The 1960-61 regular season was a rather mediocre one for Coach Rudy Pilous and the Chicago Blackhawks. They went 29-24-17 and finished third in the league. One of the bright spots was goaltender Glenn Hall, who played all 70 games, keeping his consecutive games streak alive. Hall had 6 shutouts that year and a goals-against-average of only 2.57.
Going into the 1961 playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens had won the Stanley Cup 5 years in a row. However, the legendary Rocket Richard had retired before that season and league scoring leader Boom-Boom Geoffrion was injured. The Blackhawks faced Montreal in the opening round of the playoffs and lost the first game, but the Hawks came back to win 4 of the next 5 games to take the series 4 games to 2. Chicago was propelled by the stellar goaltending of Glenn Hall who shut out the Habs in the final two games.
In the finals, the Hawks faced their arch-rivals, the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings had beaten the Toronto Maple Leafs in their first playoff round. The series began in Chicago and the two teams traded home wins in the first 5 games of the series. With the Hawks leading the series 3 games to 2, the series went back to Detroit. The sixth game was on April 16, 1961, in front of 14,328 fans. In that game, the Hawks once again rallied around the excellent goaltending of Glenn Hall and came away with a 5-1 victory giving them their first Stanley Cup in 23 years.
Bobby Hull and Jack Evans pose with the Stanley Cup.
Head Coach: Rudy Pilous
PLAYER GP G A PTS PIM Bill Hay 69 11 48 59 45 Bobby Hull 67 31 25 56 43 Stan Mikita 66 19 34 53 100 Murray Balfour 70 21 27 48 123 Ken Wharram 64 16 29 45 12 Ron Murphy 70 21 19 40 30 Eric Nesterenko 68 19 19 38 125 Pierre Pilote 70 6 29 35 165 Tod Sloan 67 11 23 34 48 Ab McDonald 61 17 16 33 22 Ed Litzenberger 62 10 22 32 14 Elmer Vasko 63 4 18 22 40 Dollard St. Laurent 67 2 17 19 58 Reg Fleming 66 4 4 8 145 Jack Evans 69 0 8 8 58 Earl Balfour 68 3 3 6 4 Al Arbour 53 3 2 5 40 Glenn Hall 70 0 1 1 0 Wayne Hicks 1 0 0 0 0 GOALTENDER GP GA SO GAA Glenn Hall 70 180 6 2.571961 Playoff results
March 21 at Montreal 2-6 L March 23 at Montreal 4-3 W March 26 in Chicago 2-1 W March 28 in Chicago 2-5 L April 1 at Montreal 3-0 W April 4 at Montreal 3-0 W Chicago won best-of-7 series 4-2Finals
April 6 in Chicago 3-2 W April 8 at Detroit 1-3 L April 10 in Chicago 3-1 W April 12 at Detroit 1-2 L April 14 in Chicago 6-3 W April 16 at Detroit 5-1 W Chicago won best-of-7 series 4-2
UPI newspaper story from the 4-17-1961 New York Times
Hawks Turn Back Red Wings and Win
Stanley Cup Play-Offs, 4 Games to 2
CHICAGO SKATES TO 5-TO-1 VICTORY
Hawks Score 2 Goals in 2d Period and 3 in 3d to Win First Cup in 23 Years
DETROIT, April 16 (UPI)--The Chicago Black Hawks capped one of hockey's greatest success stories tonight when they won their first Stanley Cup championship in twenty-three years by walloping the Detroit Red Wings, 5-1.
The Black Hawks, who scored two goals in the second period and three more in the third, thus polished off the Red Wings, four games to two. Earlier they had eliminated Montreal in six games in the semi-finals.
It was only the fourth time in national hockey league history that a team that had finished third in the in the regular season went on to win Lord Stanley's trophy.
The last time was in 1945 when the Toronto Maple Leafs accomplished the feat. It also was only the third time in history that the Black Hawks had won professional hockey's biggest prize.
The Red Wings dominated the play through the first period and in the early moments of the second. Parker MacDonald gave Detroit a 1-0 lead at 15:24 of the first period.
The Black Hawks battled back to take a 2-1 lead in the second period on goals by Reg Fleming and Ab McDonald. Then the roof caved in on the Red Wings in the third period as Eric Nesterenko, Jack Evans and Ken Wharram fired shots past Hank Bassen, the goalie.
It was an especially great moment for Evans, whose goal was his first in two full seasons of play.
The turning point of the game came during the seven-minute mark of the second period when a rookie, Wayne Hicks, was penalized for hooking. The Red Wings, leading by 1-0, formed a power play in the hope of getting a second goal.
Fleming crossed them up when he broke up the pattern, followed the play down to the Detroit end and stole the puck there from a defenseman, Pete Goegan. He then raced in alone on Bassen and fired over the goalie's stick into the net.
The tying goal, coming while they were short-handed, fired up the Black Hawks and they were unbeatable thereafter. Conversely, the Red Wings seemed to collapse as the second period progressed and appeared to be a defeated club when they came out for the final period.
It was the first time in five play-off games that Detroit had lost on home ice. In this series, in fact, both teams went into this game with undefeated records at home. The Hawks had taken three at Chicago and the Wings two at Olympia.
CHICAGO (5) - Goal, Hall; defense, Pilote, Vasko; center, Litzenberger; wings, Hay, Hull. Alternates: Arbour, Evans, Fleming, Sloan, Murphy, McDonald, Nesterenko, Wharram, E. Balfour, Mikita, Hicks, Hillman.
DETROIT (1) - Goal, Bassen; defense, Goegan, Godfrey; center, Delvecchio; wings, Howe, Stasiuk. Alternates: Pronovost, Young, Ullman, LaBine, Fonteyne, Melnick, Glover, MacGregor, Johnson, Odrowski, MacDonald, Lunde.
FIRST PERIOD-1, Detroit-McDonald (Delvecchio, Howe) 15:24. Penalties: Howe (7:17), Evans (11:16), Arbour (13:34). Saves: Bassen 4, Hall 7.
SECOND PERIOD-2, Chicago-Fleming (unassisted) 6:45; 3, Chicago-McDonald (Mikita, Hull) 18:49. Penalties: Goegan (1:24), Hicks (6:05), Sloan (14:17). Saves: Bassen 8, Hall 8.
THIRD PERIOD-4, Chicago-Nesterenko (Sloan, Pilote) 0:57; 5, Chicago-Evans (unassisted) 6:27; 6, Chicago-Wharram (unassisted) 18:00. Penalties: MacGregor (3:28), MacGregor (10:55), Sloan (18:23). Saves: Bassen 8, Hall 6.
Referee-Eddie Powers. Linesmen-George Hayes and Bruce Sims.
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