The Boston Bruins' high-powered offense was back. Phil Esposito won his fourth consecutive scoring title. Bobby Orr, who had missed a month of the previous season with a knee injury, finished second, while Ken Hodge and Wayne Cashman were next on the list. With 113 points, the Bruins won the East Division by 14 points over the Montreal Canadiens.
The Philadelphia Flyers won the West Division and were just 1 point back of the Bruins. Nicknamed the 'Broad Street Bullies' because of their physical style of play, the Flyers were actually a very well-balanced team. Led on offense by Bobby Clarke and Rick MacLeish, they had goalie Bernie Parent back from a year in the World Hockey Association. Parent put up the league's best goals against average and shared the Vezina Trophy with Phil Esposito's brother Tony.
The Flyers swept Atlanta in the first round and then outlasted the New York Rangers in a seven-game series to get into the finals. The Bruins had a similar road, sweeping Toronto and beating Chicago in six games.
In the finals, the Flyers quickly demonstrated that they could play with the Bruins. After a 3-2 Boston win in Game 1, Philadelphia pushed the second game to overtime and Clarke scored the game-winner. It was the first win by an expansion team in the Stanley Cup finals and the first win in Boston for the Flyers since 1967.
At home, Philadelphia won two games to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. The Bruins fought back with an easy win in Game 5. The deciding game was back in Philadelphia. Rick MacLeish scored at 14:48 of the first period and Parent shut the Bruins down for a 1-0 win and the first Stanley Cup championship for an expansion team.
MacLeish was the leading scorer in the playoffs, with 22 points in 17 games, but Parent won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the post-season MVP. The Flyers' Fred Shero won the first Adams Award as the NHL coach of the year.