The 1974-75 NHL season was the 58th season of the National Hockey League. Eighteen teams each played 80 games. With the addition of two new teams, the Washington Capitals and Kansas City Scouts, the NHL bumped up the number of games from 78 to 80 and split the previously two-division league into four divisions and two conferences.

Because the new conferences and divisions had little to do with North American geography, geographical references were also removed. The East Division became the Prince of Wales Conference and consisted of the Adams Division and Norris Division and the West Division became the Clarence Campbell Conference and consisted of the Patrick Division and Smythe Division. The Patrick and Norris Divisions changed conferences with one another following the 1980-81 season. This further expansion was considered by many ill-fated, and with the World Hockey Association continuing to drain talent away, the Capitals had the worst season ever recorded in the history of major professional hockey, and the third worst in the postwar era the following season, while the Scouts the following season would have the fifth worst record of the postwar era.

Regular SeasonEdit

4Jan1975-1st Forbes Boucha fight

Melee after the first Dave Forbes-Henry Boucha fight, January 4, 1975.

At 8:22 of the first period of the Boston-Minnesota game on January 4, 1975, Dave Forbes checked Henry Boucha into the boards in the North Stars corner. Boucha took exception and suckered punched Forbes. A melee ensued which quickly died down. Terry O'Reilly was deemed to be the third man in and was given a game misconduct. Boucha and Forbes were each given seven penalty minutes and both went to the box without any overt animosity. However, as soon as their penalties expired and they took to the ice, Forbes butt ended Boucha in the face, fracturing his eye socket. Another melee ensued but quickly ended as the extend of Boucha's injury was realized. Bleeding profusely, Boucha was stretchered off. When the dust settled, Boston was short handed for ten minutes, which they killed off. The Bruins went on to win 8-0, scoring a short handed goal and seven power plays goals, an NHL record. Forbes was given a ten game suspension and charged with aggravated assault. His trail ended in a hung jury. Forbes and the Bruins settled a civil case by paying Boucha in excess of one million dollars. Boucha made a comeback, playing the next season for the Kansas City Scouts and the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA but with his vision permanently affected, he retired from pro hockey.

For the first time ever in the National Hockey League, there was a three-way tie for first place overall. The respective divisional leaders of the Norris, Patrick, and Adams all had 113 points. The Vancouver Canucks, which had been playing in the original East Division since they debuted in the league were moved over to the Campbell Conference and lead the way in the Smythe Division with a comparatively meager 86 points.

Final StandingsEdit

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

Prince of Wales ConferenceEdit

Adams Division
  GP W L T GF GA Pts
Buffalo Sabres 80 49 16 15 354 240 113
Boston Bruins 80 40 26 14 345 245 94
Toronto Maple Leafs 80 31 33 16 280 309 78
California Golden Seals 80 19 48 13 212 316 51

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.

Norris Division
Montreal Canadiens 80 47 14 19 374 225 113
Los Angeles Kings 80 42 17 21 269 185 105
Pittsburgh Penguins 80 37 28 15 326 289 89
Detroit Red Wings 80 23 45 12 259 335 58
Washington Capitals 80 8 67 5 181 446 21

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.

Clarence Campbell ConferenceEdit

Patrick Division
Philadelphia Flyers 80 51 18 11 293 181 113
New York Rangers 80 37 29 14 319 276 88
New York Islanders 80 33 25 22 264 221 88
Atlanta Flames 80 34 31 15 243 233 83

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.

Smythe Division
Vancouver Canucks 80 38 32 10 271 254 86
St. Louis Blues 80 35 31 14 269 267 84
Chicago Black Hawks 80 37 35 8 268 241 82
Minnesota North Stars 80 23 50 7 221 341 53
Kansas City Scouts 80 15 54 11 184 328 41

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.

Scoring LeadersEdit

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

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Bobby Orr Boston Bruins 80 46 89 135 101
Phil Esposito Boston Bruins 79 61 66 127 62
Marcel Dionne Detroit Red Wings 80 47 74 121 14
Guy Lafleur Montreal Canadiens 70 53 66 119 37
Pete Mahovlich Montreal Canadiens 80 35 82 117 64
Bobby Clarke Philadelphia Flyers 80 27 89 116 125
Rene Robert Buffalo Sabres 74 40 60 100 75
Rod Gilbert New York Rangers 76 36 61 97 22
Gilbert Perreault Buffalo Sabres 68 39 57 96 36
Rick Martin Buffalo Sabres 68 52 43 95 72

Leading GoaltendersEdit

Note: GP = Games played; Min – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts

Player Team GP MIN GA GAA W L T SO
Bernie Parent Philadelphia Flyers 68 4041 137 2.03 44 14 10 12
Rogatien Vachon L.A. Kings 54 3239 121 2.24 27 14 13 6
Gary Edwards L.A. Kings 27 1561 61 2.34 15 3 8 3
Chico Resch N.Y. Islanders 25 1432 59 2.47 12 7 5 3
Roger Crozier Buffalo Sabres 23 1260 55 2.62 17 2 1 3
Ken Dryden Montreal Canadiens 56 3320 149 2.69 30 9 16 4
Tony Esposito Chicago Black Hawks 71 4219 193 2.74 34 30 7 6
Billy Smith N.Y. Islanders 58 3368 156 2.78 21 18 17 3
Dan Bouchard Atlanta Flames 40 2400 111 2.78 20 15 5 3
Phil Myre Atlanta Flames 40 2400 114 2.85 14 16 10 5

Stanley Cup PlayoffsEdit

All dates in 1975

The playoffs were expanded from 8 to 12 teams with the top 3 teams in each division qualifying for the playoffs. The first place teams in each division earned a first round bye, while the 2nd and 3rd place teams were seeded 1-8 based on their regular season record and played a best 2 out of 3 "mini-series." The four division winners then joined the 4 mini series winners in the quarter finals, and they were again re-seeded 1-8 based on regular season record. This re-seeding would take place again in the semi finals, and continues to this day in the current playoff format. Proponents of this re-seeding state that it makes the regular season more important by rewarding teams with better records with potentially easier matchups. In addition, it avoids the potential issue of two lower seeded teams (who may have pulled early round upsets)playing each other in the next round while two higher seeded teams are playing each other (as is possible in a "bracketed" playoff format like in the National Basketball Association.

With the new conference and division structure, the 1975 Stanley Cup playoffs used a new format. Twelve teams qualified for the post-season. The four division winners from the regular season received byes to the quarterfinal round. The next two teams in each division (eight teams total) were ranked according to their regular season point totals, with the highest ranked team playing against the lowest ranked team, and so on, in a best-of-three preliminary round. The four preliminary round winners and four division winners were re-ranked for the subsequent round. The biggest beneficiary of this format was the Vancouver Canucks, who were 9th in the regular season but received a first-round bye for winning the relatively weak Smythe Division. Unfortunately for Vancouver, the fact that the second round was seeded without regard to their first place divisional finish meant they had to face another division champion in the second round, the Norris-winning Montreal Canadiens, who defeated Vancouver 4–1. The team that suffered the most from the new format, the Los Angeles Kings, had the 4th best overall record but had to play in the risky mini series where they were upset by the 12th-seeded Toronto Maple Leafs 2–1.


The Philadelphia Flyers beat the Buffalo Sabres 4–2 for their second consecutive Stanley Cup.

Playoff BracketEdit

  Preliminary Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
  1  Philadelphia Flyers 4  
    8  Toronto Maple Leafs 0  
1  Los Angeles Kings 1
8  Toronto Maple Leafs 2  
  1  Philadelphia Flyers 4  
  4  New York Islanders 3  
2  Pittsburgh Penguins 2  
7  St. Louis Blues 0  
  4  Pittsburgh Penguins 3
    5  New York Islanders 4  
3  New York Rangers 1
6  New York Islanders 2  
  1  Philadelphia Flyers 4
  2  Buffalo Sabres 2
  2  Buffalo Sabres 4
    7  Chicago Black Hawks 1  
4  Boston Bruins 1
5  Chicago Black Hawks 2  
  2  Buffalo Sabres 4
  3  Montreal Canadiens 2  
  3  Montreal Canadiens 4
    6  Vancouver Canucks 1  
  • Division winners earned a bye to the Quarterfinals.
  • Teams re-seeded based on regular season record after the Preliminary and Quarterfinal rounds.

NHL AwardsEdit

Prince of Wales Trophy: Buffalo Sabres
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl: Philadelphia Flyers
Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: Don Luce, Buffalo Sabres
Calder Memorial Trophy: Eric Vail, Atlanta Flames
Conn Smythe Trophy: Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers
Hart Memorial Trophy: Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers
Jack Adams Award: Bob Pulford, Los Angeles Kings
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Marcel Dionne, Detroit Red Wings
Lester B. Pearson Award: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
NHL Plus/Minus Award: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
Vezina Trophy: Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers
Lester Patrick Trophy: Donald M. Clark, William L. Chadwick, Thomas N. Ivan

All-Star TeamsEdit

First Team   Position   Second Team
Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers G Rogie Vachon, Los Angeles Kings
Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins D Guy Lapointe, Montreal Canadiens
Denis Potvin, New York Islanders D Borje Salming, Toronto Maple Leafs
Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers C Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens RW Rene Robert, Buffalo Sabres
Rick Martin, Buffalo Sabres LW Steve Vickers, New York Rangers


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1974-75 (listed with their first team):

Last GamesEdit

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1974-75 (listed with their last team):



Two videos of the two fights between Dave Forbes and Henry Boucha which led to Boucha's eye injury on January 4, 1975.

Nearly 20 minutes of highlights of the March 16, 1975 Canucks-Black Hawks game. Gary Smith is concussed during a goal by Phil Russell and leaves the game to be replaced by Ken Lockett.

See AlsoEdit


NHL Seasons

1970-71 | 1971-72 | 1972-73 | 1973-74 | 1974-75 | 1975-76 | 1976-77 | 1977-78 | 1978-79

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