1978–79 NHL season

1978–79 NHL season

The 1978–79 NHL season was the 62nd season of the National Hockey League. The 17 teams of the league played an 80 game season.

The Montreal Canadiens beat the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup finals four games to one for their fourth Cup in a row.

League business

This season saw the first reduction in the total number of teams since the Brooklyn Americans folded following the 1941–42 season. The financially unstable Cleveland Barons were merged with the also struggling Minnesota North Stars (now the Dallas Stars), reducing the number of teams to seventeen, with the North Stars assuming the Barons' place in the Adams Division.

This reduction would only be temporary, however, as the World Hockey Association would fold following this season and four of its teams, the Edmonton Oilers, Quebec Nordiques, Winnipeg Jets and Hartford Whalers, would be admitted to the NHL as expansion franchises for the 1979–80 season.

For the first time since the NHL All-Star Game became an annual tradition, it was not played. In its stead was the 1979 Challenge Cup, which saw Soviet Union players come over to North America to play against NHL players. The Soviets won the series two games to one.

Regular season

For the past three seasons, the Montreal Canadiens had dominated the regular season, but times were changing. The New York Islanders had been steadily improving over the past few seasons and this season saw them beat out the Canadiens by one point for the best record in the league.

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

"Philadelphia wins best-of-three series 2 games to 1"

Los Angeles Kings vs. New York Rangers"Pittsburgh wins best-of-three series 2 games to 1"


Chicago Black Hawks vs. New York Islanders"Boston wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 0"

New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers"Montreal wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 3"


New York Rangers vs. Montreal Canadiens

As of 2008, it is the last time two Pre-war clubs met in the Finals.


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1978–79 (listed with their first team, asterisk (*) marks debut in playoffs):
*Brad Marsh, Atlanta Flames
*Reggie Lemelin, Atlanta Flames
*Al Secord, Boston Bruins
*Bobby Smith, Minnesota North Stars
*Steve Payne, Minnesota North Stars
*Rod Langway, Montreal Canadiens
*John Tonelli, New York Islanders
*Anders Hedberg, New York Rangers
*Ulf Nilsson, New York Rangers
*Ken Linseman, Philadelphia Flyers
*Pete Peeters, Philadelphia Flyers
*Greg Millen, Pittsburgh Penguins
*Wayne Babych, St. Louis Blues
*Curt Fraser, Vancouver Canucks
*Thomas Gradin, Vancouver Canucks
*Stan Smyl, Vancouver Canucks
*Brad Smith, Vancouver Canucks
*Ryan Walter, Washington Capitals

Last games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1978–79 (listed with their last team):
*Bobby Orr, Chicago Black Hawks
*Joe Watson, Colorado Rockies
*Danny Grant, Los Angeles Kings
*J.P. Parise, Minnesota North Stars
*Jacques Lemaire, Montreal Canadiens
*Ken Dryden, Montreal Canadiens
*Yvan Cournoyer, Montreal Canadiens
*Ed Westfall, New York Islanders
*Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers
*Garry Monahan, Toronto Maple Leafs
*Pit Martin, Vancouver Canucks

See also

* List of Stanley Cup champions
* 1978 NHL Amateur Draft
* 1979 Challenge Cup
* 1978–79 WHA season
* 1978 in sports
* 1979 in sports


* [http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/leagues/nhl1927.html Hockey Database]
* [http://nhl.com/ NHL.com]

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