Montreal Canadiens: Three Habs Records That Will Never Be Broken

1974; Goalie Ken Dryden #29 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Melchior DiGiacomo/Getty Images)
1974; Goalie Ken Dryden #29 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Melchior DiGiacomo/Getty Images) /
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1974; Goalie Ken Dryden #29 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Melchior DiGiacomo/Getty Images)
1974; Goalie Ken Dryden #29 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Melchior DiGiacomo/Getty Images) /

Ken Dryden – Best winning percentage

Ken Dryden arrived in Montreal just as their dynasty of the 1970’s was forming. Though he played with an excellent team in front of him, there is no way the team achieves the same level of success without Ken Dryden in goal.

His first taste of the NHL came late in the 1970-71 season when he won all six regular season games he played and was terrific in the playoffs, leading the underdog Canadiens past the Bobby Orr led Boston Bruins. The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972, and would have won three in a row if not for Dryden’s Conn Smythe winning performance in 1971.

He ten went into the 1971-72 season still technically a rookie, even though he won playoff MVP already. He didn’t slow down at all, winning the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year thanks to his 39-8-15 record. That’s correct, he had more ties than losses. In fact, in Dryden’s seven full NHL seasons, he only twice has had more losses than ties on his record.

Basically, if you played in against the Montreal Canadiens and Ken Dryden was in goal, you were almost assured of a loss, you may be able to tie them, but the least likely outcome was actually defeating the Habs and their star netminder.

Over his career, which ended in 1979 after he backstopped the team to four consecutive Stanley Cups, Dryden had a record of 258-57-74. Dryden also played in eight games in his career where he wasn’t the goaltender of record, so he had a total of 397 appearances. Winning 258 of his 397 games gives him a winning percentage of .650.

No other goaltender in NHL history has a winning percentage higher than .552. Plus, Dryden did it when teams were given a tie after regulation and there was no overtime in regular season play. Imagine how many more games he would have won if there was three-on-three overtime in the 1970’s and the Habs were starting with Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt and Serge Savard on the ice with Larry Robinson, Yvan Cournoyer and Jacques Lemarie up next. Or would they go with Pete Mahovlich or Guy Lapointe instead?

The only negative you could possibly say about Dryden’s career was he played for an amazing team and that’s why he won all the time. Well, Dryden sat out the 1973-74 season and if the Habs success was due to the players in front of him, the team shouldn’t miss a beat with Dryden studying law instead of stopping pucks, right?

Well in 1972-73, the Habs led the league with 120 points in the regular season standings. Then, they dropped to 99 without Dryden. Upon his return in 1974-75, they were once again tops in the league with 113 points. Clearly, Dryden was a making a large impact on the team’s ability to win games.

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In fact, no team in the history of hockey has been more likely to win a game than the one that had Ken Dryden in goal. Even with ties being removed from the game today and each contests having a winner, no one has come close to being on the right side of the final score as often as Dryden. And no one will ever come close to his .650 winning career winning percentage.