79-80NHL.jpg

The 1979-80 NHL season was the 63rd season of the National Hockey League. Twenty-one teams each played 80 games. This season saw the addition of four teams from the collapse of the World Hockey Association (WHA) the previous season as expansion franchises. The Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, New England Whalers (later renamed "Hartford Whalers" at the insistence of the Boston Bruins), and Quebec Nordiques joined the NHL bringing a new total of 21 teams. The other two WHA teams (Birmingham Bulls and Cincinnati Stingers) were paid to disband. The collapse of the WHA also saw the much hyped super-star rookie Wayne Gretzky come to the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers. Gretzky would tie Marcel Dionne for the scoring lead with 137 points and capture the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player while Dionne took home the Art Ross Trophy as the leading scorer by virtue of having scored two more goals.

The big story of the regular season was the record-breaking undefeated streak compiled by the Philadelphia Flyers. After starting the season with a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders and a 9-2 loss to the Atlanta Flames, the Flyers did not lose again for nearly three months, earning at least one point in every game between a 4-3 win over Toronto October 14, 1979 and a 4-2 win over Buffalo January 6, 1980, a span of 35 games. This stands as the longest undefeated streak in North American professional sports history.

Regular Season[edit | edit source]

For the four previous seasons, the Boston Bruins had owned first place in the Adams Division. This season saw the Buffalo Sabres dethrone the Bruins in the Adams. The New York Islanders finished first overall in the NHL the previous season with 116 points, but had lost in the Semi-finals of the playoffs to the upstart New York Rangers. This season saw them fall considerably in the standings as they finished 4th overall with 91 points, a full 25 points below last year's finish. On the other hand, the Philadelphia Flyers improved by 21 points from the previous season. Their 35-game undefeated streak (25-0-10) propelled them to the best record in the NHL with 116 points.

All four expansion teams finished poorly with records below .500. The Hartford Whalers fared the best with 73 points and the Winnipeg Jets tied the Colorado Rockies for last overall with 51 points.

Final Standings[edit | edit source]

Prince of Wales Conference[edit | edit source]

Adams Division
  GP W L T GF GA PTS
Buffalo Sabres 80 47 17 16 318 201 110
Boston Bruins 80 46 21 13 310 234 105
Minnesota North Stars 80 36 28 16 311 253 88
Toronto Maple Leafs 80 35 40 5 304 327 75
Quebec Nordiques 80 25 44 11 248 313 61

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 47 20 13 328 240 107
Los Angeles Kings 80 30 36 14 290 313 74
Pittsburgh Penguins 80 30 37 13 251 303 73
Hartford Whalers 80 27 34 19 303 312 73
Detroit Red Wings 80 26 43 11 268 306 63

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 Conference[edit | edit source]

Patrick Division
  GP W L T GF GA PTS
Philadelphia Flyers 80 48 12 20 327 254 116
New York Islanders 80 39 28 13 281 247 91
New York Rangers 80 38 32 10 308 284 86
Atlanta Flames 80 35 32 13 282 269 83
Washington Capitals 80 27 40 13 261 293 67

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 34 27 19 241 250 87
St. Louis Blues 80 34 34 12 266 278 80
Vancouver Canucks 80 27 37 16 256 281 70
Edmonton Oilers 80 28 39 13 301 322 69
Winnipeg Jets 80 20 49 11 214 314 51
Colorado Rockies 80 19 48 13 234 308 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.


Scoring Leaders[edit | edit source]

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

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Marcel Dionne Los Angeles Kings 80 53 84 137 32
Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers 79 51 86 137 21
Guy Lafleur Montreal Canadiens 74 50 75 125 12
Gilbert Perreault Buffalo Sabres 80 40 66 106 57
Mike Rogers Hartford Whalers 80 44 61 105 10
Bryan Trottier New York Islanders 78 42 62 104 68
Charlie Simmer Los Angeles Kings 64 56 45 101 65
Blaine Stoughton Hartford Whalers 80 56 44 100 16
Darryl Sittler Toronto Maple Leafs 73 40 57 97 62
Blair MacDonald Edmonton Oilers 80 46 48 96 24

Leading Goaltenders[edit | edit source]

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
Bob Sauve Buffalo Sabres 32 1880 74 2.36 20 8 4 4
Denis Herron Montreal Canadiens 34 1909 80 2.51 25 3 3 0
Don Edwards Buffalo Sabres 49 2920 125 2.57 27 9 12 2
Pete Peeters Philadelphia Flyers 40 2373 108 2.73 29 5 5 1
Gilles Gilbert Boston Bruins 33 1933 88 2.73 20 9 3 1
Gerry Cheevers Boston Bruins 42 2479 116 2.81 24 11 7 4
Billy Smith N.Y. Islanders 38 2114 104 2.95 15 14 7 2
Tony Esposito Chicago Black Hawks 69 4140 205 2.97 31 22 16 6
Glenn Resch N.Y. Islanders 45 2606 132 3.04 23 14 6 3
Gilles Meloche Minnesota North Stars 54 3141 160 3.06 27 20 5 1

Stanley Cup Playoffs[edit | edit source]

With the league expansion from 17 to 21 teams, the Stanley Cup playoffs were also expanded, from a 12 team tournament to a 16 team tournament. Division leaders no longer received first round byes. Since the teams played a completely balanced schedule in the regular season (4 games each against each of the other 20 teams), the top 16 teams in the regular season (by points) qualified for the playoffs, regardless of division. The teams were seeded 1 through 16, with the top team playing the 16th team in the first round, and so on. In subsequent rounds, matchups were similarly arranged, with the top remaining seed against the lowest remaining seed, and so on. The First Round was a best-of-five set.

The story of the playoffs, though, was Mike Bossy and the New York Islanders. After a dismal start for their franchise in the early seventies, the Islanders built a contender for the Stanley Cup and won their first of four in a row by beating the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime of game six of the finals. Defenceman Denis Potvin scored a crucial overtime goal in game one and the Cup was won when Bobby Nystrom scored the Cup-winning goal from John Tonelli and Lorne Henning at 7:11 of the first overtime. Hall of Fame announcer Dan Kelly was calling the play-by-play for CBS Sports on that day, May 24, 1980. It was the last NHL game to air on American network television for nearly ten years.

Playoff Bracket[edit | edit source]

  First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
                                     
1  Philadelphia Flyers 3  
16  Edmonton Oilers 0  
  1  Philadelphia Flyers 4  
  8  New York Rangers 1  
8  New York Rangers 3
9  Atlanta Flames 1  
  1  Philadelphia Flyers 4  
  4  Minnesota North Stars 1  
3  Montreal Canadiens 3  
14  Hartford Whalers 0  
  3  Montreal Canadiens 3
  6  Minnesota North Stars 4  
6  Minnesota North Stars 3
11  Toronto Maple Leafs 0  
  1  Philadelphia Flyers 2
  2  New York Islanders 4
2  Buffalo Sabres 3  
15  Vancouver Canucks 1  
  2  Buffalo Sabres 4
  7  Chicago Black Hawks 0  
7  Chicago Black Hawks 3
10  St. Louis Blues 0  
  2  Buffalo Sabres 2
  3  New York Islanders 4  
4  Boston Bruins 3  
13  Pittsburgh Penguins 2  
  4  Boston Bruins 1
  5  New York Islanders 4  
5  New York Islanders 3
12  Los Angeles Kings 1  

NHL Awards[edit | edit source]

Prince of Wales Trophy: Buffalo Sabres
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl: Philadelphia Flyers
Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles Kings
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: Al MacAdam, Minnesota North Stars
Calder Memorial Trophy: Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins
Conn Smythe Trophy: Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders
Frank J. Selke Trophy: Bob Gainey, Montreal Canadiens
Hart Memorial Trophy: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
Jack Adams Award: Pat Quinn, Philadelphia Flyers
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Larry Robinson, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
Lester B. Pearson Award: Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles Kings
NHL Plus/Minus Award: Jim Schoenfeld, Buffalo Sabres & Jimmy Watson, Philadelphia Flyers
Vezina Trophy: Don Edwards & Bob Sauve, Buffalo Sabres
Lester Patrick Trophy: Bobby Clarke, Edward M. Snider, Frederick A. Shero

All-Star Teams[edit | edit source]

First Team   Position   Second Team
Tony Esposito, Chicago Black Hawks G Don Edwards, Buffalo Sabres
Larry Robinson, Montreal Canadiens D Borje Salming, Toronto Maple Leafs
Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins D Jim Schoenfeld, Buffalo Sabres
Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles Kings C Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens RW Danny Gare, Buffalo Sabres
Charlie Simmer, Los Angeles Kings LW Steve Shutt, Montreal Canadiens

Debuts[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1979-80 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last Games[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1979-80 (listed with their last team):

Gallery[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]


NHL Seasons

1975-76 | 1976-77 | 1977-78 | 1978-79 | 1979-80 | 1980-81 | 1981-82 | 1982-83 | 1983-84

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.