1972–73 NHL season

1972–73 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Duration October 7, 1972 – May 10, 1973
Number of games 78
Number of teams 16
Draft
Top draft pick Billy Harris
Picked by New York Islanders
Regular season
Season champions Montreal Canadiens
Season MVP Bobby Clarke (Flyers)
Top scorer Phil Esposito (Bruins)
Playoffs
Playoffs MVP Yvan Cournoyer (Canadiens)
Stanley Cup
Champions Montreal Canadiens
  Runners-up Chicago Black Hawks

The 1972–73 NHL season was the 56th season of the National Hockey League. Sixteen teams each played 78 games. Two new teams, the New York Islanders and the Atlanta Flames, made their debuts. The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup by beating the Chicago Black Hawks four games to two in the Stanley Cup Final.

Pre-season

Prior to the start of the season, the 1972 Summit Series took place. It was the first ever meeting between Soviet Union and NHL calibre Canadian ice hockey players. Canada expected to easily beat the Soviets, but were shocked to find themselves with a losing record of one win, two losses, and a tie after four games in Canada. In game four, which Canada lost 5–3, Vancouver fans echoed the rest of Canada's thoughts of Team Canada's poor performance by booing them off the ice. The final four games were played in the Soviet Union. Canada lost game five, but won the last three for a final record of four wins, three losses, and a tie.

For the first time since the collapse of the Western Hockey League in 1926, the National Hockey League had serious competition. A new professional hockey league, the World Hockey Association, made its season debut with 12 new teams, half of which were based in cities with existing NHL teams. Unlike the Western Hockey League, though, the new World Hockey Association would not challenge for the Stanley Cup. In response to the new league, the NHL hastily added two new teams in an unplanned expansion, the New York Islanders and Atlanta Flames, in an attempt to exclude the WHA from newly constructed arenas in those markets. In February 1972, the Miami Screaming Eagles of the WHA signed Bernie Parent to a contract,[1] and when Bobby Hull was signed on June 27, 1972, to play with the Winnipeg Jets, the Chicago Black Hawks sued, claiming a violation of the reserve clause in NHL contracts. Others soon followed Hull to the WHA, including, J. C. Tremblay, Ted Green, Gerry Cheevers and Johnny McKenzie. In the expansion draft, the New York Islanders and Atlanta Flames made their picks and eleven Islander players skipped off to the WHA. The California Golden Seals, chafing under the unorthodox ownership of the unpopular Charlie Finley, were also a victim of the WHA, losing eight key players.

Regular season

The Montreal Canadiens took over first place in the East Division and the league from the Boston Bruins while for the third consecutive season the Chicago Black Hawks dominated the West Division.

Final standings

East Division[2]
GP W L T GF GA DIFF Pts
1Montreal Canadiens78521016329184+145120
2Boston Bruins7851225330235+95107
3New York Rangers7847238297208+89102
4Buffalo Sabres78372714257219+3888
5Detroit Red Wings78372912265243+2286
6Toronto Maple Leafs78274110247279−3264
7Vancouver Canucks7822479233339−10653
8New York Islanders7812606170347−17730
West Division[2]
GP W L T GF GA DIFF Pts
1Chicago Black Hawks7842279284225+5993
2Philadelphia Flyers78373011296256+4085
3Minnesota North Stars78373011254230+2485
4St. Louis Blues78323412233251−1876
5Pittsburgh Penguins7832379257265−873
6Los Angeles Kings78313611232245−1373
7Atlanta Flames78253815191239−4865
8California Golden Seals78164616213323−11048

Playoffs

No teams in the playoffs swept their opponents, the last time this would happen until 1991. In addition, the Chicago Black Hawks reached the Stanley Cup Finals without a captain, the last time this would happen until 2014.

Playoff bracket

Quarterfinals Semifinals Stanley Cup Finals
         
E1 Montreal 4
E4 Buffalo 2
E1 Montreal 4
W2 Philadelphia 1
W2 Philadelphia 4
W3 Minnesota 2
E1 Montreal 4
W1 Chicago 2
W1 Chicago 4
W4 St. Louis 1
W1 Chicago 4
E3 NY Rangers 1
E2 Boston 1
E3 NY Rangers 4

Quarterfinals

(E1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (E4) Buffalo Sabres

The Montreal Canadiens finished first in the East Division with 120 points. The Buffalo Sabres finished fourth with 88 points. This was the first playoff meeting between these two teams. This was the Buffalo Sabres' first playoff appearance in their third season since entering the league in the 1970–71 NHL season. Montreal won the five-game regular season series earning six of ten points.

Montreal won series 4–2

(E2) Boston Bruins vs. (E3) New York Rangers

The Boston Bruins finished second in the East Division with 107 points. The New York Rangers finished third in the East Division with 102 points. This was the ninth playoff meeting between these two teams with Boston winning six of the eight previous series. They last met in the previous year's Stanley Cup Finals which Boston won in six games. The teams split this year's six-game regular season series.

New York won series 4–1

(W1) Chicago Black Hawks vs. (W4) St. Louis Blues

The Chicago Black Hawks finished first in the West Division with 93 points. The St. Louis Blues finished fourth in the West Division with 76 points. This was the first playoff meeting between these two teams. The teams split this year's six-game regular season series.

Chicago won series 4–1

(W2) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (W3) Minnesota North Stars

The Philadelphia Flyers and Minnesota North Stars finished tied for second in the West Division each with 85 points (Philadelphia won the tiebreaker in total goals for 296–254). This was the first playoff meeting between these two teams. Philadelphia won three of the five games in this year's regular season series.

Philadelphia won series 4–2

Semifinals

(E1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (W3) Philadelphia Flyers

This was the first playoff meeting between these two teams. The teams split this year's five-game regular season series.

Montreal won series 4–1

(W1) Chicago Black Hawks vs. (E3) New York Rangers

This was the fifth playoff meeting between these two teams with Chicago winning three of the four previous series. They last met in the previous year's Stanley Cup Semifinals which New York won in four games. The teams split this year's five-game regular season series.

Chicago won series 4–1

Stanley Cup Finals

Montreal made twenty-seventh Finals appearance while Chicago made their Finals appearance; both teams last met and made the Finals in 1971 which Montreal won in seven games. This was the sixteenth playoff meeting between these two teams with Montreal winning ten of the fifteen previous series. Chicago won three of the five games in this year's regular season series.

Montreal won series 4–2

Awards

1973 NHL awards
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(East Division champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:
(West Division champion)
Chicago Black Hawks
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer, regular season)
Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:
(Perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication)
Lowell MacDonald, Pittsburgh Penguins
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Top first-year player)
Steve Vickers, New York Rangers
Conn Smythe Trophy:
(Most valuable player, playoffs)
Yvan Cournoyer, Montreal Canadiens
Hart Memorial Trophy:
(Most valuable player, regular season)
Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers
James Norris Memorial Trophy:
(Best defenceman)
Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Gilbert Perreault, Buffalo Sabres
Lester B. Pearson Award:
(Outstanding player, regular season)
Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender(s) of team with best goaltending record)
Ken Dryden, Montreal Canadiens
Lester Patrick Trophy:
(Service to hockey in the U.S.)
Walter L. Bush, Jr.

All-Star teams

First team  Position  Second team
Ken Dryden, Montreal Canadiens G Tony Esposito, Chicago Black Hawks
Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins D Brad Park, New York Rangers
Guy Lapointe, Montreal Canadiens D Bill White, Chicago Black Hawks
Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins C Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers
Mickey Redmond, Detroit Red Wings RW Yvan Cournoyer, Montreal Canadiens
Frank Mahovlich, Montreal Canadiens LW Dennis Hull, Chicago Black Hawks

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Phil EspositoBoston Bruins78557513087
Bobby ClarkePhiladelphia Flyers78376710480
Bobby OrrBoston Bruins63297210199
Rick MacLeishPhiladelphia Flyers78505010069
Jacques LemaireMontreal Canadiens7744519516
Jean RatelleNew York Rangers7841539412
Mickey RedmondDetroit Red Wings7652419324
Johnny BucykBoston Bruins7840539312
Frank MahovlichMontreal Canadiens7838559351
Jim PappinChicago Black Hawks7641519282

Source: NHL.[3]

Leading goaltenders

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 DrydenMontreal Canadiens5431651192.26337136
Gilles VillemureNew York Rangers342040782.29201223
Tony EspositoChicago Black Hawks5633401402.51321774
Roy EdwardsDetroit Red Wings5230121322.63271776
Dave DrydenBuffalo Sabres372018892.65141373
Roger CrozierBuffalo Sabres4926331212.76231373
Doug FavellPhiladelphia Flyers4424191142.83201543
Rogie VachonL.A. Kings5331201482.852220104
Cesare ManiagoMinnesota North Stars4727361322.89211865
Jim RutherfordPittsburgh Penguins4926601292.91202253

Other statistics

Coaches

East

West

Debuts

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1972–73 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1972–73 (listed with their last team):

NOTE: Plante, Stapleton, Backstrom, Howell and Balon would finish their major professional careers in the World Hockey Association.

See also

References

  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Kingston, NY: Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X. 
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5. 
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9. 
  • Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1. 
Notes
  1. Dunell, Milt (February 22, 1972). "Hockey's first 'Super Series' will be played in the courtrooms". Montreal Gazette. page 31. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  2. 1 2 "1972–1973 Division Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". National Hockey League.
  3. Dinger 2011, p. 150.
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