1970-71 NHL Regular Season Standings
|New York Rangers||78||49||18||11||109||259||177|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||78||37||33||8||82||248||211|
|Detroit Red Wings||78||22||45||11||55||209||308|
|St. Louis Blues||78||34||25||19||87||223||208|
|Minnesota North Stars||78||28||34||16||72||191||223|
|Los Angeles Kings||78||25||40||13||63||239||303|
|California Golden Seals||78||20||53||5||45||199||320|
1970-71 National Hockey League Season
1970-71 saw the National Hockey League expand from 12 to 14 teams with the addition of the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks. Buffalo picked first overall in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft and selected Gilbert Perreault. The Canucks picked second and went with defenseman Dale Tallon.
The Boston Bruins dominated the regular season with 57 wins in 78 games, one of the greatest regular season performances in NHL history. However, Boston was upset in the opening round by the Montreal Canadiens in one of the greatest disappointments in NHL history.
Montreal went on to win the Stanley Cup championship, taking out the Chicago Blackhawks in seven games. Ken Dryden was honoured with the Conn Smythe Trophy. It would not be until the 1971-72 season that Dryden would qualify as a NHL rookie and take home the Calder Trophy.
Gilbert Perreault was given the rookie of the year honours and the Calder Trophy. Playing for the expansion Sabres, Perreault set a rookie scoring mark with 38 goals. The current record is now exactly double that total with Teemu Selanne scoring 76 goals with the Winnipeg Jets in 1992-93.
Bobby Orr won the Hart Trophy for the second of three consecutive times while teammate Phil Esposito rewrote the record books. Esposito shattered Bobby Hull’s single season scoring record of 58 goals with 76. His 152 points broke his own record of 126. Bobby Orr was just 13 points behind. In fact, Boston had seven players among the top ten scorers in the National Hockey League.
The Vezina Trophy was shared by the New York Rangers goaltending duo of Eddie Giacomin and Gilles Villemure. However, it was Jacques Plante of the Toronto Maple Leafs who recorded the lowest individual goals against average with a 1.88.
1970-71 marked the end for four players that would end up in the Hockey Hall of Fame. These four include Jean Beliveau, Glenn Hall, George Armstrong and Andy Bathgate. Three future Hall of Famers began their careers in 1970-71: Gil Perreault, Ken Dryden and Darryl Sittler.
Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings became the first player to record 1,000 assists in the NHL. Howe retired after the season but returned to major league hockey in 1973-74 to play for the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association.