1st Norris Division – 3rd overall
In the playoffs …
Head Coach: Claude Ruel
Goalkeepers: Michel Larocque (4-1) and Denis Herron (2-3)
With the arrival of 4 new expansion teams for the 1979-80 season, which brought the number of teams in the National League from 17 to 21, the playoff formula undergoes a major change. The number of teams entering the playoffs increases from 12 to 16 and all teams participate in the first round (4) of the playoffs. So, complete the first round exemption for the 4 division champion teams. This 4-round formula involving all teams in the first is still in effect today. In addition, the first round goes from a series 2 of 3 to a series 3 of 5.
Would the Candians of Montreal win a fifth consecutive Stanley Cup in these new playoff parameters? All started well with the Whalers in 3 games. Despite the many retiring players at the end of the previous season (including Ken Dryden) and the coaching changes, the new Hartford team did not do much.
It was the North Stars of Minnesota that wiped out the dream of another five consecutive cup dynasty. In 7 games, the “Hockey State” team put an end to the domination of Guy Lafleur and company. A new dynasty came into being that year, that of the New York Islanders who defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in the final, champions in the overall standings and authors of a 35-game unbeaten streak.