Though they would not win the Stanley Cup in the 1974-75 season, the Montreal Canadiens were certainly on their way, establishing records for success on the road, and on the power play.
"For some reason, we seem to be at our best on the road. I guess we feel more confident in Montreal and, as a result, we concentrate less and play more of a wide open game That's really not what suits our style of play. In other words, we are tight on the road, and we play more by the book." - Ken Dryden
The 1974-75 season for the Montreal Canadiens was essentially a sneak peek into the last leg of the senenties Habs dynasty. The Philadelphia Flyers would of course win the Stanley Cup that season, but when it came to playing on the road, the Habs were the champs of that season.
The Canadiens strung together 23 consecutive games without a loss in opponents barns, an NHL record to this day. They would rack up 14 wins and nine tie, outscoring their opponents 98-58.
The streak began on November 27, 1974 with a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers would end it on March 23, 1975.
The previous record of 15 games was shared by the Boston Bruins (9 wins, 6 ties), during the 1940-41 season and the Detroit Red Wings (10 wins, 5 ties) early in the 1951-52. The Canadiens broke the old record on February 9, 1975, in a 4-4 tie with the Buffalo Sabres.
Francis Bouchard, who deserves equal billing for this post, was able dig up unique footage, featuring some highlights of game number 22, against the New York Rangers, from March 9,1975.
The game featured also has another significance in team history. The Canadiens would tally their 82nd power play goal of the season, establishing a new NHL record.
They would finish the season with 92 goals (on 350 opportunities - 26.3%), with the man advantage. It has long since been eclipsed by NHL standards, but remains a team record.
Despite the clip's premise that the Habs were on their way to a Stanley Cup, it also highlights some of the corp players that would be part of the four consecutive Cup victories, just a year later.
It was also the breakout year for Guy Lafleur, who scored his first 50-goal season. He and teammate Peter Mahovlich would both surpass the 100-point plateau that year. Mahovlich finished with 82 assists, still a team record. Guy Lapointe scored 28 goals, establishing a record for Canadiens blueliners. That season also marked the return of Ken Dryden, and was the swan song for the Pocket Rocket.
The Sabres had been a difficult team for the Habs in the regular season. The two clubs met in the semi-finals and despite thumpings of 7-0 and 8-2 in Game Three and Four, the Sabres escaped with a six-game victory.
The Habs finished that season with a 20-6-14 road record, one fewer loss that the more publicized 1976-77 club. Their 14 ties away from the Forum, also tied a team record set back in the 1952-53 season.. The six losses on the road tied an NHL record set by, you guessed it, the Canadiens in 1972-73. They would repeat it in the 1977-78 season, and that record still stands to this very day.
The Canadiens unbeaten record was recently featured on Total Pro Sports list of Most Impressive Streaks in NHL History, coming in at number eight.