In 1967 the Montreal Canadiens were primed to make their mark on the hockey world. They had just won back-to-back Stanley Cups, and were looking to make it three. Montreal was at the highest the city would ever be — the financial capital of Canada, hosting Expo ‘67, the highlight of Canada’s centennial celebrations, a brand new subway system that surpassed Toronto’s (and still does), and the eyes of the entire world on them.
1967 Regular Season
|Ron Ellis - 22||Top Goal Scorer||Yvan Cournoyer - 25|
|Dave Keon - 33||Top Assists||Bobby Rousseau - 44|
|Dave Keon - 52||Top Points||Bobby Rousseau - 63|
|Jim Pappin - 89||Penalties||John Ferguson - 177|
|204GF - 211GA = -7||Goals +/-||202GF - 188GA = +14|
|Johnny Bower - 2.64GAA||Top Goalie||Rogie Vachon - 2.48GAA|
|11||Players > 30||9|
The Toronto Maple Leafs were a team that had won three straight cups from 1962-1964. The core of that team was still together, and as we know often, they were one of the oldest teams to play in the finals.
Neither of these two teams were much stronger than the other. Montreal finished the year with a 32-25-13 record, while the Maple Leafs were 32-27-11. Both were well below the Chicago Black Hawks who ended the season with a 41-17-12 record, 17 points ahead of the Canadiens for first overall.
The Canadiens core was also made up of players over 30, just like the the Maple Leafs. Both had an almost equal number of future hall of famers. Of course this wasn’t a match up that should have happened.
The Black Hawks faced the Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs. The ‘Hawks were in a six year cup drought that they wanted to end. They were led by Stan Mikita (97pts) and Bobby Hull (80pts). They had the pair of Glenn Hall and Denis DeJordy in net - the top pair in the league.
They lost to the Maple Leafs in six games.
The Montreal Canadiens swept the New York Rangers.
The two rivals would meet for just the fifth time in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Leafs went to Montreal eager to get this series done and ruin the three-peat. The Canadiens seemingly had a stronger desire and would win the game, putting six goals past Johnny Bower, 6-2.
Terry Sawchuk took over in net, and kept the Habs at bay, shutting them out 3-0. The Leafs would leave Montreal with the series tied at one game apiece.
Heading into double overtime, the Leafs would win 3-2 to take a series lead with Bower getting his first win.
With Bower injured, Al Smith came in as back up and the Canadiens again put six past the Maple Leafs to tie things up with another 6-2 win.
The Maple Leafs went into the Montreal Forum, facing a new best of three series. A win in Montreal would mean a cup presentation on home ice. The Leafs pulled out a clear victory, 4-1, to head back to Toronto.
Johnny Bower would return, but sit as back up to Terry Sawchuk, who made 41 saves to keep the Canadiens behind the Maple Leafs all night. George Armstrong scored the safety goal, to make it 3-1 Maple Leafs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs were the 1967 Stanley Cup Champions.
And before you get snarky non-Leafs fans, here are the highlights in colour:
The Maple Leafs would never reach this high again. This was the final time (so far) that they would make the Stanley Cup Finals.
Of course, there’s always next year.