The 1969-70 NHL season was the 53rd season of the National Hockey League. Twelve teams each played 76 games. For the third straight season, the St. Louis Blues reached the Stanley Cup finals, and for the third straight year, they were swept four games to none. This time, however, it was the Boston Bruins, not the Montreal Canadiens, who swept them for the Stanley Cup.
The Bruins played the St. Louis Blues in an exhibition game on September 21, 1969 at the Ottawa Civic Center. At the 13-minute mark of the first period, the Blues Wayne Maki shot the puck over the blue line into the Bruins corner. Ted Green played the puck with his skate and Maki hit him from behind. Green shoved Maki to the ice and the referee, Ken Bodendistel, raised his arm for a penalty to Green. From his knees, Maki speared Green in the genitals. Green swung his stick and slashed Maki on the arm, once again knocking him to the ice. As he turned away to go to the penalty box, Maki smacked him over the head with his stick, crushing part of his skull. The left side of Green's body was paralyzed and his speech slurred. Bobby Orr jumped over the boards and pummelled Maki while his teammates carried Green to the dressing room. Green had emergency surgery and missed the entire 1969-70 season. Maki was suspended for a month. Criminal charges were laid against both but resulted in acquittals. Green returned for the 1970-71 season. Maki played for several seasons until diagnosed with brain cancer. He died in 1974.
Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins became the first defenceman in NHL history to win the league scoring championship. He did it by setting a new record for assists with 87 and totalling 120 points, only six shy of the point record set the previous season by teammate Phil Esposito. Along the way, he also won the Norris Trophy for the third straight year as the top defenceman, the Hart Trophy for league MVP, and the Conn Smythe Trophy for the playoff MVP.
Gordie Howe finished the season within the ten leading NHL point scorers for an all time record of 21 consecutive seasons.
For the third straight season, the St. Louis Blues easily won the West Division, being the only team in the division to have a winning record.
The East Division, however, saw a temporary changing of the guard, as Montreal dropped from first the previous season to fifth, missing the playoffs on goal differential with New York. This led to an unusual incident where in their final game and down 5-2 to Chicago, the Canadiens would make the playoffs if they scored three more goals regardless of the game's outcome. Coach Claude Ruel pulled his goaltender with nearly nine minutes left in the third period in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to do so. Chicago would score five times into the empty Montreal net, to win 10-2. It would be the only season Montreal failed to make the playoffs between 1948 and 1995 and set up the only playoffs in NHL history (as of 2007) to feature no Canadian teams. These developments were instrumental in the decision to move Chicago to the West Division in conjunction with the 1970 expansion, and the adoption of "crossover" playoff series between East and West Division teams the following season. The continuing imbalance led to the exclusion of West Division teams from the Stanley Cup final for the next three seasons.
The New York Rangers were in first place for a time, but injuries on the blueline doomed any hope of a first place finish. The Rangers obtained Tim Horton in desperation.
The Bruins and the Black Hawks both tied for the lead in the East with 99 points, but Chicago was awarded first place because they had more wins. It was Chicago's first first-place finish in history.
|Chicago Black Hawks||76||45||22||9||250||170||99|
|Detroit Red Wings||76||40||21||15||246||199||95|
|New York Rangers||76||38||22||16||246||189||92|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||76||29||34||13||222||242||71|
|St. Louis Blues||76||37||27||12||224||179||86|
|Minnesota North Stars||76||19||35||22||224||257||60|
|Los Angeles Kings||76||14||52||150||168||290||38|
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.
Note: GP = Games Played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points
|Bobby Orr||Boston Bruins||76||33||87||120|
|Phil Esposito||Boston Bruins||76||43||56||99|
|Stan Mikita||Chicago Black Hawks||76||39||47||86|
|Phil Goyette||St. Louis Blues||72||29||49||78|
|Walt Tkaczuk||New York Rangers||76||27||50||77|
|Jean Ratelle||New York Rangers||75||32||42||74|
|Red Berenson||St. Louis Blues||67||33||39||72|
|J.P. Parise||Minnesota North Stars||74||24||48||72|
|Gordie Howe||Detroit Red Wings||76||31||40||71|
|Frank Mahovlich||Detroit Red Wings||74||38||32||70|
Note: GP = Games played; Min – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts
|Ernie Wakely||St. Louis Blues||30||1651||58||2.11||12||9||4||4|
|Tony Esposito||Chicago Black Hawks||63||3763||136||2.17||38||17||8||15|
|Jacques Plante||St. Louis Blues||32||1839||67||2.19||18||9||5||5|
|Ed Giacomin||New York Rangers||70||4148||163||2.36||35||21||14||6|
|Roy Edwards||Detroit Red Wings||47||2683||116||2.59||24||15||6||2|
|Rogatien Vachon||Montreal Canadiens||64||3697||162||2.63||31||18||12||4|
|Roger Crozier||Detroit Red Wings||34||1877||83||2.65||16||6||9||0|
|Gerry Cheevers||Boston Bruins||41||2384||108||2.72||24||8||8||4|
|Bernie Parent||Philadelphia Flyers||62||3680||171||2.79||13||29||20||3|
|Ed Johnston||Boston Bruins||37||2176||108||2.98||16||9||11||3|
Stanley Cup PlayoffsEdit
|1||Chicago Black Hawks||4|
|3||Detroit Red Wings||0|
|1||Chicago Black Hawks||0|
|4||New York Rangers||2|
|W1||St. Louis Blues||0|
|1||St. Louis Blues||4|
|3||Minnesota North Stars||2|
|1||St. Louis Blues||4|
Boston Bruins 4, New York Rangers 2Edit
The Bruins and Rangers last met in the 1958 Semi-finals which Boston won in six games. Gerry Cheevers played five games in the series while the Rangers Eddie Giacomin was spelled off by Terry Sawchuk for two games. The Bruins were powered by 10 points by Phil Esposito and 7 goals by Bobby Orr and took the series in six games.
Game 1 at the Boston Garden was a wide-open, fight-filled game dominated by Phil Esposito. He opened the scoring 3:51 into the first period with a goal mouth tap-in and then scored on the power play from the slot. Jack Egers scored on a long slapshot to make it 2-1. In the second period, Bobby Orr rushed out of the Bruins zone and after a give and go with John McKenzie, fired a low shot glove side that beat Eddie Giacomin at 4:56. Don Marcotte took a tripping penalty but Orr wasn't dissuaded, deking three Rangers and scoring with a low slapshot to Giacomin's stick side to make it 4-1 Boston. The Rangers then gave up another shorthanded goal on the same power play to Derek Sanderson, who scored on a breakaway. Before the period ended, Esposito scored his Hat trick goal and Wayne Cashman added another. Terry Sawchuk went in the net for the Rangers in the third period, which degenerated in multiple fights. Fred Stanfield and Bob Nevin traded power play goals as the Bruins romped to an 8-2 victory.
Game 2 at Boston saw Terry Sawchuk start for the Rangers. After Jim Lorentz scored on a beautiful passing play with Ed Westfall and Wayne Carleton, the Rangers took their first lead of the series with goals by Jack Eger and Rod Gilbert. In the second period, John McKenzie tied it up with a one-timer from a great feed from Fred Stanfield. John Bucyk gave Boston the lead when he squeaked a shot from a sharp angle past Sawchuk. Early in the third period, Ken Hodge stripped Ab DeMarco, Jr. of the puck at the Rangers blueline and scored the game winner on a breakaway. A few minutes later, Orr sent Westfall into the Rangers zone and he beat Sawchuk with a low backhander. Tim Horton got one back but the Bruins triumphed 5-3 and took a two games to none lead in the series.
Game 3 at Madison Square Garden saw Giacomin back in goal and the Rangers target Derek Sanderson early. A massive brawl broke out two minutes into the game which resulted in six fighting majors as well as Sanderson and Dave Balon receiving game misconducts. Police dealt with fans attacking the Bruins bench and showering the ice with debris. It took nearly 20 minutes to restart the game. Bill Speer opened the scoring with a point shot, his only career playoff goal. Gary Doak and Jack Egers fought before Jean Ratelle tied the game on a rebound. Wayne Cashman and Orland Kurtenbach fought and a penalty to Speer resulted in Walt Tkaczuk scoring on the power play. The second period was calmer and Gilbert put the Rangers up 3-1 as he took a goal mouth pass and put it into the open net. In the third period, Ted Irvine put the Rangers up 4-1 with a goal mouth rebound. Bobby Orr scored on a point shot before Cashman and Bill Fairbairn fought. With eight minutes left in the game, Fred Stanfield tipped in a Dallas Smith point shot to trim the deficit to a goal. The Rangers held on and nipped the Bruins 4-3 in a game that saw 174 penalty minutes and New York out shoot Boston 42-29.
Game 4 at New York saw the Bruins Eddie Johnston play his only game of the 1970 playoffs and Danny Schock play his only career playoff game. Rod Gilbert staked the Rangers to a 2-0 lead with a pair of first period goals. In the second period, an Orr rush into the Rangers zone resulted in Phil Esposito shovelling a goal in from the edge of the crease. Less than a minute later, Derek Sanderson turned over the puck at the Bruins blueline and Dave Balon skated in alone and beat Johnston for a 3-1 New York lead. Wayne Cashman and Tim Horton fought before Giacomin robbed Sanderson on a breakaway. At 8:41 of the third period, Bobby Orr scored from the point on a power play to make it 3-2. Hard work by Dave Balon in the Bruins zone resulted in Walt Tkaczuk firing a one-timer past Johnston for a 4-2 Rangers win. New York again out shot Boston and the series was tied at two games each.
Game 5 at Boston saw Cheevers back between the pipes for the Bruins. A melee broke out on the first shift of the game. Two minutes later, Bobby Orr rounded the Bruins net and skated through the entire Ranger team to open the scoring. Phil Esposito sent Wayne Cashman in on a breakaway but he was stopped by Ed Giacomin before Jack Egers tied the game up on the power play. In the second period, Orr was tripped on a rush but no penalty was called. The puck was fed to Orland Kurtenbach who scored on a breakaway to make it 2-1 Rangers. At 2:20 of the third period, Cashman won a puck battle in the Rangers zone and fed it to Esposito in the slot who scored to tie the game 2-2. At 7:59, Orr fed a brilliant pass to Esposito, who was in full flight. Esposito evaded the New York defense and fired the winner past Giacomin. Cheevers preserved the lead making several excellent stops, including a point blank chance by Dave Balon as the Bruins won 3-2 and took the series lead.
Game 6 at New York saw Brad Park open the scoring on the power play after a give and go with Rod Gilbert. In the second period, Orr broke into the Rangers zone, passed it back to the blueline, headed for the Ranger net and tipped in a John McKenzie shot to tie the game. Two minutes later, Wayne Cashman pounced on a Tim Horton turnover and scored stick side on a surprised Ed Giacomin. At 3:09 of the third period, Orr slapped one in from the point through a screen to make it 3-1 Bruins. Four minutes later, Derek Sanderson deflected a corner pass from Ed Westfall for an insurance goal. Boston blunted New York's attack, even once they pulled Giacomin and the Bruins won 4-1 to take the series in six games.
|1||April 8||New York Rangers||2–8||Boston Bruins||1–0|
|2||April 9||New York Rangers||3–5||Boston Bruins||2–0|
|3||April 11||Boston Bruins||3–4||New York Rangers||2–1|
|4||April 12||Boston Bruins||2–4||New York Rangers||2–2|
|5||April 14||New York Rangers||2–3||Boston Bruins||3–2|
|6||April 16||Boston Bruins||4–1||New York Rangers||4–2|
Chicago Black Hawks 4, Detroit Red Wings 0Edit
In the Chicago-Detroit series, the Black Hawks swept the series, ironically, all four games by 4-2 scores.
St. Louis Blues 4, Minnesota North Stars 2Edit
In the West Division playoffs, the St. Louis Blues ousted the Minnesota North Stars in six games. The Blues won the first two games at the St. Louis Arena. Game three at the Metropolitan Sports Center featured Gump Worsley's sharp goaltending and Bill Goldsworthy scoring two goals in a 4-2 win for the North Stars. Cesare Maniago played in goal for Minnesota in game four and picked up a 4-0 shutout, tying the series. Game five at St. Louis Arena was tied 3-3 when St Louis scored three goals in the third period by Red Berenson, Terry Gray and Jim Roberts and the Blues won 6-3. In game six, Ab McDonald scored two goals as the Blues eliminated the North Stars by a score of 4-2.
Pittsburgh Penguins 4, Oakland Seals 0Edit
In the Pittsburgh-Oakland series, in game one, Nick Harbaruk's goal midway through the third period was the winner as Pittsburgh won 2-1. In game two, Gary Jarrett gave Oakland a 1-0 lead, but Pittsburgh came back to win 3-1. Game three at Oakland featured a hat trick by Ken Schinkel of the Penguins as Pittsburgh won 5-2. Game four featured Oakland having 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but the Seals just couldn't hold on and the game was tied 2-2 at the end of regulation time. Overtime was necessary and Michel Briere scored the series winning goal at 8:28 of overtime for Pittsburgh.
Boston Bruins 4, Chicago Black Hawks 0Edit
This was the third meeting in the playoffs for the teams. Chicago was the first team Boston ever met in the post season, in 1927. The Bruins defeated the Hawks then and repeated it in the 1942 Quarter-finals, two games to one. The series featured Boston's Phil Esposito out-dueling his brother, Chicago goalie Tony Esposito.
Game 1 at the Chicago Stadium saw the teams trade chances in the first period until, while cutting around a defenseman, Phil Esposito's backhand shot surprised Tony Esposito for a 1-0 Bruins lead. Minutes later on the power play, Bobby Orr took a pass at the point, deked a Chicago defender, drifted to the left boards and passed to Phil Esposito in the slot whose one-timer made it 2-0 Boston. In the second period at 5:11, John Bucyk intercepted a clearing pass by Tony Esposito and fired a goal five-hole to make it 3-0. Three minutes later, Dennis Hull put a rebound past Gerry Cheevers to cut the lead to 3-1. With five minutes left in the period, on the power play, Phil Esposito shovelled in a rebound of an Orr point shot to restore Boston's two goal advantage. Two minutes later, Jim Pappin responded by tipping a Bobby Hull shot past Cheevers. A minute into the third period, John McKenzie tipped a Bucyk shot in for a 5-2 Bruins lead. Ken Hodge scored off a Wayne Carleton rebound and Stan Mikita scored a consolation goal in Boston's 6-3 victory.
Game 2 at Chicago saw Boston play an excellent defensive game, limiting the Black Hawks to 23 shots. Bobby Orr scored the only goal of the first period on a give and go rush with Fred Stanfield. At 10:32 of the second period, a great forecheck by Stanfield led to him one-timing a John Bucyk pass past Tony Esposito for a 2-0 Bruins lead. Don Marcotte, playing on Phil Esposito's line, banged in his first career playoff goal on a cross-crease pass by Ken Hodge to pad Boston's lead. Bill White scored on a rebound early in the third period after which Wayne Carleton and Keith Magnuson had a protracted fight. Phil Esposito stripped Dennis Hull of the puck in the corner of the Hawks zone, moved across the slot and scored for a 4-1 Bruins win and a two games to none series lead.
Game 3 at the Boston Garden was the first game of the series where Chicago had lead as Cliff Koroll opened the scoring at 6:33 of the first period. A little over two minutes later, Wayne Carleton wristed a great pass from Ed Westfall past Tony Esposito to even the score 1-1. Late in the period, Jim Pappin's centering pass from behind the Bruins net was fired in by Pit Martin. The rest of the game belonged to the Bruins. After incredible pressure on the power play, John Bucyk put in a cross crease pass at 3:28 to tie the game 2-2. Several minutes later, Phil Esposito won a face-off in the Hawks zone, resulting Wayne Cashman cutting left to right in front of Tony Esposito and beating him stick side. On the power play, Orr rushed into Chicago's zone, rounded behind the net and drew three Hawk defenders to him in the corner. His pass to Phil Esposito was relayed to John Bucyk who smacked it into the open net. In the third period, both goalies made great saves, preventing any scoring. Phil Esposito stripped Pit Martin of the puck and scored an empty net goal in the last minute for a 5-2 Boston victory and a stranglehold on the series.
Game 4 at Boston was the closest game of the series as Chicago fought to stave off elimination. Tony Esposito was brilliant as the Bruins peppered him with 54 shots. With Derek Sanderson off for hooking, Bobby Orr won a puck battle in the Bruins zone and backhanded a long pass to Phil Esposito on the left wing. His long shot was kicked out by Tony Esposito right to Don Marcotte who scored a shorthanded goal at 13:14 of the first period. John Bucyk made it 2-0 on the power play, scoring off his own rebound which Tony Esposito protested vigorously didn't cross the goal line. In the second period, the Hawks furious forechecking produced results as Keith Magnuson scored his first career playoff goal on a shot from the point. Tony Esposito stopped point blank chances by brother Phil and Derek Sanderson before Cliff Koroll made a nice pass to Dennis Hull, who tied the game 2-2. Dennis Hull made it 3-2 after picking off a pass at the Hawks blueline and potting a shot over Gerry Cheever's glove.
Several minutes later, Fred Stanfield raced down the left wing and blasted a low shot in to tie the game 3-3. On the power play in the third period, Bryan Campbell scored at 4:10. Boston turned up the pressure which paid dividends eleven minutes later when Ken Hodge tipped a Phil Esposito shot in to tie it 4-4. With less than two minutes left to play, John McKenzie picked off a clearing pass and after a give and go with Fred Stanfield, fired a high shot stick-side while John Bucyk was screening Tony Esposito. As time ticked down, Tony Esposito made a last save, which he covered up. Phil skated over and mussed his hair before celebrating the Bruins sweep in four games.
|1||April 19||Boston Bruins||6–3||Chicago Black Hawks||1–0|
|2||April 21||Boston Bruins||4–1||Chicago Black Hawks||2–0|
|3||April 23||Chicago Black Hawks||2–5||Boston Bruins||3–0|
|4||April 26||Chicago Black Hawks||4–5||Boston Bruins||4–0|
Boston Bruins vs. St. Louis Blues
|May 3||Boston Bruins||6||St. Louis Blues||1|
|May 5||Boston Bruins||6||St. Louis Blues||2|
|May 7||St. Louis Blues||1||Boston Bruins||4|
|May 10||St. Louis Blues||3||Boston Bruins||4||OT|
Boston wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 0
Phil Esposito of the Bruins led all playoff scorers with 13 goals and 14 assists for 27 points, at the time a new NHL playoff record, followed by Orr with 20 points and Johnny Bucyk of the Bruins with 19 points. Gerry Cheevers of the Bruins led all goaltenders with twelve wins, while Jacques Plante of the Blues led all goaltenders in goals against average in the playoffs with 1.48.
|Prince of Wales Trophy:||Chicago Black Hawks|
|Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:||St. Louis Blues|
|Art Ross Memorial Trophy:||Bobby Orr|
|Conn Smythe Trophy:||Bobby Orr|
|Hart Memorial Trophy:||Bobby Orr|
|James Norris Memorial Trophy:||Bobby Orr|
|Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:||Pit Martin|
|Calder Memorial Trophy:||Tony Esposito|
|Vezina Trophy:||Tony Esposito|
|Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:||Phil Goyette|
|Lester Patrick Trophy:||Edward W. Shore, James C. V. Hendy|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1969-70 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Keith Magnuson, Chicago Blackhawks
- Butch Goring, Los Angeles Kings
- Gilles Gilbert, Minnesota North Stars
- Guy Charron, Montreal Canadiens
- Marc Tardif, Montreal Canadiens
- Rejean Houle, Montreal Canadiens
- Don Luce, New York Rangers
- Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1969-70 (listed with their last team):
- Ron Murphy, Boston Bruins
- Leo Boivin, Minnesota North Stars
- Moose Vasko, Minnesota North Stars
- Claude Provost, Montreal Canadiens
- Terry Sawchuk, New York Rangers
- Camille Henry, St. Louis Blues
- Johnny Bower, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Marcel Pronovost, Toronto Maple Leafs
Over 3 hours of video featuring highlights from over a dozen regular season Bruins games. The video repeats several times.
Highlights of 1970 Bruins-Hawks Semi-finals Games 3 and 4 and then the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals. The video repeats itself.
- List of Stanley Cup champions
- 1969 NHL Amateur Draft
- 23rd National Hockey League All-Star Game
- National Hockey League All-Star Game
|1969–70 NHL season by team|
|East||Boston • Chicago • Detroit • Montreal • New York • Toronto|
|West||Los Angeles • Minnesota • Oakland • Philadelphia • Pittsburgh • St. Louis|
|See also||1969 NHL Amateur Draft • All-Star Game • 1970 Stanley Cup Finals|
|National Hockey League|