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The 1978-79 NHL season was the 62nd season of the National Hockey League. The 17 teams of the league played an 80 game season.

The Montreal Canadiens beat the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup finals four games to one for their fourth Cup in a row.

League BusinessEdit

This season saw the first reduction in the total number of teams since the Brooklyn Americans folded following the 1941-42 season. The financially unstable Cleveland Barons were merged with the also struggling Minnesota North Stars (now the Dallas Stars), reducing the number of teams to seventeen, with the North Stars assuming the Barons' place in the Adams Division.

This reduction would only be temporary, however, as the World Hockey Association would fold following this season and four of its teams, the Edmonton Oilers, Quebec Nordiques, Winnipeg Jets and Hartford Whalers, would be admitted to the NHL as expansion franchises for the 1979-80 season.

For the first time since the NHL All-Star Game became an annual tradition, it was not played. In its stead was the 1979 Challenge Cup, which saw Soviet Union players come over to North America to play against NHL players. The Soviets won the series two games to one.

Regular SeasonEdit

For the past three seasons, the Montreal Canadiens had dominated the regular season, but times were changing. The New York Islanders had been steadily improving over the past few seasons and this season saw them beat out the Canadiens by one point for the best record in the league.

Final StandingsEdit

Prince of Wales ConferenceEdit

Adams Division
GP W L T GF GA PTS
Boston Bruins 80 43 23 14 316 270 100
Buffalo Sabres 80 36 28 16 280 263 88
Toronto Maple Leafs 80 34 33 13 267 252 81
Minnesota North Stars 80 28 40 12 257 289 68

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
GP W L T GF GA PTS
Montreal Canadiens 80 52 17 11 337 204 115
Pittsburgh Penguins 80 36 31 13 281 279 85
Los Angeles Kings 80 34 34 12 292 286 80
Washington Capitals 80 24 41 15 273 338 63
Detroit Red Wings 80 23 41 16 252 295 62

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
GP W L T GF GA PTS
New York Islanders 80 51 15 14 358 214 116
Philadelphia Flyers 80 40 25 15 281 248 95
New York Rangers 80 40 29 11 316 292 91
Atlanta Flames 80 41 31 8 327 280 90

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
GP W L T GF GA PTS
Chicago Black Hawks 80 29 36 15 244 277 73
Vancouver Canucks 80 25 42 13 217 291 63
St. Louis Blues 80 18 50 12 249 348 48
Colorado Rockies 80 15 53 12 210 331 42

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

GP = Games Played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points, PIM = Penalties In Minutes

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Bryan Trottier New York Islanders 76 47 87 134 50
Marcel Dionne Los Angeles Kings 80 59 71 130 30
Guy Lafleur Montreal Canadiens 80 52 77 129 28
Mike Bossy New York Islanders 80 69 57 126 25
Bob MacMillan Atlanta Flames 79 37 71 108 14
Guy Chouinard Atlanta Flames 80 50 57 107 14
Denis Potvin New York Islanders 73 31 70 101 58
Bernie Federko St. Louis Blues 74 31 64 95 14
Dave Taylor Los Angeles Kings 78 43 48 91 124
Clark Gillies New York Islanders 75 35 56 91 68

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
Ken Dryden Montreal Canadiens 47 2814 108 2.30 30 10 7 5
Chico Resch N.Y. Islanders 43 2539 106 2.50 26 7 10 2
Bernie Parent Philadelphia Flyers 36 1979 89 2.70 16 12 7 4
Michel Larocque Montreal Canadiens 34 1986 94 2.84 22 7 4 3
Billy Smith N.Y. Islanders 40 2261 108 2.87 25 8 4 1
Mike Palmateer Toronto Maple Leafs 58 3396 167 2.95 26 21 10 4
Don Edwards Buffalo Sabres 54 3160 159 3.02 26 18 9 2
Mario Lessard L.A. Kings 49 2860 148 3.10 23 15 10 4
Glen Hanlon Vancouver Canucks 31 1821 94 3.10 12 13 5 3
Gerry Cheevers Boston Bruins 43 2509 132 3.16 23 9 10 1

Stanley Cup PlayoffsEdit

All dates in 1979

Playoff BracketEdit

  Preliminary Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Stanley Cup Finals
                                     
        
  1  NY Islanders 4  
    8  Chicago 0  
      
        
  1  NY Islanders 2  
  4  NY Rangers 4  
1  Philadelphia 2  
8  Vancouver 1  
  4  Philadelphia 1
    5  NY Rangers 4  
2  NY Rangers 2
7  Los Angeles 0  
  2  Montreal 4
  4  NY Rangers 1
        
        
  2  Montreal 4
    7  Toronto 0  
3  Atlanta 0
6  Toronto 2  
  2  Montreal 4
  3  Boston 3  
        
        
  3  Boston 4
    6  Pittsburgh 0  
4  Buffalo 1
5  Pittsburgh 2
  • Division winners earned a bye to the Quarterfinals
  • Teams were re-seeded based on regular season record after the Preliminary and Quarterfinal rounds

Preliminary RoundEdit

Vancouver Canucks vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 10 Vancouver 3 Philadelphia 2
April 12 Philadelphia 6 Vancouver 4
April 14 Vancouver 2 Philadelphia 7

Philadelphia wins best-of-three series 2 games to 1

Los Angeles Kings vs. New York Rangers

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 10 Los Angeles 1 New York 7
April 12 New York 2 Los Angeles 1 (OT)

NY Rangers win best-of-three series 2 games to 0

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Atlanta Flames

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 10 Toronto 2 Atlanta 1
April 12 Atlanta 4 Toronto 7

Toronto wins best-of-three series 2 games to 0

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Buffalo Sabres

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 10 Pittsburgh 4 Buffalo 3
April 12 Buffalo 3 Pittsburgh 1
April 14 Pittsburgh 4 Buffalo 3 (OT)

Pittsburgh wins best-of-three series 2 games to 1

Quarter-finalsEdit

Chicago Black Hawks vs. New York Islanders

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 16 Chicago 2 New York 6
April 18 Chicago 0 New York 1 (OT)
April 20 New York 4 Chicago 0
April 22 New York 3 Chicago 1

NY Islanders win best-of-seven series 4 games to 0

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 16 Toronto 2 Montreal 5
April 18 Toronto 1 Montreal 5
April 21 Montreal 4 Toronto 3
April 22 Montreal 5 Toronto 4 (OT)

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

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Boston Bruins

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 16 Pittsburgh 2 Boston 6
April 18 Pittsburgh 3 Boston 4
April 21 Boston 2 Pittsburgh 1
April 22 Boston 4 Pittsburgh 1

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

New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 16 New York 2 Philadelphia 3 (OT)
April 18 New York 7 Philadelphia 1
April 20 Philadelphia 1 New York 5
April 22 Philadelphia 0 New York 6
April 24 New York 8 Philadelphia 3

NY Rangers win best-of-seven series 4 games to 1

Semi-finalsEdit

New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 26 Rangers 4 Islanders 1
April 28 Rangers 3 Islanders 4 (OT)
May 1 Islanders 1 Rangers 3
May 3 Islanders 3 Rangers 2 (OT)
May 5 Rangers 4 Islanders 3
May 8 Islanders 1 Rangers 2

NY Rangers win best-of-seven series 4 games to 2

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens

Game seven of the Montreal-Boston Semifinal is perhaps one of the most memorable in the history of the NHL. About a minute and a half after Boston's Rick Middleton scored with four minutes remaining in the third period to give the Bruins a 4-3 lead, linesman John D'Amico called a bench minor for too many men on the ice against the Bruins. Montreal's Guy Lafleur scored on the ensuing power play, sending the game to overtime where Yvon Lambert gave the Canadiens the win and a trip to their fourth straight Stanley Cup final.

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 26 Boston 2 Montreal 4
April 28 Boston 2 Montreal 5
May 1 Montreal 1 Boston 2
May 3 Montreal 3 Boston 4 (OT)
May 5 Boston 1 Montreal 5
May 8 Montreal 2 Boston 5
May 10 Boston 4 Montreal 5 (OT)

Montreal wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 3

FinalsEdit

New York Rangers vs. Montreal Canadiens

As of 2007. It was the last Stanley Cup Final where two Original Six teams met in a Stanley Cup Final.

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
May 13 New York 4 Montreal 1
May 15 New York 2 Montreal 6
May 17 Montreal 4 New York 1
May 19 Montreal 4 New York 3 (OT)
May 21 New York 1 Montreal 4

Montreal wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 1

NHL AwardsEdit

Prince of Wales Trophy: Montreal Canadiens
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl: New York Islanders
Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: Serge Savard, Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy: Bobby Smith, Minnesota North Stars
Conn Smythe Trophy: Bob Gainey, Montreal Canadiens
Frank J. Selke Trophy: Bob Gainey, Montreal Canadiens
Hart Memorial Trophy: Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders
Jack Adams Award: Al Arbour, New York Islanders
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Denis Potvin, New York Islanders
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Bob MacMillan, Atlanta Flames
Lester B. Pearson Award: Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles Kings
NHL Plus/Minus Award: Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders
Vezina Trophy: Ken Dryden & Michel Larocque, Montreal Canadiens
Lester Patrick Trophy: Bobby Orr

All-Star TeamsEdit

First Team   Position   Second Team
Ken Dryden, Montreal Canadiens G Glenn Resch, New York Islanders
Denis Potvin, New York Islanders D Borje Salming, Toronto Maple Leafs
Larry Robinson, Montreal Canadiens D Serge Savard, Montreal Canadiens
Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders C Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles Kings
Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens RW Mike Bossy, New York Islanders
Clark Gillies, New York Islanders LW Bill Barber, Philadelphia Flyers

DebutsEdit

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1978-79 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last GamesEdit

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1978-79 (listed with their last team):

See AlsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

NHL Seasons

1974-75 | 1975-76 | 1976-77 | 1977-78 | 1978-79 | 1979-80 | 1980-81 | 1981-82 | 1982-83

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