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Home » Featured » Top 15 NHL Teams of All Time – #1
Top 15 NHL Teams of All Time - #1

Top 15 NHL Teams of All Time – #1

This is the moment we’ve been building to. We’ve seen so many great teams, taking trips down memory lane with each of them to see what made them a special and unique champion. However, none of them compare to the champion we are going to look at today. 60 wins. 132 points. 33-1-6 home record. 9 Hall of Famers. Those are just a few things that this team accomplished and below we’ll look at even more. Some of the stats and facts we’ll throw out at you will have you rubbing your eyes in disbelief or questioning whether or not I made a typo. The #1 team in NHL history is without a doubt…..the 1976-1977 Montreal Canadiens.

 

1976-1977 Montreal Canadiens.
(Taken From: http://tinyurl.com/cbu5fzm)

The 1975-1976 season saw the Canadiens finally end the run of the Broad Street Bullies, sweeping them 4-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals. Heading into the 1976-1977 season, the Canadiens made very little changes, with the only significant change being the return of Rejean Houle from the WHA. Coach Scotty Bowman had his team ready to go from the very first game. In the first game of the regular season, the Canadiens routed the Penguins 10-1. Just 3 games later, the Canadiens traveled to Philadelphia for a rematch of the Stanley Cup Finals, and they thumped the Flyers 7-1. This team was just ruthless. Fast forwarding to October 30th, the Bruins managed to knock off the Canadiens in Montreal, ending the Canadiens 5-0 start at home. Little did people know, that would be the only time Montreal would lose on home ice that season. More of than later. At the end of October, the Canadiens were 9-3-1, and had started off pretty good. The Canadiens averaged 5.1 goals a game in the first month of the season and gave up just 2.2 goals a game. The scary part for the rest of the NHL?

The Canadiens kept us this pace for the entire season. The Canadiens ran through the month of November, going 10-1-2. The Canadiens then ramped up their level of play, if you can even imagine that, going 18-1-3 between November 17th and January 12th. In the worst “skid” of the season, the Canadiens dropped 2 of their next 3 games, bringing their record to 33-7-6 on January 17th. The Canadiens went 3-0-1 in their next 4 games to push their record to 37-7-7 at the All Star Break. What the Canadiens did post-All Star Break is the greatest post-All Star break run in the history of the NHL. The Canadiens went 24-1-5, earning 53 of a possible 60 points (88.3%) of the points possible. That post All Star break run included the Canadiens finishing the regular season on a 28-0-6 home unbeaten streak.

Remember that game back in October when the Bruins knocked off the Canadiens 4-3 in Montreal? Yea I wasn’t joking when I said that was the last time they were going to lose at home for the season. The Canadiens finished the regular season with a 33-1-6 home record (90% of points possible), the best home record in NHL history. Want to make that home record seem even more impressive? The Canadiens outscored their opponents 205-75 at home (5.1-1.9). Take a moment to think about that. We’ll wait.  Their overall record was 60-8-12, good for an NHL-record 132 points that only 1 team has even come close to (95-96 Wings, 131 points). The Canadiens won their division by a mere 49 points, their conference by 26 points, and were 1st overall by 20 points over the hated Flyers.

Individually, the Canadiens were the most impressive team in NHL history in terms of the awards they captured. Guy Lafleur finished the regular season with 56 goals and 136 points (1st in NHL). Steve Shutt scored 60 goals to lead the NHL. The third member of “The Dynasty Line”, Jacques Lemaire, scored 34 goals and 75 points. Larry Robinson scored 85 points to lead all defensemen in scoring. Ken Dryden went 41-6-8 with a 2.14 GAA and 10 shutouts. Let’s look at the hardware this team collected. Of the 6 spots on the NHL’s 1st All Star Team, 4 were occupied by Canadiens (Ken Dryden, Larry Robinson, Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt). The MVP and Art Ross went to Guy Lafleur. If the Rocket Richard existed, Steve Shutt would have won it. Ken Dryden and Michel Larocque shared the Vezina for giving up the fewest goals. Larry Robinson won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman. Scotty Bowman won the Jack Adams Award as the Coach of the Year. Finally, Lafleur also received the Lester B. Pearson award as the League’s Most Outstanding Player.

As a team, the Canadiens put up some mind boggling numbers. The Canadiens were 1st in goals for (4.84). The next closest team was almost a full goal behind (Flyers 4.04). The Canadiens also finished 1st in goals against (2.14). The Canadiens had 8 20 goal scorers, 14 10 goal scorers, and 10 players finish with 50 or more points. The Canadiens finished the year 2nd in PP% at 24.9% and 1st in PK% at 87.9%. Finally, the most impressive stat from the Canadiens was their Even Strength For/Against numbers. The Canadiens finished that season with the highest number ever for a Stanley Cup Champion, at 2.31. This team could do everything. Let’s look at their playoff run.

Continue Reading: 1976-1977 Montreal Canadiens Playoff Run
Prashanth Iyer

Prashanth Iyer

Prashanth is a third year doctor of pharmacy student at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy in Chapel Hill, NC. Prashanth is studying to be an infectious disease pharmacist, but in his spare time, he watches any hockey game he can catch. He was born and raised just outside Detroit, Michigan and hence is a big Red Wings fan. He is always willing to hear any and all debates pertaining to his articles, so feel free to contact him.
Prashanth Iyer
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12 comments
sAAp34
sAAp34

You're insane...the 2001-02 Red Wings were easily the best team ever. All the team's from the 60's, 70's, 80's are so freaking overrated. The skill level wasn't even close to what it is in the modern era. 

Tjhsn
Tjhsn

@sAAp34 Then by your logic, wouldn't the best team of all time be the 2015 Chicago Blackhawks? The skill level in the early 2000s isn't close to what it is now in 2015. So, with your logic, the best team of all time is simply the most recent team to win the title. Your logic sucks. I shouldn't be surprised though, you are a Red Wings fan after all.

bgnorthport
bgnorthport

I don't think the author if this list is very informed and was obviously too young or not born yet to watch some of these teams play.  Your #2 team, the 1984 Edmonton Oilers played in a conference with a total of three winning teams, the Oilers, Flames, and North Stars. Every other team had a losing record, which made their path to the finals a cake walk compared to the gauntlet the Wales Conference teams had to go through.  

bgnorthport
bgnorthport

Another team that belongs of this list are the Penguins from the early 90's.  They were another team that didn't put a premium on the regular season, but were loaded.  Other than the Canadians and Islanders, and possibly the Oilers, they would have killed just about any team on this list.  Like the Oilers, they could only win two Cups in a row, both were loaded on offense, were shaky on defense and were solid in net with Fuhr and Barasso.   In 1993, the one year they did try to make a statement in the regular season, and won the Presidents trophy they lost.  In most sports, the team with the best regular season record falls short, which is why your premise that only a Presidents Trophy winners can qualify is stupid.  The 1986 Oilers were probably better overall than the 1984 Oilers, but Steve Smith put a puck into his own net, and they eliminated themselves.  The 1993 Penguins were probably better than either the 91 or 92 teams, but talked trash to a depleted, inferior, Islander team and lost.  The top two teams in the post expansion era is a coin flip between the Canadians and Islanders, followed by the Oilers and Penguins.  After that there's a huge drop off.  None of the post 2004 teams are nearly as deep or as loaded with Hall of Famers playing in their primes together as those top 4

bgnorthport
bgnorthport

This list is a joke, the top two teams are the Canadians ans Islanders,  They are the only two teams on this list that won four consecutive Stanley Cups and they're the only two complete teams on the list.  The Canadians had the most dominant single season, and the Islanders has the most dominant run.  They are the only team in history to win 19 consecutive playoff series and owned the Oilers.  They beat them 10 consecutive times entering the 1984 finals. which is the only year the finals had a 2-3-2 format.  Not to mention the Oilers played in the inferior Cambell Conference. The only competition the Oilers had were the Flames, while in the Wales Conference the Canadians, Bruins, Islanders, Rangers, Flyers and Capitals beat the hell out of each other.  I also think putting a premium on the regular season record is also a joke.  Back in the era of the Canadians, Islanders and Oilers, their were only 21 teams that played in 4 divisions with 5 teams each.  The Patrick division was the only one that had 6 teams.  The regular season was essentially meaningless. As long as a team didn't finish in last place or in the bottom two in the Patrick division every team every team qualified for the playoffs. The only criteria should be playoff dominance, and in that area the Canadians and Islanders stand alone.

jb33sva
jb33sva

It's funny how the 94 Rangers and the 96 As are on your list and you mention the hall of fame players for each team which are two foe both, and yet I don't see the 2000 or 2001 devils for whom had 4 future hall players. Why do the devils get no respect or credit for their excellence, this is a team that was along with Detroit the most dominant and successful nhl teams during that time, to do something like that there had to be significantly strong rosters.

IgorBurdetskiy
IgorBurdetskiy moderator

James before you jump to a conclusion you should have realized we didn't make an omission whatsoever. If you read our guidelines in #15 you would know that we were focusing on the post original-six era. The team you mentioned was obviously during just the original six era which doesn't fall into our criteria for this list. I'm sure that team was good just as many other teams were for the Canadiens back then. HOWEVER, there wasn't much competition during the original six era to be considered even a top NHL team of all time.

James Stevenson
James Stevenson

You folks have made a glaring ommision--The 1958-59 Canadiens, in fact, the 1958-60 Canadiens, "Les Glorieux". Check their regular season as well as their playoff record. Besides, on their roster, they had  Dickie Moore, Jean Beliveau, Bernie Geoffrion, Maurice Richard, Henri Richard, Tom Johnson, Doug Harvey, and Jacques Plante--all legends and all in the Hall of Fame. What other team can make a player roster like that! Shame on you!

        Yours Regretfully,

            James Stevenson