BEFORE MURRAY CAME along, Dryden was the go-to case for establishing playoff dominance right out of the gate. He’d only played in six regular season games when he took over as Montreal’s starter for the 1971 playoffs, but he was fantastic, posting a very good (for the time) 3.00 goals-against average while leading the Habs to the Stanley Cup. For his performance, Dryden earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
He continued his dominance the following season, finishing second to Bobby Orr in the Hart Trophy race and earning the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. But his second playoff run wasn’t quite as successful as his first. While he posted an even better GAA of 2.83, Dryden and the Canadiens had their reign ended by the New York Rangers in six games in the quarterfinal.
That loss ended up being a minor detour for Dryden on the way to six Stanley Cup rings, making him one of only three goaltenders to ever collect that many.