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The 1971 Stanley Cup Final NHL championship series was contested by the Chicago Black Hawks and the Montreal Canadiens. The Black Hawks made their first appearance in the final series since 1965, the Canadiens had last played and won the series in 1969. The Canadiens would win the series 4–3.
1971 Stanley Cup Finals Wikipedia
The playoff system changed this year to allow cross-over between the divisions during the playoffs.
Chicago defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4–0 and the New York Rangers 4–3 to advance to the final.
Montreal defeated the defending champion Boston Bruins 4–3 and the Minnesota North Stars 4–2. This set up the first "Original Six" finals since the 1967 final.
Brothers Frank and Peter Mahovlich starred for the Canadiens, scoring nine goals in the seven game final series. Ken Dryden debuted for the Canadiens, while this was Jean Beliveau's last finals appearance. He ended his career with ten championships. This would be only the second time that the road team would win a game 7 in finals history. The only previous time it happened was when the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2–1 in game 7 in the 1945 Stanley Cup Finals in Detroit. Montreal also won the series despite losing the first two games on the road; neither of these feats would happen again until 2009, when the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Red Wings in game 7 by the same 2–1 score after losing the first to games to the Red Wings. The next 7-game Stanley Cup Finals would not occur until the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals with the Edmonton Oilers and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Montreal wins the series 4–3.
Both clubs would suffer public controversies regarding coaching performances, specifically accusations of mishandling star players during the series.
Chicago head coach Billy Reay would be attacked in the media by Hawks star forward Bobby Hull for his excessive employment of two little used offensemen, Lou Angotti and Eric Nesterenko, as well as the injured defenseman Keith Magnuson in game seven. With a 2–0 Blackhawks lead, both Hull and Hawks star center Stan Mikita were left on the bench for extended periods in favor of Angotti and Nesterenko, including two four-on-four situations. The wide open matchup should have favored the frustrated Hull, who had been successfully shadowed in the series by Canadiens rookie Rejean Houle. The first two Canadien goals were tallied with the two backliners on the ice and the hobbled Magnuson was beaten one on one by speedy Montreal center Henri Richard for the ultimate game winner.
The Canadiens suffered their own coaching controversy earlier in the series when head coach Al MacNeil benched alternate captain Henri Richard in game five. Following the 0–2 loss, Richard ripped MacNeil in the media calling him incompetent and "the worst coach I ever played for." Accusation of favoring English-speaking players plagued MacNeil and turned the public against him. Following death threats, MacNeil and his family were assigned body guards for the final home game in Montreal. Even the eventual series victory wouldn't be enough to save MacNeil's job. He was replaced as head coach by Scotty Bowman soon after the finals.†Serge Savard played 37 regular season games, but missed the rest of season injured. †Phil Myre played 30 games, dressed for 70 games, but was not dressed in the playoffs. Both players were included in the team picture. They were not engraved on the Stanley Cup, because they did not play in the playoffs.
#8 Larry Pleau was included on the team, but did not qualify. He played only 19 regular season games played, and did not dress in the playoffs. so his name was not included on the Stanley Cup. He would get his name on the Stanley Cup as an Asst. Manager with New York Rangers in 1994.
Al MacNeil (coach) was engraved on the Stanley Cup as .COACH. MAC NEIL missing his first name "Al". MacNeil was spelled AL MACNEIL COACH on the Replica Cup. MacNeil became the first rookie coach to win the Stanley Cup as a mid-season replacement. MacNeil replaced Claude Ruel after 23 games. MacNeil was also the 11th NHL Rookie Coach to win the Stanley Cup. MacNeil only coached the last 55 regular season games for Montreal.
Phil Roberto was misspelled P ROBRTO missing an "E". Roberto's name was corrected to P. ROBERTO on the Replica Cup created during the 1992–93 season.