Toronto Maple Leafs Timeline:
1917/18: Led by Frank Calder the owners of the NHA decide to start their own league freezing out the Toronto Blue Shirts who won the Stanley Cup in 1914 owned by Eddie Livingstone, essential it was the same league, but without an owner the rest had resented. The new Toronto team owned by the Arena at the time had no official nickname, some called them Blue Shirts since most of their players had previously played for Toronto's NHA franchise. While deposed owner Edward Livingstone did all he could to interfere with the team and the new league. However the Torontos as some called them were one of the top teams in the new league's first season finishing tied for first place with Montreal Canadiens with a 13-9 record, benefiting from default wins against the Montreal Wanderers who were forced to withdraw after fire destroyed their arena. After beating the Canadiens for the NHL title the Toronto team faced the PCHA Champion Vancouver Millionaires for the Stanley Cup. The entire 5 game series was played in Toronto with rules alternating between East 6-man and West 7-man games. Neither team was comfortable with other style as Toronto took the series in 5 games benefiting from 3 games played with 6 men.
1918/19: To try and disassociate themselves from Edward Livingstone the "new" Toronto franchise changes its nickname officially to the Arenas. Everything released by the team from uniforms to the Stanley Cup, which they had won in the previous season. An Outraged Eddie Livingstone felt they team was still his and he brought lawsuits against the Arenas and the league. The resulting lawsuit would ruin the Arenas 2nd season as they were forced to sell off their stars, to pay for legal bills falling into last place with a terrible 5-13 record. Eventually Livingstone lost all his lawsuits as it was found that he still had his NHA team but without competition the players had the right to leave, and with the lease he signed with Charles Querrie of the Arena Gardens of Toronto the Arena owned NHL franchise had the rights to the former Blue Shirts players. However, the Arenas owners were still ruined and need to sell the franchise to a group headed by Charles L. Querrie.
1919/20: Rescued from bankruptcy Toronto's professional hockey team is renamed the St. Patricks in honor of Toronto's growing Irish Population. The new nickname gave the Toronto team a fresh start as well as a new image as they changed their colors to green and white. The fresh started helped as the St. Pats recovered from a disastrous season, filled with lawsuits and near bankruptcy to post an improved 12-12 record barely missing the playoffs.
1920/21: The St. Pats get back to the playoffs finishing the NHL regular season with the best record at 15-9. However, in the NHL finals the ST. Pats are crushed by the Ottawa Senators in a 2-game total goal series.
1921/22: After another solid 13-10-1 season the St. Patricks led by coach George O'Donoghue get revenge by beating the Ottawa Senators in a total goal series to fight for the Stanley Cup. Facing the Vancouver Millionaires in a 5-game series Mutual Street Arena, the St. Pats roll over the Vancouver Millionaires taking a the series in 5 games, overcoming 2 losses under Eastern Rules, as former Millionaire Jack Adams notched 6 goals in the series. An interesting side note; most record books and the Stanley Cup would later list the St. Pats coach as Eddie Powers, even though it was actually O'Donoghue.
1922/23: The St. Patricks never get a chance to defend their Stanley Cup Championship missing the playoffs with the same 13-10-1 record that had worked for them the year before.
1923/24: With new coach Eddie Powers behind the bench the St. Patricks suffer through a disappointing season missing the playoff for the second year in a row with a 10-14 record.
1924/25: The St. Patricks return to the playoffs finishing 2nd with a 19-11 record. However the St. Pats would be dispatched easily by the Montreal Canadiens in a total goal series. The series which was originally set to be a semi final would be the NHL final after the Hamilton Tigers refused to play after not being given money for playing extra games.
1925/26: The St. Patricks never seem to get it going finishing 6th with a terrible 12-21-3 record, in the final year the NHL shared the Stanley Cup with other leagues.
1926/27: The St. Patricks continue to struggle with instability going through 3 coaches during a terrible 15-24-5 season which season them land in last place in the NHL's Canadian Division. There was even discussion of moving the team to Philadelphia but a group of investors including Conn Smythe, bought the team and kept them in Toronto, feeling if the team moved the city's economy would collapse. Smythe would also take over as coach and GM, while changing the team's name to Maple Leafs in February. The idea for the new name came from a team Smythe had once scouted the East Toronto Maple Leafs. In addition Smythe who was a World War I veteran and a patriot also liked the name for its link to Canada.
1927/28: The restructuring under Conn Smythe continued as the Maple Leafs went back to their traditional blue and white color scheme, which they had abandoned in 1919, when they became the St. Pats. In addition Conn Smythe would take over the coaching reigns hoping to change the team's fortunes on the ice. In Smythe's first year behind the bench the team would show improvement. However their 18-18-8 record was not good enough to secure a playoff spot.
1928/29: The restructuring of the Maple Leafs begins to pay off as they make the playoffs with a 21-18-5 record. The Leafs would easily dispatch the Detroit Cougars in the first round outscoring them 7-2 in a total goal series. However, in the semifinals their season would come to an end with 2 straight 1-goal losses to the New York Rangers in a best of 3.
1929/30: The Maple Leafs would take a step backwards as they missed the playoffs by finishing 4th in the Canadian Division with a disappointing 17-21-6 record.
1930/31: Conn Smythe steps down as Coach as he becomes owner of the Maple Leafs. With replacement Art Duncan the Leafs would go on to finish with a 22-13-9 record. In the playoffs the Leafs season would end in heartbreaking fashion losing a total goal series in overtime to the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round.
1931/32: In a year that sees the opening of a brand new state of the art arena known as the Maple Leaf Gardens, Dick Irvin takes over as Coach in the middle of the season leading the Maple Leafs to the playoffs for the 2nd year in a row with a 23-18-7 record. In the playoffs the Leafs overcome a 1-0 loss in Game 1 by blowing out the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1 to win their total goal series in the first round. In the semifinals the Maple Leafs would win another total goal series in dramatic fashion beating the Montreal Maroon in overtime of Game 2 to earn trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the finals the Leafs swept the New York Rangers scoring 6 goals in each game as the Leafs Kid Line of Busher Jackson, Charlie Conacher, and Joe Primeau scored 8 goals in 3 games.
1932/33: The Maple Leafs would ride high coming off their Stanley Cup Championship taking first place in the Canadian Division with a 24-18-6 record. Getting a first round bye the Maple Leads would battle the Boston Bruins trough a hard fought 5-game series that saw 4 games go to overtime. The Leafs would end up taking the series by winning the finale 1-0 in overtime. In the finals the Leafs simply ran out of gas losing to the Rangers 3 games to 1 despite the advantage of playing all but one game at home.
1933/34: On December 12, 1933, during the second period of a Leafs' visit to Boston Garden, Eddie Shore was checked hard by Leafs defenseman King Clancy while Shore was rushing the puck into the Leafs' end. As play moved back into Boston territory, Shore, dazed by the hit and full of vengeance, skated wildly toward Bailey, thinking that he was charging Clancy. Shore used his stick to trip Bailey heavily from behind and Ace fell to the ice with a sickening thud. He lost consciousness and began bleeding from the head.
Red Horner skated over to the stricken Bailey and, seeing his teammate seriously injured, asked Shore in no uncertain terms just what he'd been thinking. Shore just smiled, prompting a furious Horner to deck him with one punch, knocking him unconscious to the ice. However, Bailey did miraculously fight off death, and in the ensuing days he grew stronger and stronger. By Christmas, his life was no longer hanging in the balance and Ace was on the road to recovery. Bailey later worked as an off-ice official at Maple Leaf Gardens almost to the day he died, on April 7, 1992. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975.
1934/35: The Maple Leafs continue to be one of hockey's premier teams as they win the Canadian Division for the 3rd year in a row with a terrific 30-14-4 record. In the semifinals the Leafs overcame a stunning Game 1 loss in overtime beating the Boston Bruins in 4 games. However, in the finals the Leafs would stunned by the Montreal Maroons who swept them in 3 straight in the first all-Canadian Cup Final since 1926.
1935/36: Despite failing to win the division the Maple Leafs make the playoffs again with a solid 23-19-6 record. In the quarterfinal total goal series the Maple Leafs overcome a 3-0 loss in Game 1 by beating the Boston Bruins 8-3 in Game 2. In the semifinals the Leafs would knock off the New York Americans in 2 games to 1 in a best of 3. However, the Leafs run would end in the finals as they are beaten by the Detroit Red Wings 3 games to 1.
1936/37: Despite struggling to a mediocre 22-21-5 record the Maple Leafs qualify for the playoffs for the 7th year in a row. However, in the first round they are bounced quickly being swept by the New York Rangers in 2 straight of a best of 3 series.
1937/38: The Maple Leafs return to the top of the Canadian Division claiming first place with a solid 24-15-9 record. The Leafs would get the finals quickly by sweeping the Boston Bruins in 3 straight. However a 1-week lay off would cool them off as are stunned by the Chicago Blackhawks who were in the finals despite a losing record 3 games to 1.
1938/39: Despite a 19-20-9 record the Maple Leafs make the playoffs as the NHL now organizes the teams into one 7-team league. In the quarterfinals the Maple Leafs begin their playoff run by dispatching the New York Americans in 2 straight. Moving onto the semifinals the Maple Leafs won in dramatic fashion taking the decisive 3rd game in overtime by beating the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 in overtime. However, their playoff run would come to screeching halt as they are beaten by the Boston Bruins 4 games to 1 as the finals shifts to a best of 7 format.
1939/40: With a 25-17-6 record the Maple Leafs return to the playoffs as the 3rd seed. Once again the Leafs would turn it up a notch by sweeping the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings in 2 straight best of 3 series to make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the Finals the Leafs would find themselves in a quick hole losing the first 2 games to the Rangers in New York. With the rest of the series at the Maple Leaf Gardens, the Leaf appears to be sitting pretty winning 2 straight to even the series at 2 games apiece. However, the Rangers would take 2 straight games in overtime to stun the Leafs in 6 games.
1940/41: With new coach Hap Day, the Leafs put together another solid season posting a 28-14-6 record to earn a first round playoff bye. In the semifinals the Leafs and Boston Bruins would battle to a 7th game, as the Leafs drop the last 2 games of the series by twin scores of 2-1.
1941/42: The Maple Leafs would earn a bye into the semifinals for the 2nd year in a row by finishing in 2nd place with a solid 27-18-6 record. In the semifinals the Leafs would overcome an early 2 games to 1 deficit by winning 3 straight to dispatch the New York Rangers in 6 games. In the finals the Leafs would immediately find themselves in trouble dropping the first 2 games at home allowing 7 goals in 2 games to the Detroit Red Wings. Things would only get bleaker as they are slaughtered by the Wings 5-2 in Game 3. Down 3-0 the Leafs appeared to be ready for the compost, but the team would not go quietly winning Game 4 in Detroit by a score of 4-3 the Leafs returned to the MLG where they exploded for 9 goals in a 9-3 win. Back in Detroit for Game 6 the Leafs would continue their suddenly rejuvenated play by shutting out the Wings 3-0 to force an improbable 7th game. Back at the Maple Leaf Gardens on April 18th for Game 7 a then record crowd of 16,000 witnessed the Leafs complete the greatest comeback n hockey history by claiming the Stanley Cup with a 3-1. In all 7 game series of all sorts this was the first time a team rallied form a 0-3 deficit, in the 60 years since it has only happened once more.
1942/43: Coming off their improbable Stanley Cup comeback the Maple Leafs finish in 3rd place in the now 6-team NHL with a 22-19-9 record. In the semifinals the Maple Leafs found themselves in a rematch with the Detroit Red Wings but there would be no miracles as they lost in 6 games.
1943/44: With defenseman Babe Pratt winning the Hart Trophy the Maple Leafs make the playoff again finishing 3rd with a 23-23-4 record. However in the semifinals the Leafs are demolished by the Montreal Canadiens in 5 games losing the final 4 games after winning the opener including a humiliating 11-0 loss in Game 5 that ended their season.
1944/45: The Maple Leafs make the playoff again finishing in 3rd place with a 24-22-4 record. With Calder Trophy winning Goalie Frank McCool manning the pipes the Leafs get off to a good start in the semifinals beating the Canadiens in the first 2 games played in Montreal. After a 4-1 loss in Game 3 the Leafs took a 3-1 series lead by winning Game 4 in overtime. The Leafs would go on to win the series in 6 games to earn a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the Finals the Leafs jumped out to a 3-0 series lead over the Detroit Red Wings, as McCool posted shutouts in the first 3 games. However, 3 years after the Leafs overcame a 0-3 deficit against the Wings the Wings looked poised to return the favor taking 3 straight to force a 7th game in Detroit. However, the Leafs would bounce back to win Game 7 by a score of 2-1.
1945/46: The defending Stanley Cup Champion Maple Leafs never get a chance to fight for the cup as their season ends without the playoffs thanks to finishing 5th with a disappointing 19-24-7 record.
1946/47: After missing the playoffs the Maple Leafs bounce back with a solid 2nd place finish with a 31-19-10 record. With a young team led by Calder Trophy winner Howie Meeker the Leafs returned to the Stanley Cup Finals by beating the Detroit Red Wings in 5 games. In the finals the Leafs were matched up against the Montreal Canadiens in the first All-Canadian final in 12 years. After losing Game 1 by a score of 6-0 in Montreal the Leafs rebound to win the next 3 games. After dropping Game 5 in Montreal the Leafs won the Stanley Cup as Ted Kennedy netted his 3rd goal of the finals to give the Maple Leafs a 2-1 win.
1947/48: Learning from their mistake of the past the Maple Leafs finish ten regular season in first place with a terrific 32-15-3 record. In the semifinals the Leafs knock off the Boston Bruins in 5 games, taking the first 3 games by scoring 5 goals in each game. In the finals the Leafs continued to stay red-hot sweeping the Detroit Red Wings in 4 straight to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. In the finals the high flying Leafs it the lamp 18 times in 4 games, including 7 in the series finale.
1948/49: The Maple Leafs cost through the regular season and make the playoffs despite a poor 22-25-13 record. However, once the playoffs began the Leafs returned to Stanley Cup form blasting the Boston Bruins in 5 games for a return trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the finals the Leafs would dominate the Detroit Red Wings again sweeping them in 4 straight to become the first NHL team to win 3 straight Stanley Cup Championships.
1949/50: The Maple Leafs make the playoffs again finishing in 3rd place with a 31-27-12 record. In the semifinals the Maple Leafs would battle the Detroit Red Wings tooth and nail for 7 games in a series that went back and forth from the start. However, the Leafs 3-year reign as Champions would come to an end with a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in overtime of the 7th game at Detroit.
1950/51: The Maple Leafs continue to be one of the NHL's premier teams finishing in 2nd place with a solid 41-16-13 record. In the playoffs the Maple Leafs would earn a trip to their 4th final in 5 years by knocking of the Boston Bruins in 4 games to 1 in a series that featured a tie game thanks to a curfew in Toronto. In the Stanley Cup finals the Maple Leafs would knock off the Montreal Canadiens in 5 games in a series that saw every game go to overtime. In Game 5 the hero was Defenseman Bill Barilko who scored the series-winning goal in overtime. The goal would end up being Barilko's last as he is tragically killed in a plane crash a few months later.
1951/52: The Maple Leafs would overcome the tragic loss of Bill Barilko to make the playoffs again by finishing in 3rd Place with a 29-25-16 record. However, in the playoffs the Leafs are dominated by the Detroit Red Wings being outscored 13-3 in a 4-game sweep.
1952/53: The Maple Leafs would struggle all season as they battled for a playoff berth all season. However, in the end they would come up 2 points short with a 27-30-13 record.
1953/54: After a 1-year break the Maple Leafs would get back to the playoffs by finishing in 3rd Place with a solid 32-24-14 record. However, the Leafs would not last long in the playoffs losing in 5 games to the Detroit Red Wings.
1954/55: The Maple Leafs would make the playoffs again, as Ted Kennedy collects the Hart Trophy despite a mediocre 24-24-22 record for the Leafs. IN the playoffs the Leafs would be rolled over by the Detroit Wings being swept by the eventual Stanley Cup Champions.
1955/56: Despite a disappointing 24-33-13 record the Maple Leafs make the playoffs by holding off the Boston Bruins by 2 points. In the playoffs the Leafs season would be ended for the 3rd year in a row by the Detroit Red Wings who knock the Leafs off in 5 games.
1956/57: The Maple Leafs struggle all season and miss the playoffs by finishing in 5th place with a terrible 21-34-15 record.
1957/58: The Maple Leafs hit rock bottom finishing in last place with an awful 21-38-11 record.
1958/59: Despite another losing season with a record of 27-32-11, the Maple Leafs sneak into the playoffs by finishing 1 point better then the New York Rangers.
1959/60: In hopes to give their team new punch, the Maple Leafs hire anew coach named Punch Imlach. The move worked as the Leafs finished in 2nd place with a solid 35-26-9 record. In the playoffs the Leafs would get back to the finals for the first time in 9 years by beating the Detroit Red Wings in 6 games. However the Maple Leafs are dominated by the Montreal Canadiens, who win their record 5th straight Stanley Cup by sweeping the Maple Leafs in 4 straight outscoring them 15-5.
1960/61: The Maple Leafs lose a furious battle for first place settling for 2nd place with a solid 39-19-12 record. However, in the playoffs the Leafs would be stunned by the Detroit Red Wings losing 4 straight after winning the series opener in overtime.
1961/62: The Maple Leafs put together another solid season finishing in 2nd place with a solid 39-19-12 record. In the semifinals the Maple Leafs would find themselves in a struggle against a sub .500 New York Rangers team as the series was tied after 4 games. In Game 5 the Leafs would survive an overtime battle to take a 3-2 series lead. The Leafs would go on to put away the pesky Rangers with a 7-1 win in Gam6. Moving on to the finals the Leafs would take control of the series in Game 5, with an 8-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Three nights later the Maple Leafs would win the Stanley Cup with a 2-1 win in Chicago. The Cup victory would end up being the final one for longtime Leafs president Conn Smythe, who sold the franchise to Harold Ballard following the season.
1962/63: The Maple Leafs end the season in first place in a jumbled NHL, that saw the top 4 teams finish with in 8 points, with a 35-23-12 record. In the playoffs the Maple Leafs would survive a hard fought 7-game battle with Montreal Canadiens to make a return trip to the finals. In the finals the Maple Leafs would knock off the Detroit Red Wings in 5 games, holding the high scoring Wings to 10 goals n 5 games. In the clinching 5th game the Leafs Dave Keon would tally 2 shorthanded goals in the 3-1 Cup clinching win.
1963/64: In their quest for a 3rd straight Stanley Cup Championship the Maple Leafs would finish in 3rd place with a 33-25-12 record. In the playoffs the Leafs would turn it up a notch knocking off the Montreal Canadiens in 5 games. In the finals the Leafs would face the Detroit Red Wings in a classic 7-game battle. In the first 3 games the winning goal was scored in the last minute of play as the Wings held a 2-1 series lead. After splitting the next 2 games the Leafs faced elimination in Detroit for Game 6. The Leafs would force a 7th game when Bobby Braun playing with an ankle sprained from a Gordie Howe slapshot scored the winning goal in overtime. Bran would manage to play al of Game 7 without missing a shift as the Leafs won the Stanley Cup for the 3rd year in a row with a 4-3 win.
1964/65: The Maple Leafs finish in 4th place in their quest for a 4th straight Stanley Cup Championship, with a 30-26-14 record. In the playoffs the Leafs championship reign would end with an overtime loss in Game 6 of the semifinals to the Montreal Canadiens.
1965/66: The Maple Leafs continue to be a playoff regular by finishing in 3rd place with a solid 34-25-11 record. However, in the playoffs the Leafs are swept away in 4 straight by the Montreal Canadiens.
1966/67: With an aging team whose average age was over 31 the Maple Leafs make the playoffs again by finishing in 3rd place with a 32-27-11 record, in the final year the NHL played with just 6 teams. In the playoffs the Leafs would get back to the Stanley Cup Finals by beating the Chicago Blackhawks in 6 games. In the finals Dave Keon was the star on defense and offense as the Leafs won their 13th Stanley Cup by beating the Montreal Canadiens in 6 games. Keon would earn honors as the Playoff MVP, which carried the name of the Maple Leafs great patriarch Conn Smythe. Little did anyone know at the time the Maple Leafs would not make another Cup final during the century.
1967/68: Playing in the Eastern Division with the other original 6 teams the Maple Leafs would miss the playoffs despite finishing with a 33-31-10 record that was better then any of the 6 expansion teams that were in the Western Division.
1968/69: The Maple Leafs return to the playoffs by finishing in 4th place with a 35-26-15 record. However, the Leafs are blown away in the playoffs losing 4 straight to the Boston Bruins by a combined score of 24-5.
1969/70: With new Coach John McLain, the Maple Leafs play without punch and land in last place by finishing with a disappointing 29-34-12 record. The season would be a strange one for the NHL as no Canadian teams participated in the playoffs.
1970/71: The Maple Leafs return to the playoffs by finishing in 4th place with a 37-33-8 record. However, their playoffs would end quickly as they blew a 2-1 series lead losing in 6 games to the New York Rangers.
1971/72: The Maple Leafs emerge from battle for the final playoff spot holding the Detroit Red Wings off by 4 points with a 33-31-14 record. In the playoffs the Leafs are dusted away quickly loosing to the Boston Bruins in 5 games.
1972/73: The Maple Leafs never quite get it going missing the playoffs by finishing in 6th place with a disappointing 27-41-10 record.
1973/74: The Maple Leafs would make it back into the playoffs by finishing in 4th place with a decent 35-27-16 record. However, their playoff run is end quickly as they are swept away by the Boston Bruins in 4 straight.
1974/75: The Maple Leafs benefit from realignment and an expanded playoff format making the playoffs despite finishing in 3rd place in the Adams Division with a 31-33-6 record. The Maple Leafs would advance to the 2nd round by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 2 games to 1. In the 2nd round the Leafs would prove a pesky challenger for the defending Stanley Cup Champion Philadelphia Flyers. However, in the end the Flyers would emerge victorious knocking off the Leafs with a 7-3 win in Game 7.
1976/77: The Maple Leafs make the playoffs again by finishing in 3rd place with a 33-32-15 record. Once again the Maple Leafs would dispatch the Pittsburgh Penguins in 3 games in the preliminary round. In the 2nd round the Maple Leafs get off to a terrific start stunning the Flyers in the first 2 games at Philadelphia. However, the Flyers would lose 2 heartbreaking games in overtime as the series shifted to Toronto, as the Flyers came back to win the series in 6 games.
1977/78: Maple Leafs eccentric owner who a few years earlier served time for tax evasion begins a bizarre series of actions defying NHL rules that players names be placed on the jersey by put the names on jersey in the same color as the jersey making the names invisible. Ballard would be fined $10,000 / game, before he relented and put the names on the back. In another incident Ballard caused uproar among Feminist when he said, "Women are only good on their back." While still finishing 3rd in the Adams Division the Maple Leafs put together a strong regular season by finishing with a 41-29-10 record. In the Preliminary Playoff round the Leafs would crown the Los Angeles Kings beating 11-4 in a 2 game sweep. Moving on to the 2nd Round the Leafs found themselves in a 7-game war with the New York Islanders. After losing the first 2 in New York, the Leafs evened the series by winning the next 2 in Toronto. After swapping home ice wins the next 2 games the Leafs would win a dramatic Game 7 in overtime on the road 2-1 to advance to the semifinals. However, the Montreal Canadiens who were on their way to a 3rd straight Stanley Cup Championship were too strong as the swept the Leafs away in 4 straight.
1978/79: The Maple Leafs return to the playoffs by finishing with a 34-33-12 record, finishing in 3rd place inside the Adams Division. Near the end of the season Leafs owner Harold Ballard suddenly decided to fire Coach Roger Nielson. However Neilson would be hired back before the next game as the Leafs could not find a replacement. Ballard in rehiring his coach even asked him to wear a paper bag on his head, which he refused. In the playoffs the Leafs would extinguish the Atlanta Flames outscoring them 9-5 in a 2-game sweep. However, in the 2nd round the Leafs would be swept for the 2nd straight year by the Stanley Cup bound Montreal Canadiens. Following the season Ballard would fire Neilson again this time permanently.
1979/80: The Leafs would have a coaching carousel, going through 2 coaches before legendary Punch Imlach is coaxed out of retirement. With 16 out of 21 teams making the playoffs the Maple Leafs would make the playoffs with a 3rd place finish and a mediocre 35-40-5 record. In the best of 5 first round the Maple Leafs would be swept by the Minnesota North Stars allowing 17 goals ion 3 games.
1980/81: Owner Harold Ballard's bizarre actions continue as he compares star Center Darryl Stiller to a traitor who pissed on the Canadian flag when he rips the Captain's C off his jersey. A few weeks later Ballard would fire Coach Punch Imlach, as the Leafs struggles continued. Despite finishing in last place with a 28-37-15 record the Maple Leafs remain 1 of 16 playoff teams. However, in the Preliminary Round the Leafs are cruised by the New York Islanders losing 3 straight by a combined score of 20-4.
1981/82: With realignment the Maple Leafs are moved to the Norris Division, which contains a more geographical grouping of teams in the North Midwest. The troubles between Leafs owner and star Darryl Sittler finally come to an end when Sittler is traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in the middle of the season. However, no matter what division the Leafs played in they were not going any wear by finishing with an awful 20-44-16 record.
1982/83: Despite a terrible 28-40-12 record the Maple Leafs make the playoffs by finishing in 3rd place in the Norris Division. However the weak Leafs are quickly exposed as they are knocked off in 4 games of a best of 5 by the Minnesota North Stars.
1983/84: The Maple Leafs, who owner Harold Ballard refuses to sign European players, continue to struggle finishing in last place in the Norris Division with a terrible 26-45-8 record.
1984/85: The once proud Maple Leafs franchise hit rock bottom finishing with the worst record in the NHL by finishing with a franchise worst 20-52-8 record. Their 48 points were 14 worse then the worst playoff team, and 4 worse then the team with 2nd poorest record in the league.
1985/86: Despite another terrible 25-48-7 record the Maple Leafs finish in 4th place and thus earn a trip to the playoffs. In the first round Norris Division match up the Leafs would suddenly return to their old glory year by sweeping the first place Chicago Blackhawks in 3 straight scoring 18 goals in the series. In the Norris finals the Leafs again would look like a strong team before falling to the St. Louis Blues in 7 games.
1986/87: The Maple Leafs narrowly make the playoffs with a 32-42-6 record finishing in 4th place via tiebreaker. In the playoffs the Leafs would play their best again knocking off the St. Louis Blues in 6 games. However, for the 2nd straight year the Leafs lose a heartbreaking 7-game series in the Norris Division Finals this time falling to the Detroit Red Wings.
1987/88: Despite a terrible 21-49-10 record the Maple Leafs make the playoffs by simply finishing 1 point ahead of the Minnesota North Stars who had the worst record in the NHL. With 16 teams making the playoffs the Leafs were worse the 4 of the teams that missed the playoffs. In the playoffs the Leafs would give the Detroit Red Wings a fight but ultimately the Leafs would fall in 6 games.
1988/89: Maple Leafs ornery owner Harold Ballard continues to make news as his affairs and tribulations are a regular on the syndicated American Tabloid show "A Current Affair." The Leafs continue to be among the worst teams in the NHL, and this year they would pay for it as the missed the playoffs by finishing in last place with a 28-46-6 record.
1989/90: After a decade of losing record the Maple Leafs make the playoffs by finishing in 3rd Place with a 38-38-4 record. As the season came to a close an era in Toronto would end as controversial owner Harold Ballard passed away at the age of 86. In the playoffs the Leafs would be knocked off right away losing to the St. Louis Blues in 5 games.
1990/91: The Maple Leafs would take a major step backwards falling back into the Norris Division cellar with a terrible 23-46-11 record.
1991/92: The Maple Leafs would miss the playoff for the 2nd year in a row falling 3 points short of the postseason with a 30-43-7 record.
1992/93: For the first time in 14 years the Maple Leafs would post a winning record in the regular season finishing 3rd in the Norris Division with a solid 44-29-11 record. In the first round the Maple Leafs would survive a 7-game war against the Detroit Red Wings winning the series with an overtime goal in Game 7. In the Norris Division Finals the Leafs were taken the distance again beating the upstart St. Louis Blues in 7 games to advance to their first semifinal in 15 years. In the Campbell Conference Finals the were poised to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals leading the Kings late in the 3rd period of Game 6 in Los Angeles. However, thanks to Wayne Gretzky the Kings would rally to win in overtime. In Game 7 in Toronto Gretzky again would be the heroes scoring a hat trick in the Kings 5-4 win that end the Leafs dreams of a Stanley Cup.
1993/94: The Maple Leafs would break out of the gate going undefeated through most of October as Toronto fans were paying attention to the Blue Jays in the World Series. Once the series was over the Leafs would once again hold the spotlight, but they would come down to earth a bit. Eventually the Leafs would even lose their grip on 1st Place in the Central Division, as they finished in 2nd Place with a 43-29-12 record. In the first round the Leafs would knock off the Chicago Blackhawks in 6 games as goalie Felix Potvin backstopped 3, 1-0 wins. In the 2nd round the Maple Leafs were taken to the limit by the upstart San Jose Sharks needing an overtime win in Game 6 to force a 7th game in which they won 4-2. In the Western Conference Finals the Leafs were heavily favored for a return to the Stanley Cup Finals. However, after taking Game 1 over the Vancouver Canucks the Leafs dreams were ended by 4 straight losses that included 2 shutouts.
1994/95: In season shortened to 48 games because of a lockout the Maple Leafs make the playoffs for the 3rd straight year finishing with a 21-19-8 record. In the playoffs the Maple Leafs would get off to a good start beating the Blackhawks in the first 2 games played in Chicago. However the Leafs would lose then next 2 in Toronto, and would go on to fall in 7 games.
1995/96: Despite struggling to finish with a 34-36-12 record the Maple Leafs qualify for the playoffs for the 4th season in a row. However, in the playoffs the Leafs are knocked off in 6 games by the St. Louis Blues.
1996/97: In a forgettable season the Maple Leafs struggle all year and finish in last place with a disappointing 30-44-8 record, as once popular Coach Pat Burns is fired during a season in which the Leafs go through 3 coaches.
1997/98: For the second season in a row the Maple Leafs would struggle all season finishing in last place with a 30-43-9 record. Following the season as part of a major front office shake up the Leafs GM Pat Quinn would name himself head coach as former Montreal Canadiens Goalie Ken Dryden takes over as team president.
1998/99: With expansion the Maple Leafs are shifted to the Eastern Conference and into the Northeast Division with the rival Montreal Canadiens as part of a major realignment. However, the biggest move for the Leafs was the signing of Free Agent Goalie Curtis Joseph. I his first season with Leafs CuJo provide strong net minding as the Leafs made the playoffs with a solid 45-30-7 record. The year also sees the end of an era as the historic Maple Leaf Gardens closes in February as the Leafs open a brand new stadium complete with luxury suites downtown known as the Air Canada Centre. In the playoffs CuJo would be an immovable force as the Leafs knocked off the Philadelphia Flyers in 6 games. The Leafs would continue to stay hot as they beat Jaromir Jagar and the Pittsburgh Penguins in 6 games. However, in the Eastern Conference Finals the Leafs would run into a hot goalie themselves as Dominick Hasek and the Buffalo Sabres knocked beat the Leafs in 5 games.
1999/00: The Maple Leafs begin a new century in style as they crack the 100-point barrier for the first time in franchise history, while winning their first Division Title in 37 years with a 45-30-7 record. In the first round the Maple Leafs would win a battle of Ontario by beating the Ottawa Senators in 6 games. However, the Leafs would find themselves frustrated as they could not get past the New Jersey Devils neutral zone trap falling in 6 games.
200/01: The Maple Leafs make the playoffs again finishing 3rd place in a competitive Northeast Division with a 37-29-11-5 record. In the playoffs the leafs would hit an extra gear, as goalie Curtis Joseph would shut down the 1st Place Ottawa Senators in a 4 game sweep. The Leafs continued to stay hoot as they battled the New Jersey Devils in the 2nd Round. However, the Leafs despite badly outplaying the Devils only held a 3-2 series lead, which allowed the Devils to breakout of their slump and beat the Leafs in 7 games. Making matters worse Leafs star enforcer Tie Domi is suspended for a cheap shot on Scott Niedermayer, a suspension that would carryover to the next season.
2001/02: The Maple Leafs hit the century mark again while finishing in 2nd place with a solid 43-25-10-4 record. However, the Maple Leafs would barely survive a 1st Round 7-game war against the New York Islanders in which several star players on each team including Leafs captain Mats Sundin were lost to injury. With a banged up team the Maple Leafs would have to gut things out again beating the Ottawa Senators in 7 games by rallying to win the final 2 games of the series after being dominated most of the series. However, even with return of Mats Sundin the Leafs would run out of gas falling to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conferences finals in 6 games. Following the season the Leafs would fail in attempts to resign star goalie Curtis Joseph who bolted for the Detroit Red wings.
2002/03: The Maple Leafs would stumble out of the gate winning just 2 of their first 9 games, as the team adjusted to new goalie Eddie Belfour. However the Leafs began to find their way in mid October and quickly rode up the standings in the Northeast Division. However, their struggles against the Ottawa Senators would prevent them from getting over the top as the Maple Leafs won just 1 of 5 fight filled games with their rivals. Hoping to improve the team at the deadline the Maple Leafs made several big trades acquiring Owen Nolan from the San Jose Sharks, and reacquiring Leafs legend Doug Gilmour from the Montreal Canadiens. However the dreams of a great comeback from Gilmour were squashed early as he suffered a season ending knee injury, which ended his season and hi career as Gilmour announced his retirement after the season. The Leafs would go on to have another solid season finishing 2nd with a record of 44-28-7-3. In the playoffs the Leafs were matched up against the Philadelphia Flyers. After splitting the first 2 games in Philadelphia the Leafs took a series lead with a dramatic 4-3 win in double overtime on a goal by Tomas Kaberle. However, the Flyers would bounce back to take Game 4 in triple overtime. After losing Game 5 in Philly the Leafs staved off elimination with a 2-1 win in double OT on a goal by Travis Green. However, with Game 7 in Philadelphia the Leafs simply ran out of gas losing 6-1.
2003/04: The Maple Leafs continued to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference as they were in a 3-way dog fight with the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators for first place in the Northeast Division led once again by Mats Sundin who had a 75-point season. Hoping to put themselves over the top the Leafs acquired future Hall of Famers Brian Leetch from the New York Rangers and Ron Francis from the Carolina Hurricanes, both of whom were proven playoff tested winners. In just 15 games with the Leafs Leetch would notch 15 points as Francis had 10 in 12 games. However the Maple Leafs would fall 1 point short of a Division Title with a franchise record 103 points and a 45-24-10-3 record. In the playoffs the Leafs would draw the Ottawa Senators. After dropping Game 1 by a score of 4-2 the Leafs rebounded to win each of the next 2 games 2-0 as Eddie Belfour stopped a total of 68 shots. After a 4-1 loss in Game 4, the Leafs turned to Belfour again who stopped 21 shots in another 2-0 shutout win. Belfour looked to be heading for another shutout in Game 6, but the Senators rallied to win 2-1 in overtime to a force a 7th game. In Game 7 at the Air Canada Centre the Leafs would jump out to a 3-0 lead and never look back as they advanced to the second round with a 4-1 win. In the 2nd Round the Leafs would get off to a slow start as they dropped the first two games to the Philadelphia Flyers on the road. With the series shifting to Toronto the Leafs would come roaring back winning the next two to even the series. However in Game 5 their Philadelphia Horror continued as they were blow out 7-2. Needing a win at home to even the series the Leafs rallied with a pair of goals to force overtime in the 3rd Period. However Jeremy Roenick would end the Leafs season with a goal at 7:39 of overtime to give the Flyers a 3-2 win