The New Jersey Devils used a similar setup back in the mid 90's. It was so revolutionary that it knocked fans out of their seats -- and into their beds ;)
The 1-3-1 is a type of neutral zone trap, which many teams will employ situationally at different points in the game. It is a natural evolution of the single forechecker on a penalty kill, and is often done late in games to preserve comfortable leads. As a result, I am almost certain you can see 1-3-1 variants at various points of games as far back as you can find professional hockey footage; as such, it is hard to figure out who used it first.
But as for using it as a general game strategy, probably go back to 1995 NJ Devils, or so.
Edit, for more detail:
The resurgence of the 1-3-1 can be linked to the removal of the two-line pass rule. Prior to the two-line pass removal, teams had to carry the puck at least over their own blue line before attempting to connect with another player near the offensive zone. Two forecheckers could successfully jam the breakout at the blue line.
However, with two-line pass permissible, many teams (cf. Blackhawks 2009) will position a winger just before the offensive blue line. During the breakout, a player will fire a hard pass towards this winger, who will tip it deep, thus avoiding an icing. Then, the remaining winger and center will attack the offensive zone with speed, which gives them an advantage over the defenders, who have to transition to the puck.
This causes a lot of "dump and chase" hockey that favors the offense -- the fast moving offence can either get to the puck first, or come into the defender hard.
The counter to this is to jam the passing lane through the neutral zone by stacking three defenders deep. The back defender can still get back to jam the puck in the corner if necessary.
Consequently, the 1-3-1 saw little use pre-lockout in the NHL, because it wasn't a useful counter strategy. You saw it in College hockey somewhat, which didn't have a two-line pass rule.