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1981 Stanley Cup playoffs

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1981 Stanley Cup playoffs

1980–81 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Duration October 9, 1980 – May 21, 1981
Number of games 80
Number of teams 21
Regular season
Season champions New York Islanders
Season MVP Wayne Gretzky, (Edmonton)
Top scorer Wayne Gretzky, (Edmonton)
Playoffs
Playoffs MVP Butch Goring, (NY Islanders)
Stanley Cup
Stanley Cup champions New York Islanders
  Runners-up Minnesota North Stars
NHL seasons

The 1980–81 NHL season was the 64th season of the National Hockey League. This was the first season that the Calgary Flames played in Calgary, Alberta. Previously, they were the Atlanta Flames and played in Atlanta, Georgia. The most notable individual performers were Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers, who broke Bobby Orr's single season assist record and Phil Esposito's point mark for a new record of 164 points, winning his second of an unmatched eight straight Hart Trophies as the league's most valuable player, as well as Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders, who became only the second man in NHL history to score 50 goals in his first 50 games. Bossy did it with a flair at his home rink, as he only had 48 goals going into the 3rd and final period (before the advent of overtime games). Bossy admitted being so embarrassed and upset that he contemplated not going out on the ice for the final period. However, Bossy got his 49th goal with 5:15 left to go in the game and the 50th with 1:50 remaining, sending the Nassau Coliseum into a delirium. Maurice Richard, the only other man to accomplish this feat, was on hand to congratulate Bossy.

The New York Islanders finished as regular season champions with 110 points with the St. Louis Blues finishing a close second at 107 points.

The Stanley Cup playoffs would see the New York Islanders dominate on their way to winning their second consecutive Stanley Cup. Notably, in the first round against the Maple Leafs, the Isles swept a 3 game series, outscoring Toronto 20-4. The Islanders would go on to defeat Edmonton in 6 games in the quarter-finals, and in the semi-finals, the Islanders swept the Rangers and outscored them 22-8. The Islanders easily defeated the Minnesota North Stars in the finals in five games. The Islanders would only be defeated three times during the playoffs.

Regular season

Final standings

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Note: Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold

Prince of Wales Conference

Adams Division
  GP W L T GF GA PIM PTS
Buffalo Sabres 80 39 20 21 327 250 1194 99
Boston Bruins 80 37 30 13 316 272 1836 87
Minnesota North Stars 80 35 28 17 291 263 1624 87
Quebec Nordiques 80 30 32 18 314 318 1524 78
Toronto Maple Leafs 80 28 37 15 322 367 1830 71
[1]
Norris Division
GP W L T GF GA Pts
Montreal Canadiens 80 45 22 13 332 232 103
Los Angeles Kings 80 43 24 13 337 290 99
Pittsburgh Penguins 80 30 37 13 302 345 73
Hartford Whalers 80 21 41 18 292 372 60
Detroit Red Wings 80 19 43 18 252 339 56
[1]

Clarence Campbell Conference

Patrick Division
  GP W L T GF GA PTS
New York Islanders 80 48 18 14 355 260 110
Philadelphia Flyers 80 41 24 15 313 249 97
Calgary Flames 80 39 27 14 329 298 92
New York Rangers 80 30 36 14 312 317 74
Washington Capitals 80 26 36 18 286 317 70
[1]
Smythe Division
GP W L T GF GA PTS
St. Louis Blues 80 45 18 17 352 281 107
Chicago Black Hawks 80 31 33 16 304 315 78
Vancouver Canucks 80 28 32 20 289 301 76
Edmonton Oilers 80 29 35 16 328 327 74
Colorado Rockies 80 22 45 13 258 344 57
Winnipeg Jets 80 9 57 14 246 400 32
[1]

Playoffs

In game one of the Edmonton-Montreal series, Wayne Gretzky had five assists. This was a single game playoff record.[2] Another distinction was in the Minnesota North Stars' sweep of the Boston Bruins; the two games the North Stars won in Boston Garden were the first games the team had won in Boston, either regular season or playoff, since the team had joined the NHL in 1967.

Playoff bracket

  Preliminary Round Quarter-finals Semi-finals Stanley Cup Final
                                         
1  New York Islanders 3  
16  Toronto Maple Leafs 0  
  1  New York Islanders 4  
 
  14  Edmonton Oilers 2  
2  St. Louis Blues 3
15  Pittsburgh Penguins 2  
  1  New York Islanders 4  
  13  New York Rangers 0  
3  Montreal Canadiens 0  
14  Edmonton Oilers 3  
  2  St. Louis Blues 2
 
  13  New York Rangers 4  
4  Los Angeles Kings 1
13  New York Rangers 3  
  1  New York Islanders 4
(Pairings are re-seeded after the first and second rounds.)
  9  Minn. North Stars 1
5  Buffalo Sabres 3  
12  Vancouver Canucks 0  
  5  Buffalo Sabres 1
 
  9  Minn. North Stars 4  
6  Philadelphia Flyers 3
11  Quebec Nordiques 2  
  7  Calgary Flames 2
  9  Minn. North Stars 4  
7  Calgary Flames 3  
10  Chicago Black Hawks 0  
  6  Philadelphia Flyers 3
 
  7  Calgary Flames 4  
8  Boston Bruins 0
9  Minn. North Stars 3  

Preliminary Round

(1) New York Islanders vs. (16) Toronto Maple Leafs

The New York Islanders, the defending 1980 Stanley Cup champions, entered the playoffs as the regular season, Campbell conference, and Patrick division champions, earning 110 points. The Toronto Maple Leafs earned 71 points during the regular season to finish sixteenth overall in the league. This was the second playoff series between these two teams, with the only previous meeting being the 1978 Quarter-finals, where Toronto defeated the Islanders in seven games. The Islanders won three of the four games in this year’s season series.

Toronto would be swept in the opening round of the playoffs for the second consecutive year. New York’s series clinching win in Game three was the first (and to date only) time that the Islanders have won a playoff game in Toronto, this was also only the second (and to date, last) victory that a road team has ever earned in the three series between these two franchises. As of May 2013 this series marks the only time that the Islanders have defeated Toronto in the Stanley Cup playoffs. In Game one the Islanders would score three times on the power play and Bryan Trottier would score twice and add three assists in a decisive 9-2 victory. The Islanders dominance of the Maple Leafs would continue in Game two as Bryan Trottier would continue his torrid scoring pace from Game one by recording a hat trick in a 5-1 Islanders win. The Islanders would jump all over the Maple Leafs quickly in Game three by jumping out to a 5-0 lead after the first period. The Maple Leafs and Islanders would trade goals in the second period 19 seconds apart. Game three would end in a series clinching 6-1 Islanders victory.


New York won series 3 - 0


(2) St. Louis Blues vs. (15) Pittsburgh Penguins

The St. Louis Blues entered the playoffs as the Smythe division champions, earning 107 points. The Pittsburgh Penguins earned 73 points during the regular season to finish fifteenth overall in the league. This was the third and most recent series between these two teams, with the most recent meeting occurring in the 1975 Preliminary round, where Pittsburgh defeated St. Louis in two games. The teams split this year’s four game series.

In Game one of the series Pittsburgh would strike quickly thanks to a Greg Malone goal at 0:15 of the first period. However, the Blues would recover by the end of the second period and take a 3-2 lead into the final period, which they would hold on to, winning the game 4-2. Game two would prove to be a different story as the Penguins would explode offensively and score four times in the second period to erase a 1-0 first period deficit. The Blues and Penguins would trade goals in the third period giving Pittsburgh a 6-4 victory that tied the series at a game apiece. Game three would go back and forth with both teams trading goals all game long until Bernie Federko scored his second goal of the game with 4:06 left to play in the third period. The Blues would win the game 5-4 and retake home ice advantage in the best of five series. The Penguins would avoid elimination in Game four as Randy Carlyle and Mike Bullard would both post three points in the game, helping the Penguins to a 6-3 win. Game five was another tight contest and for the first time in the series regulation time was not enough to determine a winner as the game was tied 3-3 going into overtime. The game and series would end on Mike Crombeen's second goal of the series which was scored at 5:16 of the second overtime period giving St. Louis a 4-3 double overtime win and a 3-2 series victory.[3]


St. Louis won series 3 - 2


(3) Montreal Canadiens vs. (14) Edmonton Oilers

The Montreal Canadiens entered the playoffs as the Wales conference and Norris division champions, earning 103 points. The Edmonton Oilers earned 74 points during the regular season and finished fourteenth overall, losing the tiebreaker with the New York Rangers in wins (30 to 29). This was the first and as of 2013 the only playoff series between these two teams. The teams split this year’s four game series.

The Oilers would record their first series sweep in franchise history and their first playoff series victory since joining the NHL in 1979. The Oilers were led by to a 6-3 victory in Game one in large part due to Wayne Gretzky’s five assist night. At the time this was a new playoff record for assists by a single player in one game. Edmonton would go on to win Game two thanks to a Risto Siltanen power play goal at 4:43 of the second period that gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish, eventually winning the game by a score of 3-1. Edmonton would complete the sweep of the heavily favoured Canadiens in Game three defeating Montreal 6-2. Gretzky would lead all scorers in the three game series finishing with 11 points (3G, 8A).


Edmonton won series 3 - 0


(4) Los Angeles Kings vs. (13) New York Rangers

The Los Angeles Kings entered the playoffs as the fourth overall seed in the league with 99 points, winning the tiebreaker with the Buffalo Sabres in wins (43 to 39). The New York Rangers earned 74 points during the regular season and finished thirteenth overall, winning the tiebreaker with the Edmonton Oilers in wins (30 to 29). This was the second and as of May 2013 the most recent playoff series between these two teams, with the only previous meeting being the 1979 Preliminary round, where New York defeated Los Angeles in two games. The Kings won three of the four games in this year’s season series.

The Rangers would win Game one in large part due to the impressive goaltending performance of Steve Baker as he turned away 31 of the Kings 32 shots. Game two would be marked by a brawl at the end of the first period; six players were ejected from the game as result of this. The Kings would win Game two 5-4 on the strength of a Dean Hopkins goal at 17:16 of the third period. Game three would be dominated by the Rangers as eight different players would score in the game for New York, as the Rangers won 10-3 on home ice. Game four was tied 3-3 going into the third period. The score would remain tied until Tom Laidlaw’s goal at 6:44 which gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead. The Rangers would add two more goals in the third period earning a series clinching 6-3 victory. Ranger forwards Ron Duguay and Ulf Nilsson would both score a goal in every game of this series.


New York won series 3 - 1


(5) Buffalo Sabres vs. (12) Vancouver Canucks

The Buffalo Sabres entered the playoffs as the Adams division champions, earning 99 points. The Vancouver Canucks earned 76 points during the regular season and finished twelfth overall in the league. This was the second and as of June 2013 the most recent playoff series between these two teams, with the only previous meeting being the 1980 Preliminary round, where Buffalo defeated Vancouver in four games. The teams split this year’s four game series.

The Sabres would sweep Vancouver in three games, eliminating the Canucks in the preliminary round for the second consecutive season. Buffalo would force Game one to overtime due to a goal by Andre Savard with 1:08 left in the third period. Rookie centre Alan Haworth would score the game winning goal for Buffalo five minutes into overtime. The Sabres would score three times on the power play in Game two, winning the game 5-2. Vancouver would attempt to mount a comeback from a 4-1 deficit in the third period of Game three before Buffalo’s Tony McKegney scored his second goal of the game, giving the Sabres a 5-3 lead. Buffalo would hang on to their 5-3 lead and clinch the series with a Game three victory.


Buffalo won series 3 - 0


(6) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (11) Quebec Nordiques

The Philadelphia Flyers entered the playoffs as the sixth seed in the league with 97 points. The Quebec Nordiques earned 78 points during the regular season and finished eleventh overall, losing the tiebreaker with the Chicago Black Hawks in wins (31 to 30). This was the first playoff series between these two teams. Quebec won the season series earning five of eight points in this year’s four game season series. This series would also mark the first appearance of a team representing Quebec City in the Stanley Cup playoffs in 68 years. The most recent team to represent Quebec City prior to this was the Quebec Bulldogs who won the Stanley Cup in 1913, this would become the Bulldogs final playoff appearance.[4]

The home team would win every game of this series. Bill Barber and Ken Linseman would score five points each in the first two games of the series. The Flyers would win both games in Philadelphia taking a 2-0 series lead. Game three would be a battle of goaltenders as the game would remain scoreless until 9:48 of the third period when Michel Goulet scored the eventual game winning goal, Quebec would win Game three 2-0. Philadelphia would take a 3-1 lead into the third period in Game four however the Nordiques would make a comeback tying the game in the third period. Quebec completed the comeback 37 seconds into overtime as Dale Hunter would score the game winning goal. Ken Linseman would again be a story in this series as his three points in the third period of Game five would ensure a Philadelphia series clinching victory by a score of 5-2.


Philadelphia won series 3 - 2


(7) Calgary Flames vs. (10) Chicago Black Hawks

The Calgary Flames entered the playoffs as the seventh seed in the league with 92 points. The Chicago Black Hawks earned 78 points during the regular season and finished tenth overall, winning the tiebreaker with the Quebec Nordiques in wins (31 to 30). This was the first playoff series between these two teams. Chicago won the season series earning five of eight points in this year’s four game season series. This series would also mark the first appearance of a team representing Calgary in the Stanley Cup playoffs in 56 years. The most recent team to represent Calgary prior to this was the Calgary Tigers who lost the WCHL Final in 1925.

The Flames would record their first sweep and their first playoff series victory in franchise history. In Game one Calgary’s Kent Nilsson recorded a point on every Calgary goal, helping the Flames to a 4-3 win. Calgary would score three times in the third period of Game two and win the game decisively by a score of 6-2. The Black Hawks would heavily out shoot the Flames in Game three; Rejean Lemelin would record 61 saves for the Flames. Chicago would tie the game up on a Darryl Sutter goal with 43 seconds left in the third period. However the Black Hawks would come up short in double overtime as Willi Plett would score the series clinching goal for the Flames at 15:17.[3]


Calgary won series 3 - 0


(8) Boston Bruins vs. (9) Minnesota North Stars

The Boston Bruins entered the playoffs as the eighth seed in the league with 87 points, winning the tiebreaker with the Minnesota North Stars in wins (37 to 35). The Minnesota North Stars earned 87 points during the regular season and finished ninth overall, losing the tiebreaker with the Boston Bruins in wins (37 to 35). This was the first and as of 2013 the only series between these two teams.

The North Stars would sweep the Bruins in three games. Minnesota would win Game one in overtime due to Steve Payne’s hat trick goal at 3:34.[3] The North Stars win in Game one would be the first ever victory for the franchise in the Boston Garden (they went winless in their first 35 games in Boston). In Game two Boston’s Brad Park and Minnesota’s Dino Ciccarelli would both score four points in a high scoring 9-6 Minnesota victory. The North Stars would score four times in the first period of Game three and they would not relinquish the lead, eliminating the Bruins with a 6-3 win.


Minnesota won series 3 - 0


Quarter-finals

(1) New York Islanders vs. (14) Edmonton Oilers

This was the first playoff series between these two teams. The Islanders won the season series earning six of eight points in this year’s four game season series.

The Islanders eliminated the Oilers in six games; the Islanders also scored a power play goal in every game of this series. The Islanders special teams would dominate Game one as New York scored three times on the power play and added a shorthanded goal in an 8-2 Islanders win. Denis Potvin’s hat trick and five point night in Game two lead the Islanders to a 6-3 victory. Wayne Gretzky would score his second hat trick of the playoffs in Game three as the Oilers won the game by a score of 5-2. The Islanders would win Game four in overtime as Ken Morrow would score at 5:41 to give New York a 5-4 win. Edmonton would win Game five 4-3, the Oilers victory would mark the only time in the 1981 Stanley Cup playoffs that the Islanders would lose a game on home ice. Bob Nystrom’s third goal of the playoffs in Game six would become the eventual series clinching goal for the Islanders as New York won the game 5-2.


New York won series 4 - 2


(2) St. Louis Blues vs. (13) New York Rangers

New York Rangers won series 4 - 2


(5) Buffalo Sabres vs. (9) Minnesota North Stars

Minnesota North Stars won series 4 - 1


(6) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (7) Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames won series 4 - 3


Semi-finals

(1) New York Islanders vs. (13) New York Rangers

New York Islanders won series 4-0


(7) Calgary Flames vs. (9) Minnesota North Stars

Minnesota North Stars won series 4-2


Stanley Cup Finals

New York Islanders vs. Minnesota North Stars

New York Islanders won series 4 - 1


Awards

1981 NHL awards
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Wales Conference regular season champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:
(Campbell Conference regular season champion)
New York Islanders
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer, regular season)
Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:
(Perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication)
Blake Dunlop, St. Louis Blues
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Top first-year player)
Peter Stastny, Quebec Nordiques
Conn Smythe Trophy:
(Most valuable player, playoffs)
Butch Goring, New York Islanders
Frank J. Selke Trophy:
(Top defensive forward)
Bob Gainey, Montreal Canadiens
Hart Memorial Trophy:
(Most valuable player, regular season)
Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
Jack Adams Award:
(Best coach)
Gordon "Red" Berenson, St. Louis Blues
James Norris Memorial Trophy:
(Best defenceman)
Randy Carlyle, Pittsburgh Penguins
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Rick Kehoe, Pittsburgh Penguins
Lester B. Pearson Award:
(Outstanding player, regular season)
Mike Liut, St. Louis Blues
NHL Plus/Minus Award:
(Player with best plus/minus record)
Brian Engblom, Montreal Canadiens
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender(s) of team(s) with best goaltending record)
Denis Herron, Michel Larocque, & Richard Sevigny, Montreal Canadiens
Lester Patrick Trophy:
(Service to hockey in the U.S.)
Charles M. Schulz

All-Star teams

First Team   Position   Second Team
Mike Liut, St. Louis Blues G Mario Lessard, Los Angeles Kings
Denis Potvin, New York Islanders D Larry Robinson, Montreal Canadiens
Randy Carlyle, Pittsburgh Penguins D Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins
Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers C Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles Kings
Mike Bossy, New York Islanders RW Dave Taylor, Los Angeles Kings
Charlie Simmer, Los Angeles Kings LW Bill Barber, Philadelphia Flyers

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers 80 55 109 164 28
Marcel Dionne Los Angeles Kings 80 58 77 135 70
Kent Nilsson Calgary Flames 80 49 82 131 26
Mike Bossy New York Islanders 79 68 51 119 32
Dave Taylor Los Angeles Kings 72 47 65 112 130
Peter Stastny Quebec Nordiques 77 39 70 109 37
Charlie Simmer Los Angeles Kings 65 56 49 105 62
Mike Rogers Hartford Whalers 80 40 65 105 32
Bernie Federko St. Louis Blues 78 31 73 104 47
Jacques Richard Quebec Nordiques 78 52 51 103 39
Rick Middleton Boston Bruins 80 44 59 103 16
Bryan Trottier New York Islanders 73 31 72 103 74

Source: NHL.[5]

Leading goaltenders

Player Team GP MIN GA SO GAA
Richard Sevigny Montreal 33 1777 71 2 2.40
Rick St. Croix Philadelphia 27 1567 65 2 2.49
Don Edwards Buffalo 45 2700 133 3 2.96
Pete Peeters Philadelphia 40 2333 115 2 2.96
Bob Sauve Buffalo 35 2100 111 2 3.17
Don Beaupre Minnesota 44 2585 138 0 3.20
Glenn Resch New York Islanders/Colorado 40 2266 121 3 3.20
Reggie Lemelin Calgary 29 1629 88 2 3.24
Gilles Meloche Minnesota 38 2215 120 2 3.25
Mario Lessard Los Angeles 64 3746 203 2 3.25

[6]

Milestones

Debuts

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1980–81 (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 1980–81 (listed with their last team):

1981 Trading Deadline

  • Trading Deadline: MARCH 10, 1981 [7]
  • March 8, 1981: Doug Halward traded from Los Angeles to Vancouver for Vancouver's fifth round choice in 1982 Entry Draft.
  • March 10, 1981: Bill Baker traded from Montreal to Colorado for Colorado's third round choice in 1983 Entry Draft.
  • March 10, 1981: Ken Berry and Garry Lariviere traded from Vancouver to Edmonton for Blair MacDonald and Lars-Gunnar Petersson.
  • March 10, 1981: Pat Hughes traded from Pittsburgh to Edmonton for Pat Price.
  • March 10, 1981: Jari Kaarela and Mike McEwen traded from Colorado to NY Islanders for Glenn Resch and Steve Tambellini.
  • March 10, 1981: Michel Larocque traded from Montreal to Toronto for Robert Picard.
  • March 10, 1981: Don Luce traded from Buffalo to Los Angeles for Los Angeles' sixth round choice in 1982 Entry Draft.
  • March 10, 1981: Ray Markham traded from NY Rangers to Edmonton for John Hughes.
  • March 10, 1981: Mario Marois traded from Vancouver to Quebec for Garry Lariviere.
  • March 10, 1981: Rick Martin traded from Buffalo to Los Angeles for Los Angeles' third round choice in 1981 Entry Draft and Los Angeles' first round choice in 1983 Entry Draft (Tom Barrasso).
  • March 10, 1981: Jim Rutherford traded from Toronto to Los Angeles for Los Angeles' fifth round choice in 1981 Entry Draft.
  • March 10, 1981: Garry Unger traded from Los Angeles to Edmonton for Edmonton's seventh round choice in 1981 Entry Draft.
  • March 10, 1981: Ron Zanussi and Minnesota's third round choice in 1981 Entry Draft traded from Minnesota to Toronto for Toronto's second round choice in 1981 Entry Draft.

See also

References

Notes

External links

  • Hockey Database
  • NHL.com
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