The 1968 Stanley Cup Final was a best-of-seven series between the Montreal Canadiens and the St. Louis Blues. The Canadiens would sweep the series in four-straight games, in the first Stanley Cup series after the NHL expansion to 12 teams.
Paths to the Finals
- For more details on this topic, see 1968 Stanley Cup playoffs.
This was the first Stanley Cup championship after the 1967 expansion. All of the new teams were placed in the Western Division, and the playoffs were organized so that divisional champions would play off for the Stanley Cup. Montreal defeated Boston and Chicago to advance to the finals as the East Division champion. St. Louis would defeat Philadelphia and Minnesota to advance to the Finals as the West Division champion.
Glenn Hall was sensational, especially in game three when the Blues were outshot 46 to 15. Wrote Red Burnett, the dean of hockey writers then: "A number of Hall's saves were seemingly impossible. Experts walked out of the Forum convinced no other goaltender had performed so brilliantly in a losing cause." In the overtime of game three, Hall made a spectacular save on Dick Duff and then, standing on his head, made another save. "It was a heartbreaker to see" said Burnett "After the saves on Duff, Bobby Rousseau came and batted home the second rebound." Hall's heroics won him the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.
However, Montreal was not to be denied and won the Stanley Cup in game four as J. C. Tremblay fired home the winning goal. When the game ended, the fans came on the ice to celebrate, and balloons, hats and programs were thrown from the stands. Jean Beliveau, in a cast and crutches from his broken ankle, with Ralph Backstrom accepted the Cup from NHL president Clarence Campbell and the players did a victory lap with the Cup.
Less than 30 minutes after the Canadiens won the Cup, Canadiens coach Toe Blake announced his retirement. He gave reason that it had been a hard season, but the real reason was that his wife was dying of cancer and he wanted to spend his time with her. The celebration turned to a mournful event with players paying tribute to Blake, many in tears.
|May 5||Montreal||3||St. Louis||2||OT|
|May 7||Montreal||1||St. Louis||0|
|May 9||St. Louis||3||Montreal||4||OT|
|May 11||St. Louis||2||Montreal||3|
Montreal wins the series 4–0.
Montreal Canadiens 1968 Stanley Cup Champions
Stanley Cup Engraving
Ernie Wakely was engraved on the cup twice with Montreal in 1965, 1968, but did not play any games for Montreal both seasons. His first NHL games were in 1963, and his second NHL games was in 1969. He would lead the NHL with the best goals-against-average while playing with St. Louis in 1971.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Stanley Cup Champions
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