1958–59 NHL season

The 1958–59 NHL season was the 42nd season of the National Hockey League. Six 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. This marked the fourth consecutive Stanley Cup win for the Canadiens as they became the first team to win four in a row.

1958–59 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 8, 1958 – April 18, 1959
Number of games70
Number of teams6
Regular season
Season championMontreal Canadiens
Season MVPAndy Bathgate (Rangers)
Top scorerDickie Moore (Canadiens)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsMontreal Canadiens
  Runners-upToronto Maple Leafs

Regular season

The Toronto Maple Leafs, 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 and Allan Stanley to aid Tim Horton and 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. Rudy Pilous, coach of the 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, 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, 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, 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 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 between Toronto and the Canadiens. Plante could not 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.

Final standings

National Hockey League[1]
1Montreal Canadiens70391813258158+10091
2Boston Bruins7032299205215−1073
3Chicago Black Hawks70282913197208−1169
4Toronto Maple Leafs70273211189201−1265
5New York Rangers70263212201217−1664
6Detroit Red Wings7025378167218−5158


Playoff bracket

Semifinals Stanley Cup Finals
1 Montreal 4
3 Chicago 2
1 Montreal 4
4 Toronto 1
2 Boston 3
4 Toronto 4


(1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (3) Chicago Black Hawks

Montreal won series 4–2

(2) Boston Bruins vs. (4) Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto won series 4–3

Stanley Cup Finals

Montreal won series 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 MooreMontreal Canadiens7041559661
Jean BeliveauMontreal Canadiens6445469167
Andy BathgateNew York Rangers7040488848
Gordie HoweDetroit Red Wings7032467857
Ed LitzenbergerChicago Black Hawks7033447737
Bernie GeoffrionMontreal Canadiens5922446630
George "Red" SullivanNew York Rangers7021426356
Andy HebentonNew York Rangers703329628
Don McKenneyBoston Bruins7032306220
Tod SloanChicago Black Hawks5927356279


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 PlanteMontreal Canadiens6740001442.153816139
Johnny BowerToronto Maple Leafs3923401072.74151773
Glenn HallChicago Black Hawks7042002082.972829131
Lorne WorsleyNew York Rangers6740011992.972630112
Ed ChadwickToronto Maple Leafs311860922.97121543
Terry SawchukDetroit Red Wings6740202023.01233685
Don SimmonsBoston Bruins5834801833.16242683



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

See also


  • Coleman, Charles L. (1976), Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol III, Sherbrooke, QC: Progressive Publications
  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (1994). Years of glory, 1942–1967: the National Hockey League's official book of the six-team era. Toronto, ON: McClelland and Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-2817-2.
  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Kingston, NY: Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X.
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5.
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9.
  • Duplacey, James (2008), Hockey's Book of Firsts, North Dighton, MA: JG Press, ISBN 978-1-57215-037-9
  • Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1.
  • McFarlane, Brian (1969), 50 Years Of Hockey, Winnipeg, MAN: Greywood Publishing, ASIN B000GW45S0
  • McFarlane, Brian (1973). The Story of the National Hockey League. New York, NY: Pagurian Press. ISBN 0-684-13424-1.
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