This season marked the end of one dynasty and the beginning of another. The Detroit Red Wings had finished in first place seven years in a row, but the Montreal Canadiens had gradually been gaining ground on them over the last three season.
Rocket Richard was slowing down, but was still a scoring threat. Canadiens won the NHL's three top trophies: Jean Beliveau, the league's scoring leader, took the Hart Trophy as Most Valuable Player; Doug Harvey won the Norris as the NHL's best defenseman; and Jacques Plante won the Vezina as the best goalie.
The Canadiens set a record with 45 wins and totalled 100 points for the first time, finishing 24 ahead of the Red Wings. The New York Rangers finished third and the Toronto Maple Leafs just edged the Boston Bruins for fourth place.
In the semifinals, the Canadiens and Red Wings each won in five games to set up their third consecutive meeting in the Stanley Cup Finals, their fourth in five years. Detroit had won the previous three, but Montreal had just too much firepower this time around.
It looked as if the Red Wings might steal a victory in Game 1 at Montreal, when they took a 4-2 lead, but the Canadiens scored 4 unanswered goals to pull out the win. Detroit did manage to win Game 3 at home. The Canadiens then wrapped up two relatively easy wins, 3-0 and 3-1, to win the cup.