Sometimes Jacques Plante gets overlooked in Blues history. We often muddle up his timeline.
I used to think the Blues acquired both him and Glenn Hall in the expansion draft, but Plante did not join the Blues until the following season in 1968-69.
It might have been a blow to fellow future Hall of Famer Hall, but they formed one of the most dynamic duos in team history. For the second straight year, the Blues made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
Plante was given the start for every game until the Final too. He won eight games in a row as the Blues went undefeated in the first two rounds, sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings.
Plante had three shutouts combined against L.A. and Philadelphia. It was not until facing the Montreal Canadiens, Plante’s former team, that he ever felt outmatched.
The Blues did not even think about playing Hall until the Canadiens came to town. St. Louis made the switch, hoping it would help contain the mighty Montreal squad, but that was never a goaltending issue. Montreal was just that much better than the Blues.
Despite that roadblock, Plante was near unbeatable that playoff season. He posted a .950 save percentage and allowed a paltry 1.43 goals against.
The .950 tied a career best, which he equaled in the 1960 playoffs where he won a Stanley Cup with Montreal. The 1.43 was the second best in his career, coming up just short of his amazing 1.35 in that same 1960 run.
There will be doubters that still want to bring up the Blues going the easier route in the expansion side of the conference, but you are still playing a smaller, thus more talented talent pool, so it is a wash. Plante shut them all down.