The 1968 Stanley Cup playoffs, to decide the 1968 championship of the National Hockey League (NHL) was the first after the expansion from six to twelve teams. The defending champion Toronto Maple Leafs did not qualify and a new champion would be crowned. The Montreal Canadiens would defeat the St. Louis Blues in four straight to win the Stanley Cup.
All of the 'Original Six' teams were placed in the new Eastern Division, and all of the new teams placed in the new Western Division. Each division contributed four playoff teams. Division teams then played off to produce a divisional champion, and the two divisional champions played off in the Final to win the Stanley Cup
The imbalance between the new teams and old was readily apparent in the standings. All four of the East Division teams had a better record than the top team in the West.
The Canadiens drew the third-place Boston Bruins in the first round. The Bruins, improving with stars Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr, took the Canadiens to seven games, their longest series of the playoffs. In the other East series, the second-place Rangers faced off against the fourth place Chicago Black Hawks. The Black Hawks, led by Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita defeated the Rangers in six to set up a Montreal-Chicago East Division showdown. The Black Hawks could not provide another upset, and lost to the Canadiens in five games.
In the West, all four teams played their first playoff series. The first-place Philadelphia Flyers lost their first-ever playoff series to the Blues, led by goaltender Glenn Hall and coached by future Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman in seven games, while the second-place Los Angeles Kings lost to the fourth-place Minnesota North Stars. The Blues would defeat the North Stars in seven games to advance to their first final.
The Blues now faced the Canadiens for the Stanley Cup. Blues coach Bowman, a long-time member of the Canadiens organization was unable to spur the Blues to an upset. The Canadiens, led by Jean Beliveau and Henri Richard swept the series in four games.
|4||Chicago Black Hawks||1|
|2||New York Rangers||2|
|4||Chicago Black Hawks||4|
|W3||St. Louis Blues||0|
|3||St. Louis Blues||4|
|3||St. Louis Blues||4|
|4||Minnesota North Stars||3|
|2||Los Angeles Kings||3|
|4||Minnesota North Stars||4|
Awards and recordsEdit
- Falla, Jack (2001). Quest for the Cup : a history of the Stanley Cup finals, 1893-2000. Key Porter Books. ISBN 1552633438.
1967 Stanley Cup playoffs
|Stanley Cup playoffs|
| Succeeded by|
1969 Stanley Cup playoffs
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|1967–68 NHL season by team|
|East||Boston • Chicago • Detroit • Montreal • New York • Toronto|
|West||Los Angeles • Minnesota • Oakland • Philadelphia • Pittsburgh • St. Louis|
|See also||1967 NHL Amateur Draft • 1967 NHL Expansion Draft • All-Star Game • 1968 Stanley Cup Finals|