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1976–77 NHL season: Wikis

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The 1976–77 NHL season was the 60th season of the National Hockey League. Eighteen teams each played 80 games. Not since the Ottawa Senators had relocated in 1934, becoming the St. Louis Eagles, had an NHL team moved. This year saw not one, but two teams relocate. The Kansas City Scouts moved to Denver, Colorado and became the Colorado Rockies and the California Golden Seals moved to Cleveland, Ohio and became the Cleveland Barons. The instability along with the poor performances of the Washington Capitals and the Scouts since the 1974 expansion caused the league to shelve an expansion to Denver and Seattle proposed for this season.

The Montreal Canadiens once again dominated the playoffs as for the second straight year, they swept their opponent four games to none in the final series for the Stanley Cup.

This season would be Clarence Campbell's last as NHL President. He would be succeeded by John Ziegler.

Contents

Regular season

The previous season saw the Montreal Canadiens set new records in wins and points. Both of those records were broken again by the Canadiens this season as, with the second best winning percentage in NHL history, they had 60 wins and 132 points. Their home record was an impressive 33 wins, 1 loss, and 6 ties. Scoring a remarkable two hundred goals more than they allowed, the Canadiens were a full 26 points ahead of the second-place Boston Bruins, who were swept outright by Montreal in the 1977 Final.

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Milestones

On February 2, 1977, Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Ian Turnbull would be the first player in NHL history to score five goals on five shots. [1]

Final standings

GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, PIM = Penalties In Minutes
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold

Prince of Wales Conference

Adams Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Boston Bruins 80 49 23 8 106 312 240 1065
Buffalo Sabres 80 48 24 8 104 301 220 848
Toronto Maple Leafs 80 33 32 15 81 301 285 1200
Cleveland Barons 80 25 42 13 63 240 292 1011
Norris Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Montreal Canadiens 80 60 8 12 132 387 171 764
Los Angeles Kings 80 34 31 15 83 271 241 1186
Pittsburgh Penguins 80 34 33 13 81 240 252 669
Washington Capitals 80 24 42 14 62 221 307 1231
Detroit Red Wings 80 16 55 9 41 183 309 1332

Clarence Campbell Conference

Patrick Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Philadelphia Flyers 80 48 16 16 112 323 213 1547
New York Islanders 80 47 21 12 106 288 193 1012
Atlanta Flames 80 34 34 12 80 264 265 889
New York Rangers 80 29 37 14 72 272 310 1164
Smythe Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
St. Louis Blues 80 32 39 9 73 239 276 877
Minnesota North Stars 80 23 39 18 64 240 310 774
Chicago Black Hawks 80 26 43 11 63 240 298 1104
Vancouver Canucks 80 25 42 13 63 235 294 1078
Colorado Rockies 80 20 46 14 54 226 307 978

Scoring leaders

GP = Games Played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points, PIM = Penalties In Minutes

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Guy Lafleur Montreal Canadiens 80 56 80 136 20
Marcel Dionne Los Angeles Kings 80 53 69 122 12
Steve Shutt Montreal Canadiens 80 60 45 105 28
Rick MacLeish Philadelphia Flyers 79 49 48 97 42
Gilbert Perreault Buffalo Sabres 80 39 56 95 30
Tim Young Minnesota North Stars 80 29 66 95 58
Jean Ratelle Boston Bruins 78 33 61 94 22
Lanny McDonald Toronto Maple Leafs 80 46 44 90 77
Darryl Sittler Toronto Maple Leafs 73 38 52 90 89
Bobby Clarke Philadelphia Flyers 80 27 63 90 71

Playoffs

Playoff structure

For the 1976-77 Stanley Cup playoff tournament, the top three teams in each division were awarded playoff berths. These 12 teams were then ranked 1 through 12 according to their regular season records irrespective of divisional affiliation. The four division winners automatically qualified for the quarter-finals, while the remaining 8 teams (2nd and 3rd place teams in each division) played a preliminary round. For the preliminary round, the top ranked non-division winner played the 12th ranked team, the second top ranked non-division winner played the 11th ranked team, the third ranked non-division winner played the third-lowest ranked non-division winner (this would not necessarility be the 10th ranked team as it was possible for a 10th ranked team to win its division; and in fact this year St. Louis did win the Smythe division as the 10th ranked playoff team), and the remaining two non-division winners formed the 4th preliminary round pairing. The preliminary round consisted of a best-of-three series with the 1st game played on the home ice of the higher ranked team, and the second game on the home ice of the lower ranked team. If a third and deciding game was necessary, it was played on the home ice of the higher ranked team.

For the quarter-final, semi-final and final rounds, each series was a best-of-seven, with home ice advantage in games 1, 2, 5 and 7 going to the team with the better regular season record; the other team would host games 3, 4 and 6.

The four preliminary round winners then joined the four division winners for the quarter-final round consisting of best-of-seven series. The matchup were determined according to regular season records without regard to divisional affiliations. Of the 8 remaining teams, the top ranked team played the lowest ranked remaining team, the second top ranked remaining team played the second lowest ranked remaining team, etc.

The four quarter-final winners advanced to the semi-finals with the match-ups again determined by regular season records. The highest ranked remaining team played the lowest ranked remaining team and the other two teams formed the second match-up.

The two semi-final winners then played each other in the Stanley Cup Final.

Playoff bracket

  Preliminary Round Quarter-finals Semi-finals Stanley Cup Final
                                     
        
  1  Montreal Canadiens 4  
    10  St. Louis Blues 0  
      
        
  1  Montreal Canadiens 4  
  4  New York Islanders 2  
4  New York Islanders 2  
12  Chicago Black Hawks 0  
  4  New York Islanders 4
    5  Buffalo Sabres 0  
5  Buffalo Sabres 2
11  Minnesota North Stars 0  
  1  Montreal Canadiens 4
  3  Boston Bruins 0
        
        
  2  Philadelphia Flyers 4
    8  Toronto Maple Leafs 2  
7  Pittsburgh Penguins 1
8  Toronto Maple Leafs 2  
  2  Philadelphia Flyers 0
  3  Boston Bruins 4  
        
        
  3  Boston Bruins 4
    6  Los Angeles Kings 2  
6  Los Angeles Kings 2
9  Atlanta Flames 1  

NHL awards

Prince of Wales Trophy: Montreal Canadiens
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl: Philadelphia Flyers
Art Ross Trophy: Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: Ed Westfall, New York Islanders
Calder Memorial Trophy: Willi Plett, Atlanta Flames
Conn Smythe Trophy: Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens
Hart Memorial Trophy: Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens
Jack Adams Award: Scotty Bowman, Montreal Canadiens
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Larry Robinson, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles Kings
Lester B. Pearson Award: Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens
NHL Plus/Minus Award: Larry Robinson, Montreal Canadiens
Vezina Trophy: Ken Dryden & Michel Larocque, Montreal Canadiens
Lester Patrick Trophy: John Bucyk, Murray A. Armstrong, John Mariucci

All-Star teams

First Team   Position   Second Team
Ken Dryden, Montreal Canadiens G Rogie Vachon, Los Angeles Kings
Larry Robinson, Montreal Canadiens D Denis Potvin, New York Islanders
Borje Salming, Toronto Maple Leafs D Guy Lapointe, Montreal Canadiens
Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles Kings C Gilbert Perreault, Buffalo Sabres
Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens RW Lanny McDonald, Toronto Maple Leafs
Steve Shutt, Montreal Canadiens LW Rick Martin, Buffalo Sabres

Debuts

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1976–77 (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 1976–77 (listed with their last team):

See also

References

  1. ^ Hockey’s Book of Firsts, p.27, James Duplacey, JG Press, ISBN 978-1-57215-037-9

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