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The 1958–59 NHL season was the 42nd season of the National Hockey League (NHL) which lasted from October 8, 1958 to April 18, 1959 where 6 teams each played 70 games.

The Montreal Canadiens were the Stanley Cup champions as they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs four games to one in the best-of-seven final series, making it the fourth consecutive Stanley Cup win for the Canadiens as they became the first team to win four in a row.

Regular Season[]

The Toronto Maple Leafs (the last-place finishers the previous season) brought up Johnny Bower to share goaltending duties with Ed Chadwick and bolstered the defence by adding Carl Brewer & Allan Stanley to aid Tim Horton & Bobby Baun. Toronto was on its way up.

Ralph Backstrom and Jean Beliveau each had two goals apiece in a 9–1 Montreal win at the Montreal Forum on October 23, 1958.

Rudy Pilous (the coach of the Chicago Black Hawks) was far from pleased with his team's performance and fined his team $100 for the poor performance.

Beliveau had the hat trick November 29 as Montreal beat Detroit 6–2 at the Forum. Gordie Howe was injured in a collision with Doug Harvey near the end of the first period and was taken to hospital. There was no serious damage and Howe was given an ovation when he returned in the third period.

The next night, Montreal sneeringly pasted the Red Wings 7–0 as Jacques Plante got his third shutout of the season.

On January 3, 1959, Harvey was back in the Canadiens lineup and scored two goals in a 5–1 win over the New York Rangers at the Forum. A crowd of 14,711 saw a free-for-all at the end of the game. In the last minute of play, Plante got two penalties, one of them a major that sparked the fight.

Jimmy Bartlett had skated right into Plante, and Plante retaliated by punching Bartlett. In no time at all, every player on the ice was involved except Rangers' net minder Gump Worsley, who decided to have none of the nonsense.

Referee Dalton McArthur gave Bartlett a double major, one for charging and one for fighting and a misconduct penalty. Harvey and Lou Fontinato also received major penalties.

On February 1, 1959, the Rangers downed the Red Wings 5–4 at Madison Square Garden. [

Lou Fontinato became incensed when Gordie Howe whacked Eddie Shack over the ear with his stick, and challenged the right wing. Howe terminated the fight with an uppercut that broke Fontinato's nose and left it several degrees off centre.

On February 5, 1959, the Rangers beat the Wings 5–0 on Worsley's shutout.

Detroit coach Sid Abel (formerly Howe's centreman) was furious at his team and fined 14 players $100 each for playing what he described as "the worst game of hockey he had seen in 20 years".

On February 15, 1959 at Madison Square Garden, the Gumper had Montreal shut out with ten minutes remaining. Then the Canadiens scored 5 goals to win 5–1.

Coach Phil Watson was red-faced and screaming at his Ranger players and ordered every player (except Worsley) out on the ice for an after-game workout. Watson said Worsley hadn't played so bad. General manager Muzz Patrick said the workout was in lieu of fines.

With five games left in the season, the Rangers had a seven-point lead over Toronto. Then the Rangers went into a fatal tailspin and the Leafs got hot.

The key game was played March 19, 1959 between Toronto and the Canadiens.

Plante couldn't play due to a severe case of boils and so the Canadiens used Claude Pronovost in goal. He was bombed for five goals before coach Toe Blake yanked him in the third period. He was replaced by another nobody, Claude Cyr. It was his first and last NHL game. He gave up only one goal the rest of the way, but the damage was done.

Toronto won 6–3. The Canadiens brought up the more capable Charlie Hodge from the Montreal Royals and on March 22, he beat the Rangers 4–2. The Rangers still had a chance to make the playoffs if Detroit beat Toronto.

The Red Wings had a 3–0 lead that collapsed, and the Leafs won 6–4 and ousted the Rangers, making the playoffs themselves.

The Montreal Canadiens again won the regular season standings and again their players dominated the All-Star nominations (with six of a possible twelve, the same number as in 1956) and trophies as Jacques Plante won his fourth straight Vezina Trophy, Tom Johnson won the James Norris Memorial Trophy, ending teammate Doug Harvey's four-year monopoly, and Dickie Moore won the Art Ross Trophy, setting a new record for total points in a season: with a 41-goal, 55-assist campaign, "Digger" broke "Mr. Hockey's" record by a single point.

This season marked the final time until 1967 where we would see an active player that had played for a team not in the Original Six.

Former Brooklyn Americans player Ken Mosdell suited up for 2 postseason games for the Canadiens that year and retired after Montreal won the Cup.



Montreal Canadiens vs. Chicago Black Hawks

  • March 24, 1959: 4-2 (Winner: Montreal)
  • March 26, 1959: 5-1 (Winner: Montreal)
  • March 28, 1959: 4-2 (Winner: Chicago)
  • March 31, 1959: 3-1 (Winner: Chicago)
  • April 2, 1959: 4-2 (Winner: Montreal)
  • April 4, 1959: 5-4 (Winner: Montreal)

Montreal wins 4–2.

Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

  • March 24, 1959: 5-1 (Winner: Boston)
  • March 26, 1959: 4-2 (Winner: Boston)
  • March 28, 1959: 3-2 Overtime (Winner: Toronto)
  • March 31, 1959: 3-2 Overtime (Winner: Toronto)
  • April 2, 1959: 4-1 (Winner: Toronto)
  • April 4, 1959: 5-4 (Winner: Boston)
  • April 7, 1959: 3-2 (Winner: Toronto)

Toronto wins 4–3.

Stanley Cup Final[]

Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

  • April 9, 1959: 5-3 (Winner: Montreal)
  • April 11, 1959: 3-1 (Winner: Montreal)
  • April 14, 1959: 3-2 Overtime (Winner: Toronto)
  • April 16, 1959: 3-2 (Winner: Montreal)
  • April 18, 1959: 5-3 (Winner: Montreal)

Montreal wins 4–1.


1958–59 NHL awards
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Regular season champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer)
Dickie Moore, Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Ralph Backstrom, Montreal Canadiens
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Andy Bathgate, New York Rangers
James Norris Memorial Trophy:
(Best defenceman)
Tom Johnson, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Alex Delvecchio, Detroit Red Wings
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender of team with the best goals-against average)
Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens

All-Star teams[]

First team   Position   Second team
Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens G Terry Sawchuk, Detroit Red Wings
Tom Johnson, Montreal Canadiens D Marcel Pronovost, Detroit Red Wings
Bill Gadsby, New York Rangers D Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens C Henri Richard, Montreal Canadiens
Andy Bathgate, New York Rangers RW Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Dickie Moore, Montreal Canadiens LW Alex Delvecchio, Detroit Red Wings

Player Statistics[]

Scoring leaders[]

(Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes)

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Dickie Moore Montreal Canadiens 70 41 55 96 61
Jean Beliveau Montreal Canadiens 64 45 46 91 67
Andy Bathgate New York Rangers 70 40 48 88 48
Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings 70 32 46 78 57
Ed Litzenberger Chicago Black Hawks 70 33 44 77 37
Bernie Geoffrion Montreal Canadiens 59 22 44 66 30
George "Red" Sullivan New York Rangers 70 21 42 63 56
Andy Hebenton New York Rangers 70 33 29 62 8
Don McKenney Boston Bruins 70 32 30 62 20
Tod Sloan Chicago Black Hawks 59 27 35 62 79

Leading goaltenders[]

(Note: GP = Games played; Min – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts)

Player Team GP MIN GA GAA W L T SO
Jacques Plante Montreal Canadiens 67 4000 144 2.15 38 16 13 9
Johnny Bower Toronto Maple Leafs 39 2340 107 2.74 15 17 7 3
Glenn Hall Chicago Black Hawks 70 4200 208 2.97 28 29 13 1
Lorne Worsley New York Rangers 67 4001 199 2.97 26 30 11 2
Ed Chadwick Toronto Maple Leafs 31 1860 92 2.97 12 15 4 3
Terry Sawchuk Detroit Red Wings 67 4020 202 3.01 23 36 8 5
Don Simmons Boston Bruins 58 3480 183 3.16 24 26 8 3


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1958–59:

  • Stan Mikita, Chicago Black Hawks
  • John McKenzie, Chicago Black Hawks
  • Bill Hicke, Montreal Canadiens
  • Eddie Shack, New York Rangers

Last Games[]

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1958–59 (listed with their last team):

  • Earl Reibel, Boston Bruins
  • Real Chevrefils, Boston Bruins
  • Danny Lewicki, Chicago Black Hawks
  • Gus Mortson, Detroit Red Wings
  • Kenny Mosdell, Montreal Canadiens (Last active from the New York Americans/ Brooklyn Americans and last player from the pre-Original Six era.)
  • Wally Hergesheimer, New York Rangers