August 26, 2014

1968-69: Habs Win Again, But Espo, Orr Lead Rising Bruins

The Three Stars

Espo Smashes Scoring Record: Phil Esposito's 126 points (including a lead leaguing 77 assists) outdistances Bobby Hull (107) and 40 year old Gordie Howe (103) to win the Art Ross Trophy. They are the first three players in NHL history to record 100 point seasons. Espo also wins the Hart Trophy as league MVP.

Hull Sets New Goal Scoring Mark: Bobby Hull ups his own NHL record for most goals in a season when he notches 58 goals. It is his 4th time scoring 50. Frank Mahovlich and Phil Esposito narrowly miss out with 49 each.

Habs Win Again: Even though the defending champion Montreal Canadiens replace legendary coach Toe Blake with 30 year old newcomer Claude Ruel, the Habs repeat to win another Stanley Cup. Again the Habs defeat St. Louis with a Stanley Cup Final sweep. Serge Savard became the first defenseman ever to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Season highlights:

  • The NHL draft becomes eligible for players around the world.
  • Bobby Orr leads the NHL with a +65 rating.
  • Alex Delvecchio scores his 1000th point and wins his third Lady Byng Trophy.
  • Expansion stars include St. Louis'  Red Berenson, Minnesota's Danny Grant, LA's Eddie Joyal and the St. Louis goaltending Vezina Trophy winning tandem of Jacques Plante and Glenn Hall.
  • Red Berenson scored 6 goals against Philadelphia in a 8-0 win on November 7th, 1968.
  • Jim Dorey sets a mark of a different kind when the Toronto rookie takes nine penalties (totalling 48 minutes) in one game. Chris Nilan (10) would eclipse that mark in 1991.
  • The New York Rangers create the GAG Line - Goal A Game Line - when Jean Ratelle, Rod Gilbert and Vic Hadfield are united.

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