The Chicago Blackhawks had won the Stanley Cup three times, but they had never finished in first place in the NHL until this year. Bobby Hull, who had become the first NHL player to score more than 50 goals the season before, did it again, while Stan Mikita won the Ross Trophy as the league's top scorer, the Hart Trophy as MVP, and the Lady Byng Trophy for combining excellent play with sportsmanship. He was the first player to win three major awards in one season.
The Black Hawks finished 17 points ahead of the Montreal Canadiens, who won a close race for second place. Toronto finished just 2 points behind Montreal and the New York Rangers were fourth, only 3 points behind the Maple Leafs.
Goalie Terry Sawchuk had an outstanding series against the high-scoring Blackhawks, who were eliminated by Toronto in six games, while Montreal swept past the Rangers into the finals.
The Maple Leafs had lost to Montreal in the first round each of the previous two seasons, and they weren't given much chance to win this time around. But Toronto won Game 2 in Montreal and went up, 2-1, when Bob Pulford scored in the second overtime of Game 3.
Montreal evened the series and regained home-ice advantage with a 6-2 win at Toronto in Game 4. It seemed the Canadiens now had the momentum, but the Maple Leafs won the next two games with relative ease, 4-1 and 3-1. It was their fourth and last Stanley Cup under Coach Punch Imlach.