1958-59 NHL Regular Season Standings
|Toronto Maple Leafs||70||27||32||11||65||189||201|
|New York Rangers||70||26||32||12||64||201||217|
|Detroit Red Wings||70||25||37||8||58||167||218|
1958-59 National Hockey League Season
The Montreal Canadiens dominated and won their fourth of five consecutive Stanley Cup championships in 1958-59. Their opponent in the finals definitely beat the odds. The Toronto Maple Leafs finished fourth, 26 points behind the Habs and just a point up on the New York Rangers for the final playoff spot. Toronto upset the second place Boston Bruins to earn their spot in the finals.
Rewriting the record books was Dickie Moore of the Canadiens. Moore totaled 96 points on 41 goals and 55 assists while appearing in all of Montreal’s 70 regular season games. The point total was one more than Gordie Howe’s previous record of 95. Moore was honoured with the Art Ross Trophy and a spot on the First All-Star Team. See this great article: The Evolution of the NHL Scoring Record.
It wasn’t Moore that would take home the Hart Trophy. That honour went to Andy Bathgate of the New York Rangers. Bathgate finished the year with 40 goals and 48 assists and was named a First Team All-Star at right wing. All this, despite the Rangers not reaching the post season.
The Vezina Trophy went to Jacques Plante of Montreal. Plante, also a First Team All-Star, played in 67 of Montreal’s 70 regular season games, posting a 2.15 goals against average and shutting out opponents nine times. Johnny Bower of the Toronto Maple Leafs had the next lowest GAA at 2.74 and he played in just 39 games.
Glenn Hall of the Chicago Blackhawks was the only goalie in the National Hockey League to play in all 70 games in 1958-59. It was his fourth of seven straight seasons playing in all 70 games, a feat unthinkable in today’s NHL. Despite this, he was left off the All-Star teams with Plante taking First Team honours and Terry Sawchuk placed on the Second Team.
Sawchuk’s placement on any All-Star team in 1958-59 seems a bit fishy with lesser numbers than Hall and while playing on a Detroit Red Wings team that finished dead last. In fact, the last place Red Wings dominated the Second Team with four of six players: Sawchuk, Marcel Pronovost, Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio.
Meanwhile, Toronto and Chicago, two teams that reached the post season, were completely shut out when it came to all-star selections. The fifth place New York Rangers had the two other players on the First Team: Andy Bathgate and Bill Gadsby.
Stan Mikita played his first three National Hockey League games with the Chicago Blackhawks while still a junior with the St. Catherines Teepees. Mikita is the only member of the Hockey Hall of Fame to make his NHL debut in 1958-59. Other significant players to appear in their first games include John McKenzie and Eddie Shack.