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“Except for victory, we all did it”

This article was originally published in August 2012.

this New York Rangers Experienced one of the longest championship droughts in sports history, because they have not won the Stanley Cup in 54 years. Although the Stanley Cup finally came to New York in 1994, the years between 1940 and 1994 did not lack great moments and seasons.

One of those memorable seasons was the 1971-72 season.

1971-72 Rise of the Rangers

The previous year, the Rangers established themselves as one of the best teams in hockey. Eddie Jacomin Sharing the Vezina trophy with Giles Villemoore, the Rangers won their first playoff series in 21 years.

After falling behind 3-2 in the semifinals against the Chicago Blackhawks, Pete Stankowski scored in three overtimes in Game 6 to tie the series. However, the Blackhawks won their 7th game in Chicago and advanced to the Stanley Cup final.

Gillesville Moore
Giles Villemoore (THW Archive)

The Rangers’ goal is to win the 1971-72 season.In addition to the duo of Jacoming and Villemoore, their defense also titled the Hall of Fame Blue Line Brad Parker. But the true strength of the Blue Shirts lies in their offense.

Vic Hadfield trio, Jean LataireRod Gilbert is the best lineup in the Wanderers’ 86-year history. They are nicknamed “GAG line‘, on behalf of a single goal line. In 1971-72, this line lived up to its nickname.

1971-72 Rangers as a strong offensive team

Jean Lataire New York Rangers
Jean Lataire, New York Rangers (THW Archives)

Hadfield, Rattle and Gilbert became the first teammates in NHL history to score 40 goals in a single season. Hadfield became the first Ranger to score 50 goals in a single season. He scored two goals in the final game of the regular season. Gilbert is the Rangers’ historical leader in goals and scoring. He spent a year of his career. He finished with a career-high 43 goals and 97 points. But Rattle is the pace of the trio.

In just 63 games, Ratler scored 46 goals, contributed 63 assists, and set a single-season scoring record for the Rangers with 109 points (this record has been maintained until Jaromir Jagr got 123 points In the 2005-06 season). As good as the GAG ​​series, they are not the only offensive method for Broadway Blueshirts.

The Rangers scored 317 goals in 78 games in the 1971-72 season (4.06 goals per game), and the seven players on the roster scored at least 20 goals. In addition to the top line, two thirds of the “bulldog line” scored twenty goals. Center Walt Tkaczuk scored 24 goals and scored 66 points, and Bill Fairbairn scored 22 goals. Park Geun-hye also had a breakthrough season. He scored 24 goals and the blue line totaled 73 points.

Superstar in the crease

Ed Jacoming New York Rangers
Ed Giacomin, New York Rangers (THW file)

The Rangers dominate the two ends of the ice. Jacoming participated in 44 games and won 24 of them. Villemoore also won 24 games, averaging 2.09 goals per game. Under the leadership of head coach Emile Francis, the Rangers lead with a score of 48-17-13, enough to rank second in the NHL. However, the Rangers did not make the full playoffs.

At the end of the season, Rattle broke his ankle after being shot by his teammate Dale Rolf. (From’Lundqvist is not alone: ​​the injury that changed the history of the Rangers,’ New York Post, 02/07/2015) Injuries derailed Rattle’s brilliant season and forced him to miss the past 15 regular season games.

Despite losing their top scorer, the Rangers advanced through the first two rounds of the playoffs. They eliminated the defending Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens in six games in the first round, and then swept the Blackhawks in the rematch of last season’s semi-final series.

Rangers enter the 1971-72 finals

In the finals, the Rangers’ opponents were Bobby Orr and the Big Bad Bear, The only team with more regular season points than the Rangers. Rattle participated in the series, but even he later admitted that the recovery was hasty.The Rangers lost the first two games in Boston and then separated the two games At Madison Square Garden.

Bobby Ol
Bobby Ol. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studio/Getty Images)

The Rangers trailed three to one and won the fifth game in Boston. The Rangers trailed 2-1 after two quarters, but right-wing winger Bobby Rousseau scored twice in the third quarter, giving the Blues a victory.

However, Orr took over the sixth game at Madison Square Garden. The Bruins defender scored the first goal of the game and assisted Wayne Cashman for the first of two goals. For Gerry Cheevers, the offense was more than enough. He finished the game in a 3-0 Bruins victory.

Closed window of opportunity

Taking into account the core players of the team, the 1971-72 season is the best chance for the Rangers to win. The team reached the semifinals in the next two seasons, but was eliminated by the Blackhawks in the 1972-73 season and the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1973-74 season.

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Although the Rangers did a lot of great things in the 1971-72 season, they still failed to bring the Cup to New York. “With let, we could have beaten them, but without him, Orr proved too much,” Francis said. “It’s a shame. We did it all except winning.”



The THW archive contains more than 40,000 posts about hockey. Our goal is to share with you some of the treasures we have released over the years.


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