This season the Vegas Golden Knights have reached the Stanley Cup Final in their first season. Although there has been a lot made about their accomplishments as the National Hockey League’s latest expansion team, the 1967-1968 St. Louis Blues also made it to the Stanley Cup final in their first season.
The only caveat to this accomplishment was that the Blues were one of six expansion teams to added in the 1967-1968 season. The Blues joined the Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and California Seals as the NHL expanded from six to 12 teams. All of the six expansion teams were placed in the same division so any of the teams was guaranteed to make it to the final.
In their first NHL game, the Blues and Minnesota North Stars played to a 2-2 tie in St. Louis. Larry Keenan scored the Blues’ first goal. The Blues were originally coached by Lynn Patrick but Patrick resigned in November and was replaced by Scotty Bowman.
The Blues finished their first season with a record or 27-31-16 for third place in the West Division. They finished the season 3-1-1 to get into the playoffs. Gordon “Red” Berenson was the team’s leading scored with 22 goals in 55 games.
In the playoffs, the Blues knocked off the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games. The Blues had a 3-1 lead in the series but the Flyers routed the Blues 6-1 in Game 5 then won Game 6 in double-overtime to force a seventh game. In the seventh game, the Blues scored on Power Play goals from Frank St. Marseille and Keenan. Berenson put the game away with a goal in the third for a 3-1 win.
In the semifinals, the Blues defeated the Minnesota North Stars in seven games to advance to the Stanley Cup finals. Ron Schock had the game winner 2:50 into overtime for the Blues.
Although the Blues were swept by the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup finals, all four games were decided by one goal while two of those games went into overtime.
May 5, 1968 – Montreal 3, St. Louis 2 (ot)
May 7, 1968 – Montreal 1, St. Louis 0
May 9, 1968 – Montreal 4, St. Louis 3 (ot)
May 11, 1968 – Montreal 3, St. Louis 2
Nashville Predators’ television host, Terry Crisp (a.k.a. “Crispy”) was selected in the Blues’ expansion draft.
The Blues also made it to the Stanley Cup Finals the next two seasons but were swept by the Canadiens and Boston Bruins. They have not been to the Stanley Cup finals since then.