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The East Division of the National Hockey League existed from 1967, when the NHL was made up of a single division, until 1974 when the league realigned its format into two conferences of two divisions each.
In 1967, the NHL doubled in size, going from six teams to twelve. The Original Six, as the pre-1967 teams were known, were grouped into the East Division, while the expansion teams were placed into the new NHL Western Division. This was done in order to keep teams of similar strength in the same division, regardless of geographic location. This competitive imbalance would lead to East Division teams winning the Stanley Cup in five of the six years the league was divided into two divisions. Another consequence was that in 1969–70, the Montreal Canadiens, who had scored 92 points (more than any team in the West Division), missed the playoffs – the only time between 1948–49 and 1993–94 that they did so.
When the NHL expanded again in 1970, the two new teams, the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres, were placed into the stronger East Division. To create a more balanced alignment, the Chicago Black Hawks were transferred into the West Division. The NHL expanded again in 1972; each division was given one of the expansion clubs, with the New York Islanders joining the East Division and the Atlanta Flames joining the West Division.
By 1974, another two teams (the Washington Capitals and Kansas City Scouts) entered the NHL, and as a result the league underwent a major overhaul. The East and West Divisions were renamed the Prince of Wales and Clarence Campbell Conferences, respectively, composed of nine teams each. The conferences were further divided into two divisions: the Norris and Adams Divisions for the Wales Conference, and the Patrick and Smythe Divisions for the Campbell Conference. Because the Conferences were not geographically-based, the league opted to name the conferences and divisions after historical figures associated with the NHL.
Composition of the East DivisionEdit
- Montreal Canadiens (1967–74)
- New York Rangers (1967–74)
- Boston Bruins (1967–74)
- Chicago Black Hawks (1967–70)
- Toronto Maple Leafs (1967–74)
- Detroit Red Wings (1967–74)
- Buffalo Sabres (1970–74)
- Vancouver Canucks (1970–74)
- New York Islanders (1972–1974)
Final standings, 1968–74Edit
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Note: Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold
|New York Rangers||74||39||23||12||90||226||183||673|
|Chicago Black Hawks||74||32||26||16||80||212||222||606|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||74||33||31||10||76||209||176||634|
|Detroit Red Wings||74||27||35||12||66||245||257||759|
|New York Rangers||76||41||26||9||91||231||196||806|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||76||35||26||15||85||234||217||961|
|Detroit Red Wings||76||33||31||12||78||239||221||885|
|Chicago Black Hawks||76||34||33||9||77||280||246||842|
|Chicago Black Hawks||76||45||22||9||99||250||170||901|
|Detroit Red Wings||76||40||21||15||95||246||199||907|
|New York Rangers||76||38||22||16||92||246||189||853|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||76||29||34||13||71||222||242||898|
|New York Rangers||78||49||18||11||109||259||177||952|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||78||37||33||8||82||248||211||1133|
|Detroit Red Wings||78||22||45||11||55||209||308||988|
|New York Rangers||78||48||17||13||109||317||192||1010|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||78||33||31||14||80||209||208||887|
|Detroit Red Wings||78||33||35||10||76||261||262||850|
|New York Rangers||78||47||23||8||102||297||208||765|
|Detroit Red Wings||78||37||29||12||86||265||243||893|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||78||27||41||10||64||247||279||716|
|New York Islanders||78||12||60||6||30||170||347||881|
|New York Rangers||78||40||24||14||94||300||251||782|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||78||35||27||16||86||274||230||903|
|Detroit Red Wings||78||29||39||10||68||255||319||917|
|New York Islanders||78||19||41||18||56||182||247||1075|
East Division ChampionsEdit
As the East Division was composed of the Original Six franchises, these teams had a competitive advantage over the West Division teams for several years.
- 1967–68 - Montreal Canadiens
- 1968–69 - Montreal Canadiens
- 1969–70 - Boston Bruins
- 1970–71 - Montreal Canadiens
- 1971–72 - Boston Bruins
- 1972–73 - Montreal Canadiens
|National Hockey League|