Gordie Howe's goal scoring was down a bit, but he still led the league in assists and scoring. His Detroit teammate, Red Kelly, won the first Norris Trophy as the best defenseman in the NHL. And, while Terry Sawchuk failed to win the Vezina Trophy, he finished second to Harry Lumley of Toronto.
All that added up to a sixth straight first-place finish for Detroit, but it the race was a lot closer this time. The Montreal Canadiens finished just 7 points back even though Bernie Geoffrion was suspended for 16 games and they lost both Dickie Moore and rookie Jean Beliveau to injuries for extended periods. Rocket Richard's 37 goals led the league and he finished second to Howe in scoring.
Toronto got back into the playoffs with good defense, highlighted by Lumley's goaltending. But they were eliminated by the Red Wings in five games, while Montreal swept the Bruins in the other semifinal series.
The Red Wings jumped off to a 3-1 lead in the Stanley Cup final and Montreal Coach Dick Irvin decided to replace goalie Jacques Plante with Gerry McNeil. McNeil responded with a 1-0 overtime win and a 3-1 victory that evened the series. The seventh game went into overtime, tied 1-1. Detroit won it at 4:20 when Montreal defenseman Doug Harvey accidentally deflected a shot by Tony Leswick into his own net.