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season card
GP Games played - Number of games the team has played
W Wins - Games the team has won, either in regulation or in overtime
L Losses - Games the team has lost in regulation
T Ties - Games that have ended in a tie
PTS Points - Team points, calculated from W, L, T, OTL and SOL; used to determine standings
GF Goals for - Number of goals the team has scored
GA Goals against - Number of goals scored against the team
Boston Bruins 78 54 13 11 119 330 204
New York Rangers 78 48 17 13 109 317 192
Montreal Canadiens 78 46 16 16 108 307 205
Toronto Maple Leafs 78 33 31 14 80 209 208
Detroit Red Wings 78 33 35 10 76 261 262
Buffalo Sabres 78 16 43 19 51 203 289
Vancouver Canucks 78 20 50 8 48 203 297
Season's leaders see the complete stats
GP Games played - Number of games the player has set foot on the ice
G Goals - Number of goals the player has scored
A Assists - Number of goals the player has assisted in
PTS Points - Scoring points, calculated as the sum of G and A
27 Frank Mahovlich 76 43 53 96
12 Yvan Cournoyer 73 47 36 83
25 Jacques Lemaire 77 32 49 81
20 Peter Mahovlich 75 35 32 67
10 Guy Lafleur 73 29 35 64
GP Games played - Number of games the player has set foot on the ice
RECORD Record - Goalie record (W-L-T)
SO Shutouts - Number of games where the goaltender has not allowed a goal
GAA Goals against average - Mean goals-per-game scored on the goaltender
29 Ken Dryden 64 39-8-15 8 2.24
Season results


The Stanley Cup Champion Canadiens made significant changes to their team, both on the ice and behind the bench to start the season. Scotty Bowman returned to the organization to begin his eight-year coaching tenure and Henri Richard, the only Hab to appear in all 78 games, assumed the captaincy.

Guy Lafleur broke into the league, making the most eagerly anticipated Canadiens debut since Jean Beliveau, by scoring the first 29 goals of his career, good for sixth spot on a team that lit the lamp 307 times in 1971-72.

Yvan Cournoyer hit a career high with 47 goals while Frank Mahovlich notched 43. Three Habs, Pete Mahovlich (35), Jacques Lemaire (32) and sophomore left-winger Marc Tardif (31), all broke the 30-goal barrier for the first time.

Only four teams allowed fewer goals as Jean Claude Tremblay and Jacques Laperriere continued their stellar play on the blue line. Youngsters Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe improved with every passing month, giving the Habs one of the most balanced and versatile defences in the league.

Between the pipes, Ken Dryden led the way, proving that the previous spring’s exploits were no fluke. He ended the season second in the league with nine shutouts and fourth among all NHL netminders, with a 2.24 goals-against average.

Five of the “Original Six” franchises finished above .500 and Montreal battled the Rangers for second spot in the Eastern Division for most of the winter. The Habs went 46-16-16, their 107 points just one fewer than what the Rangers had accumulated.

Boston, as expected, won the division with a league-leading 119 points.


A new playoff format that had division winners taking on the fourth-place teams in the first round meant that instead of meeting the Bruins in the opening round as they would have in pervious years, Montreal faced the New York Rangers.

Second-place finishers the past two seasons, the Broadway Blueshirts were led by a trio of 30-years-olds called the Goal a Game Line. With a collective 139 regular season markers Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle and Vic Hadfield more than lived up their nickname.

The Rangers threw a blanket over the Canadiens, allowing them more than a pair of goals in only one of their six confrontations. Playing at Madison Square Garden, they took the first two games, before dropping the third, 2-1, at the Forum. Their backs to the wall, the Canadiens captured a 2-1 goaltender’s battle in New York, drawing within a game of evening the series.

A tightly contested sixth game at the Forum finished 3-2 for the visiting team, sending the Rangers on to a semifinal sweep of Chicago and a Stanley Cup Final defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins.
The playoffs roadmap
Quarter-finals - New York Rangers
Date AWAY   HOME  
April 5th, 1972 MTL 2 NYR 3  
April 6th, 1972 MTL 2 NYR 5  
April 8th, 1972 NYR 1 MTL 2  
April 9th, 1972 NYR 6 MTL 4  
April 11th, 1972 MTL 2 NYR 1  
April 13th, 1972 NYR 3 MTL 2  
NY Rangers won best-of-seven series 4-2