May 07, 2008

1963: Leafs Steamroll Competition

The year is 1963. It is the only year in NHL-controlled Stanley Cup history (1927 to present) that not a single playoff game went into overtime.
The Toronto Maple Leafs easily defend their crown as Stanley Cup champions. They posted the best regular season record and followed that up with an 8-2 playoff record, dusting off Montreal and then Detroit in the finals.
The Leafs were led by goaltender Johnny Bower, who put on the best goaltending display of his long career. Toronto were outshot in all but three of ten games, but Bower blocked 299/315 shots (94.9%) and was mentioned as a star in five of the ten playoff games. He had 32 and 35 saves in his shutouts over Montreal, the leagues highest scoring team.

Dave Keon paced Toronto scorers with 12 points, though Detroit's Gordie Howe and Norm Ullman tied for the league lead in scoring with 16.

This Toronto team included famed roughian Eddie Shack. If you ever met "The Entertainer" years later he would tell you the most fantastic stories of how he scored the Stanley Cup winning goal in 1963. While it is true he got that goal, it was a result of a point shot from Kent Douglas that deflected off of Shack and then Detroit defender Doug Barkley.

Despite the players' best efforts to establish their name with greatness, somehow Stanley Cup engravers screwed up and engraved on the Cup "Toronto Maple Leaes."

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