the end of the period. John McKenzie added another in the second period and Gamble was pulled in favour of Johnny Bower. Ken Hodge put the Bruins up 5-0 by the end of the second period and third period goals by Phil Esposito and Ron Murphy completed a 7-0 rout.

Game 3 at Maple Leaf Gardens was the closest game of the series as the Leafs came to life. The teams traded chances all game with Ed Westfall opening the scoring with a shorthanded goal to which Ron Ellis responded four minutes later. Ted Green's second of the series put the Bruins up 2-1 heading into the second period. Fred Stanfield extended the lead to 3-1 before Murray Oliver and Norm Ullman tied the game 3-3. Johnny Bower was pulled for the third game in a row for Bruce Gamble but Derek Sanderson's was set up by Bobby Orr for the third period's only goal as Boston edged Toronto 4-3. It was the first victory for Boston in Toronto since November 27, 1965.

Derek Sanderson's 1969 Quarter-finals series winner, April 6, 1969.

Game 4 at Toronto saw Phil Esposito take a hooking penalty 23 seconds into the game. Ed Westfall picked off a pass by George Armstrong and sent Derek Sanderson in for a shorthanded goal at 1:21. Two minutes later on the power play, John Bucyk beat two Leafs to the puck in the left corner and passed it to Phil Esposito whose one-timer beat Johnny Bower for a 2-0 Bruins lead. The Leafs got one back on the power play as Murray Oliver made a nice move on Don Awrey and fed it to Ron Ellis who shot in the open right side of the net. In the second period, Westfall beat two Leafs to the puck and passed it out front to Eddie Shack. He pulled Tim Horton with him and then fed a pass to Derek Sanderson, who fired the game winner into the open left side of the net. With Mike Pelyk off for cross checking, Dave Keon scored a shorthanded goal on a 2 on 1 with Ellis. The Leafs couldn't even the score in the third period and the game ended with a 3-2 Boston win and a series sweep. It was the only game in which the Maple Leafs didn't pull their goalie. Immediately afterwards, Leafs GM and coach of over a decade, Punch Imlach, was let go.

# Date Visitor Score Home Record
1 April 2 Toronto Maple Leafs 0-10 Boston Bruins 0-1
2 April 3 Toronto Maple Leafs 0-7 Boston Bruins 0-2
3 April 5 Boston Bruins 4-3 Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0
4 April 6 Boston Bruins 3-2 Toronto Maple Leafs 4-0

Montreal Canadiens 4, Boston Bruins 2[edit | edit source]

The teams met the year before in the 1968 Quarter-finals where Montreal swept Boston 4 games to 0. The 1969 Semi-finals was much closer with the Canadiens winning three games in overtime to take the series 4 games to 2.

Derek Sanderson's second goal, Game 1 of the 1969 Semi-finals, April 10, 1969.

Game 1 at the Montreal Forum had 10 penalties called in the first period as both teams tried to establish a physical edge. Derek Sanderson opened the scoring as he pulled the puck through Canadiens defenseman Ted Harris and then fired a slapshot past Gump Worsley's stick side at 13:28 of the first period. Montreal pressed hard for an equalizer in the second period and out chanced Boston. Mickey Redmond hit the post, Bobby Rousseau and Henri Richard had great chances which Bruins goalie Gerry Cheevers turned aside. With Boston down two men, Derek Sanderson for slashing and Bobby Orr off for tripping, the Bruins killed off Sanderson's penalty. He returned to the ice, picked up the puck in his own zone, broke into the Habs zone, beat J.C. Tremblay to the outside left, cut to the net and caromed a shot off Worsley for a shorthanded goal. The Bruins continued to frustrate the Habs in the third period, killing off two early penalties in which Montreal had few chances and the crowd began to boo. Fred Stanfield hit the post and nearly made it 3-0 before Eddie Shack took an elbowing penalty that would change the game. John Ferguson took a long shot while racing down the left wing that beat Cheevers and made it 2-1. Boston had no chances on a power play with less than five minutes to play. With 1:02 to play, Montreal pulled Worsley for an extra attacker and Jean Béliveau won a face-off over Phil Esposito in Boston's zone. Cheevers saved a point shot but Beliveau whacked in the rebound to send the game into overtime. 40 seconds in, Dallas Smith turned over the puck at the Bruins blueline to Serge Savard who passed it to Ralph Backstrom, who was in full flight. Backstrom's slapper from the slot beat Cheevers to the stick side for a 3-2 Montreal win.

Game 2 at Montreal mirrored Game 1 in many ways. Despite taking too many penalties (Montreal had 7 power plays), the Bruins penalty killing was excellent but eventually it proved fatal. After a scoreless first period, Yvan Cournoyer and John McKenzie traded goals with the man advantage in the second period. Jean Beliveau put the Habs up 2-1 but Ron Murphy tied it up less than a minute later. With less than six minutes left in the third period, John Bucyk gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead. As in Game 1, the Canadiens pulled Gump Worsley for an extra attacker. Serge Savard tied the game in the last minute, shovelling a bouncing puck past Gerry Cheevers. In overtime, Ted Green took a hooking penalty 3:31 in and Ralph Backstrom won a draw in the Bruins zone back to Savard. Mickey Redmond deflected Savard's point shot past Cheevers for a 4-3 Canadiens win.

Phil Esposito scores the first goal of Semi-finals Game 3, April 17, 1969.

Game 3 at the Boston Garden saw the Bruins play with more discipline and Phil Esposito's line dominated Montreal's top line of Jean Beliveau, Dick Duff and Bobby Rousseau. Esposito opened the scoring as he one-timed a Bobby Orr dump-in that bounced off the boards in front of the Habs net 3:37 into the game. After killing off three penalties, the Bruins made it 2-0 at 16:35 of the second period as Ed Westfall picked off a Montreal clearing attempt, passed it to Esposito in the corner who found Orr in front of the Canadiens net. Orr passed it to Westfall, after drawing the Habs defenders to him, and Westfall slid it into the open net. Early in the third period on the power play, Ron Murphy won a puck battle at centre ice, skated into Montreal's zone and backhanded a pass to Esposito in the slot. Orr drove for net, leaving Esposito to fire the puck past Worsley. At 10:07, Ken Hodge stripped Rousseau of the puck in the Canadiens zone, passed it back to Murphy who beat Worsley to the stick side for a 4-0 Boston lead. Right off the face-off, Dallas Smith carried the puck into the Canadien's zone and fed it to Esposito. His shot on Worsley rebounded out to Ken Hodge who made it 5-0. Jean Beliveau finished -4, Esposito had a hand in all five Bruin goals as Boston narrowed Montreal's series lead to 2-1.

Ed Westfall scores the first goal of Semi-finals Game 4, April 20, 1969.

Game 4 at Boston was penalty-filled with the Bruins taking the majority of the 18 called. However, Boston turned this to their advantage with Ed Westfall and Derek Sanderson both scoring shorthanded goals in the first period, countered by a power play goal by Jacques Lemaire. The game remained scoreless through the second period with a melee involving spearing between Ted Harris and Glen Sather. With less than two minutes left in the third period, Bobby Orr put the Bruins up 3-1. Serge Savard again scored with Worsley pulled but the game ended in a 3-2 Bruins win and the series tied 2-2.

Game 5 at Montreal saw the Bruins fail to take advantage of their chances. Jacques Laperriere opened the scoring on the power play late in the first period. Claude Provost and J.C. Tremblay scored two quick goals early in the second period before Ken Hodge notched a pair, including one on the power play. Provost's second of the game at 7:06 of the third period made it 4-2 Montreal. Despite out shooting Montreal 42-25 and having seven power plays, the game ended 4-2 and the Canadiens took a 3-2 series lead.

Game 6 at Boston was a wide open, goaltender's duel in which the Bruins outshot the Canadiens 51-47. Ron Murphy opened the scoring 2:29 into the game and then Boston killed off three penalties. The second period was scoreless, despite the Bruins having a 5 on 3 power play for 1:24. Early in the third period, Serge Savard tied the game on the power play. The teams kept trading chances for the remainder of regulation and the first overtime period, in which the Bruins had a power play, but with no scoring. Past the midway point of the second overtime period, Phil Esposito won a face-off in the Bruins zone and Hodge cleared it back to Ted Green. Green rounded the net and passed it out front to Don Awrey. Claude Provost picked off Awrey's clearing attempt, passed it in the slot to Jean Beliveau who beat Cheevers with a high shot to the glove side for his only career OT goal. The Canadiens took the close series 4 games to 2. Despite not playing in the Cup Finals, Esposito still led all playoff scorers with 18 points.

# Date Visitor Score Home Record
1 April 10 Boston Bruins 2-3 (OT) Montreal Canadiens 0-1
2 April 13 Boston Bruins 3-4 (OT) Montreal Canadiens 0-2
3 April 17 Montreal Canadiens 0-5 Boston Bruins 2-1
4 April 20 Montreal Canadiens 2-3 Boston Bruins 2-2
5 April 22 Boston Bruins 2-4 Montreal Canadiens 2-3
6 April 24 Montreal Canadiens 2-1 (OT) Boston Bruins 4-2

Player Stats[edit | edit source]

Regular Season[edit | edit source]

Scoring
# Player Pos GP G A Pts PIM PPG SHG GWG
7 Esposito, PhilPhil Esposito C 74 49 77 126 79 10 2 9
8 Hodge, KenKen Hodge RW 75 45 45 90 75 9 1 7
9 Bucyk, JohnJohn Bucyk LW 70 24 42 66 18 11 0 3
4 Orr, BobbyBobby Orr D 67 21 43 64 133 4 0 2
19 McKenzie, JohnJohn McKenzie RW 60 29 27 56 99 8 1 7
17 Stanfield, FredFred Stanfield C 71 25 29 54 22 6 0 1
28 Murphy, RonRon Murphy LW 60 16 38 54 26 5 0 0
16 Sanderson, DerekDerek Sanderson C 61 26 22 48 146 1 3 3
6 Green, TedTed Green D 65 8 38 46 99 3 0 0
18 Westfall, EdEd Westfall D/RW 70 18 24 42 22 1 4 4
12 Cashman, WayneWayne Cashman LW 51 8 23 31 49 1 0 1
20 Smith, DallasDallas Smith D 75 4 24 28 74 0 1 0
23 Shack, EddieEddie Shack LW 50 11 11 22 74 1 0 3
14 Sather, GlenGlen Sather LW 76 4 11 15 67 0 1 1
26 Awrey, DonDon Awrey D 73 0 13 13 149 0 0 0
11 Williams, TommyTommy Williams RW 26 4 7 11 19 0 0 0
22 Bailey, GarnetGarnet Bailey LW 8 3 3 6 10 0 0 0
25 Doak, GaryGary Doak D 22 3 3 6 37 0 0 0
10 Smith, RickRick Smith D 48 0 5 5 29 0 0 0
21 Lorentz, JimJim Lorentz C/RW 11 1 3 4 6 0 0 1
21 Harrison, JimJim Harrison C 16 1 2 3 21 0 0 0
27 Gauthier, JeanJean Gauthier D 11 0 2 2 8 0 0 0
22, 24 Webster, TomTom Webster RW 9 0 2 2 9 0 0 0
27 Wilkins, BarryBarry Wilkins D 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
22 Erickson, GrantGrant Erickson LW 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
27, 29 Marcotte, DonDon Marcotte LW 7 1 0 1 2 0 0 0
27 Hurley, PaulPaul Hurley D 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
22, 27 Lesuk, BillBill Lesuk LW 5 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
22 Atkinson, SteveSteve Atkinson RW 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
21 Leiter, BobbyBobby Leiter C 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
29 Lonsberry, RossRoss Lonsberry LW 6 0 0 0 2 0 0 0
24 Gibbs, BarryBarry Gibbs D 8 0 0 0 2 0 0 0
1 Junkin, JoeJoe Junkin G 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1 Johnston, EddieEddie Johnston G 24 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
30 Cheevers, GerryGerry Cheevers G 52 0 0 0 14 0 0 0
Goaltending
Player MIN GP W L T GA GAA SO
Cheevers, GerryGerry Cheevers 3112 52 28 12 12 145 2.80 3
Johnston, EddieEddie Johnston 1440 24 14 6 4 74 3.08 2
Junkin, JoeJoe Junkin 8 1 0 0 0 0 0.00 0
Team: 4560 76 42 18 16 219 2.88 5

Playoffs[edit | edit source]

Scoring
# Player Pos GP G A Pts PIM PPG SHG GWG
7 Esposito, PhilPhil Esposito C 10 8 10 18 8 5 0 2
8 Hodge, KenKen Hodge RW 10 5 7 12 4 2 0 0
9 Bucyk, JohnJohn Bucyk LW 10 5 6 11 0 2 0 1
16 Sanderson, DerekDerek Sanderson C 9 8 2 10 36 0 3 2
18 Westfall, EdEd Westfall D/RW 10 3 7 10 11 0 2 0
6 Green, TedTed Green D 10 2 7 9 18 0 0 0
28 Murphy, RonRon Murphy LW 10 4 4 8 12 0 0 0
4 Orr, BobbyBobby Orr D 10 1 7 8 10 0 0 1
19 McKenzie, JohnJohn McKenzie RW 10 2 2 4 17 1 0 0
17 Stanfield, FredFred Stanfield C 10 2 2 4 0 1 0 0
20 Smith, DallasDallas Smith D 10 0 3 3 16 0 0 0
23 Shack, EddieEddie Shack LW 9 0 2 2 23 0 0 0
12 Cashman, WayneWayne Cashman LW 6 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
26 Awrey, DonDon Awrey D 10 0 1 1 28 0 0 0
22 Bailey, GarnetGarnet Bailey LW 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0
21 Webster, TomTom Webster RW 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
22 Lesuk, BillBill Lesuk LW 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
10 Smith, RickRick Smith D 9 0 0 0 6 0 0 0
14 Sather, GlenGlen Sather LW 10 0 0 0 18 0 0 0
1 Johnston, EddieEddie Johnston G 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
30 Cheevers, GerryGerry Cheevers G 9 0 0 0 17 0 0 0
Goaltending
Player MIN GP W L GA GAA SO
Cheevers, GerryGerry Cheevers 572 9 6 3 16 1.68 3
Johnston, EddieEddie Johnston 65 1 0 1 4 3.69 0
Team: 637 10 6 4 20 1.88 3

[2]

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalty minutes; PPG = Power-play goals; SHG = Short-handed goals; GWG = Game-winning goals

MIN = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; GA = Goals-against; GAA = Goals-against average; SO = Shutouts

Awards and Records[edit | edit source]

1968-69 All-Star teams.

  • The Bruins became the first team in NHL history to score more than 300 goals in a season and set a league record with 303.
  • Phil Esposito sets the league record for most assists in a season with 77.
  • Phil Esposito sets the league record for most points in a season with 126 and is the first player in NHL history to score 100 points in a season.
  • Bobby Orr sets the league record for most goals in a season by a defenseman with 21 and most points in a season by a defenseman with 64.
  • Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Phil Esposito (1st win)
  • Hart Memorial Trophy: Phil Esposito (1st win)
  • James Norris Memorial Trophy: Bobby Orr (2nd win)
  • Phil Esposito, NHL First Team All-Star
  • Bobby Orr, NHL First Team All-Star
  • Ted Green, NHL Second Team All-Star

Transactions[edit | edit source]

Draft Picks[edit | edit source]

The 1968 NHL Entry Draft involved picking 20-year-olds and only three rounds were held. None of the players selected by the Bruins played in the NHL.

Round Player Position Nationality College/Junior/Club Team (league)
1 Danny Schock LW Flag of Canada Canada Estevan Bruins
2 Fraser Rice C Flag of Canada Canada Halifax Jr.
3 Brian St. John F Flag of Canada Canada U. of Toronto

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Derek Sanderson had a 6 point game during the 11-3 win over Toronto Maple Leafs on March 16, 1969.
  • Phil Esposito had a 6 point game during the 10-0 win over Toronto on April 2, 1969.
  • Phil Esposito led all playoff scorers with 18 points.
  • Bruins who recorded a Hat trick this season include:
    • Phil Esposito during the 7-4 win over Toronto on November 24, 1968.
    • Bobby Orr during the 10-5 win over the Chicago Black Hawks on December 14, 1968.
    • Phil Esposito during the 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 15, 1968.
    • Derek Sanderson during the 7-5 win over the Los Angeles Kings on January 30, 1969.
    • Ken Hodge during the 7-3 win over Chicago on February 11, 1969.
    • Derek Sanderson during the 11-3 win over Toronto on March 16, 1969.
    • Phil Esposito had a four goal game during the 10-0 win over Toronto on April 2, 1969.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

Complete game with commercials from the Leafs-Bruins match on October 26, 1968. During the second intermission (at 1:34:00), Tim Horton talks about his donut stores.

Footage of the third period melee between the Bruins and Leafs during Game 1 of the 1969 Quarter-finals in which Forbes Kennedy had multiple fights, April 2, 1969.

First period of the Bruins-Canadiens Game 1 of the 1969 Semi-finals on April 10, 1969.

The game tying and overtime goal from the Bruins-Canadiens Semi-finals Game 2, all five goals from Game 3, the overtime winner in Game 6, then highlights from the 1969 Stanley Cup Finals.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. National Hockey League Official Guide and Record Book 2006, p.162, Dan Diamond & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, ISBN 0-920445-98-5
  2. 1968-69 Boston Bruins Statistics - Hockey-Reference.com. hockey-reference.com. Retrieved on 2009-06-09.
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