|1938–39 Boston Bruins · NHL|
|Stanley Cup Champions|
|Prince of Wales Trophy Winners|
|Goals for||156 (1st)|
|Goals against||76 (1st)|
|General Manager||Art Ross|
|Goals||Roy Conacher (26)|
|Assists||Bill Cowley (34)|
|Points||Bill Cowley (42)|
|Penalties in minutes||Jack Portland (46)|
|Wins||Frank Brimsek (33)|
|Goals against average||Frank Brimsek (1.56)|
|← Seasons →|
The 1938–39 Boston Bruins season was the Bruins' 15th season in the NHL. The Bruins finished first in the NHL and won their eighth Prince of Wales Trophy. The Bruins defeated Toronto Maple Leafs 4 games to 1, with the winning goal scored by Roy Conacher to win the Stanley Cup for the second time, the first time in 10 years.
The Bruins started the season with the same uniforms as in the past two years but for the 1939 Stanley Cup Finals slight changes were made. Photos throughout the season and in the 1939 Semi-Finals show the Bruins in jerseys with black numbers and solid black shoulders. But in the Finals, gold was added to the shoulder yokes, stripes were added to the pants and the socks changed to a pattern that would last nearly three decades. Black numbers remained on the jersey front and back with black block "B's" on the arms. The Bruins would continue to use these new jerseys for the 1939-40 season.
In the off-season, the NHL would lose a franchise, as the Montreal Maroons would fold, leaving the league with seven teams, and eliminating the American and Canadian Division format the league had been using since 1926. The Bruins would make a key acquisition, acquiring Roy Conacher from the Kirkland Lake Hargreaves of the NOHA.
The biggest change for the Bruins this season was in goal. Perennial All-Star and Vezina Trophy winner Tiny Thompson was injured in an exhibition game and couldn't start the regular season. Frank Brimsek was called up from the Providence Reds of the IAHL, who he'd led to the Calder Cup in 1937-38. Brimsek won his first two NHL games but was sent back to the minors when Thompson was ready to play. Thompson played 5 games and went 3-1-1 but was 12 years older than Brimsek. Looking to the future, GM Art Ross traded Thompson to the Detroit Red Wings for Norm Smith and $15,000 and called Brimsek up.
Bruin fans were enraged, made worse when Brimsek lost his first game replacing Thompson while Thompson won his first game with Detroit. However, Brimsek went on a tear, shutout the Chicago Blackhawks in the next game, won 7 in a row and posted shutouts in 6 of the games. During that seven game span, he set the NHL record for the longest shutout streak, 231 minutes and 54 seconds. He won over the Bruin fans who dubbed him "Mister Zero." Brimsek led the NHL with 33 wins and a 1.56 GAA, earning both the Vezina Trophy and the Calder Trophy. He also recorded 10 shutouts, which was among the league leaders.
Brimsek would help lead the Bruins to 1st place in the NHL standings, as they finished the season with a record of 36–10–2, earning 74 points, their highest point total since the 1929–30 season.
Bill Cowley would lead the team with 42 points, despite missing 14 games due to injuries. His 34 assists were a league high. Rookie Roy Conacher scored an NHL high 26 goals, and added 11 assists to finish with 37 points. Milt Schmidt continued to show improvement, scoring a career high 32 points. Flash Hollett led the Bruins defense with 27 points, as he scored 10 goals and added 17 assists, while Dit Clapper scored 13 goals and 26 points.
|New York Rangers||48||26||16||6||149||105||58|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||48||19||20||9||114||107||47|
|New York Americans||48||17||21||10||119||157||44|
|Detroit Red Wings||48||18||24||6||107||128||42|
|Chicago Black Hawks||48||12||28||8||91||132||32|
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.
|1||November 3||Boston Bruins||3–2||Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||1–0–0||2|
|2||November 6||Boston Bruins||4–1||Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||2–0–0||4|
|3||November 13||Boston Bruins||1–2||New York Americans (1938–39)||2–1–0||4|
|4||November 15||Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||1–1||Boston Bruins||2–1–1||5|
|5||November 20||Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||1–4||Boston Bruins||3–1–1||7|
|6||November 22||New York Rangers (1938–39)||2–4||Boston Bruins||4–1–1||9|
|7||November 27||New York Americans (1938–39)||2–8||Boston Bruins||5–1–1||11|
|8||December 1||Boston Bruins||0–2||Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||5–2–1||11|
|9||December 4||Boston Bruins||5–0||Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||6–2–1||13|
|10||December 6||Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||0–2||Boston Bruins||7–2–1||15|
|11||December 11||Boston Bruins||3–0||New York Rangers (1938–39)||8–2–1||17|
|12||December 13||Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||2–3||Boston Bruins||9–2–1||19|
|13||December 15||Boston Bruins||1–0||Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||10–2–1||21|
|14||December 18||Boston Bruins||2–0||Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||11–2–1||23|
|15||December 20||New York Americans (1938–39)||0–3||Boston Bruins||12–2–1||25|
|16||December 25||New York Rangers (1938–39)||1–0||Boston Bruins||12–3–1||25|
|17||December 27||Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||2–8||Boston Bruins||13–3–1||27|
|18||December 29||Boston Bruins||2–4||New York Americans (1938–39)||13–4–1||27|
|19||December 31||Boston Bruins||1–2||New York Rangers (1938–39)||13–5–1||27|
|20||January 1||Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||1–4||Boston Bruins||14–5–1||29|
|21||January 3||New York Americans (1938–39)||1–2||Boston Bruins||15–5–1||31|
|22||January 5||Boston Bruins||2–1||Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||16–5–1||33|
|23||January 7||Boston Bruins||0–2||Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||16–6–1||33|
|24||January 10||Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||1–3||Boston Bruins||17–6–1||35|
|25||January 17||Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||1–2||Boston Bruins||18–6–1||37|
|26||January 19||Boston Bruins||0–1||Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||18–7–1||37|
|27||January 22||Boston Bruins||5–0||Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||19–7–1||39|
|28||January 24||Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||4–6||Boston Bruins||20–7–1||41|
|29||January 29||Boston Bruins||3–2||New York Americans (1938–39)||21–7–1||43|
|30||January 31||New York Americans (1938–39)||2–2||Boston Bruins||21–7–2||44|
|31||February 2||Boston Bruins||2–1||Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||22–7–2||46|
|32||February 5||Boston Bruins||3–0||Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||23–7–2||48|
|33||February 7||Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||0–2||Boston Bruins||24–7–2||50|
|34||February 9||Boston Bruins||4–2||New York Rangers (1938–39)||25–7–2||52|
|35||February 12||New York Rangers (1938–39)||3–2||Boston Bruins||25–8–2||52|
|36||February 14||Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||1–2||Boston Bruins||26–8–2||54|
|37||February 16||Boston Bruins||5–1||Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||27–8–2||56|
|38||February 19||Boston Bruins||1–4||Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||27–9–2||56|
|39||February 21||Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||2–8||Boston Bruins||28–9–2||58|
|40||February 25||Boston Bruins||0–1||Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||28–10–2||58|
|41||February 26||Boston Bruins||5–1||Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||29–10–2||60|
|42||February 28||Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||2–6||Boston Bruins||30–10–2||62|
|43||March 5||New York Rangers (1938–39)||3–5||Boston Bruins||31–10–2||64|
|44||March 7||Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||0–3||Boston Bruins||32–10–2||66|
|45||March 9||Boston Bruins||9–6||New York Americans (1938–39)||33–10–2||68|
|46||March 12||Boston Bruins||4–2||New York Rangers (1938–39)||34–10–2||70|
|47||March 14||Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||2–4||Boston Bruins||35–10–2||72|
|48||March 19||Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||5–7||Boston Bruins||36–10–2||74|
In the playoffs, Boston would have a 1st round bye, advancing straight to the NHL semi-finals, where they would face the 2nd place New York Rangers in the first best of 7 series in NHL history. New York had 58 points during the regular season, which was 16 less than the Bruins. The line of Roy Conacher, Bill Cowley and Mel Hill was dominate and scored over half of Boston's goals in the playoffs.
Boston Bruins 4, New York Rangers 3
This series is best remembered for Mel Hill scoring three OT goals, still an NHL record for OT goals in a series. Game 4 was one of the most violent in NHL history with six major penalties, stick swinging and a battered and concussed Eddie Shore insisting on playing and returning to game action with a broken nose.
Game 1 opened at Madison Square Garden in New York. A clean, hard-checking game in which goalies Dave Kerr and Frank Brimsek dominated, the Rangers Alex Shibicky broke the ice late in the second period. Bill Cowley responded at the 4:40 mark of the third, sending the game in overtime. In the third OT, Cowley drifted into the left corner by the Rangers net and zipped a pass out front to Hill who whacked it in for a 2-1 win for the Bruins.
Game 2 moved to the Boston Garden, where another clean, hard-fought game ensued. The Rangers received bad news that their goalie Dave Kerr was out for the series with a separated shoulder. Bert Gardiner manned the net for the Rangers. The Bruins jumped out to a 2-0 lead on late first period goals by Conacher and Cowley. Shibicky cut the lead to 2-1 in the second before Dutch Hiller tied it up with less than four minutes left in the game. Hill scored his second overtime goal at the 8:24 mark of the first OT, on a drop pass by Cowley. Hill's 40 foot shot beat Gardiner and the Bruins were up in the series 2-0.
Game 3 in Boston saw the Rangers keep Cowley's line off the scoresheet but the Bruins depth was too much. Gord Pettinger scored in the first and the first playoff goal for Milt Schmidt early in the second had the Bruins up 2-0. Babe Pratt cut the lead to 2-1 in the second before Schmidt got his second of the game halfway through the third. Cowley potted a goal two minutes later as the Bruins cruised to a 4-1 win and a 3-0 series lead.
Game 4 at MSG saw the Rangers facing elimination which looked likely after Milt Schmidt scored his 3rd goal of the playoffs less than a minute into the game. Mac Colville tied it up at 8:58 but the game got progressively chippy. Phil Watson when charging after Jack Portland behind the Bruins net, resulting in some high sticking. Bryan Hextall jumped Portland from behind resulting in Eddie Shore wading in after Hextall. Rangers defensemen Muzz Patrick went after Shore and a brawl ensued. Patrick, who'd been a Canadian boxing champion and outweighed Shore by 30 pounds, broke Shore's nose during a fight with him. Shore left the game for repairs but came back in the second period and played with plaster over his broken nose. The Rangers Dutch Hiller, Babe Pratt, Patrick and Watson received major penalties as did the Bruins Jack Crawford, Gord Pettinger, Shore and Portland. Referee Mickey Ion handled out 60 minutes in penalties during the game. Having served his penalty time, in the second period, Muzz Patrick scored a Shorthanded goal at the 10:02 mark which proved to be the game winner. The series shifted back to Boston with the Bruins leading 3-1.
Game 5 was in Boston and was a much cleaner affair than Game 4. Art Coulter put the Rangers up 1-0 in the first but a little over a minute later, Bobby Bauer scored his first playoff goal to knot the score. The score stayed 1-1 through regulation, requiring the third overtime game of the series. The Rangers Clint Smith was the hero, beating Brimsek with a long shot at the 17:19 mark of the first OT. The Rangers were back in the series, trailing 3-2.
Game 6 was in New York and saw no goals in the first period. The Bruins took the lead on Mel Hill's 3rd of the playoffs before Phil Watson tied it up in the second. Bruins penalties in the third would be costly as Bill Carse and Alex Shibicky capitalized to lead the Rangers to a 3-1 win and tie the series.
Game 7 in Boston was a tense affair with the Bruins close to becoming the first team to blow a 3-0 series lead. After a scoreless first, Ray Getliffe put the Bruins up only to see the Rangers Muzz Patrick tie it up less than two minutes later. The third period solved nothing and the series headed into its fourth overtime game. Bobby Bauer came close to ending the series in the 1st OT with a backhander that beat Gardiner but hit the post. In the 3rd OT, Mel Hill and Muzz Patrick took matching minor penalties at the 5:00 mark. Exiting the box, Hill rushed into the Rangers zone. Conacher took a heavy shot on Gardiner who steered it behind the net. Cowley beat the Rangers' defensemen to the puck, slid it out front to Hill who potted the series winner. "Sudden Death" Hill was born with all three of his record goals assisted by Bill Cowley.
|1||March 21||Boston Bruins||2–1||New York Rangers||1–0|
|2||March 23||New York Rangers||2–3||Boston Bruins||2–0|
|3||March 26||New York Rangers||1–4||Boston Bruins||3–0|
|4||March 28||Boston Bruins||1–2||New York Rangers||3–1|
|5||March 30||New York Rangers||2–1||Boston Bruins||3–2|
|6||April 1||Boston Bruins||1–3||New York Rangers||3–3|
|7||April 2||New York Rangers||1–2||Boston Bruins||4–3|
Boston Bruins 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 1
The Bruins opponent was the Toronto Maple Leafs, who finished the season with a 19–20–9 record, earning 47 points, which was 27 points fewer than Boston. The Leafs defeated the New York Americans and Detroit Red Wings to earn a spot in the best of seven Finals. The Bruins went into the series the favorites, sporting new uniforms with gold added to the shoulders, pants and socks.
Game 1 in Boston was a tight-checking affair with Woody Dumart opening the scoring at the 16:04 mark of the first period with the first playoff goal of his career. The Leafs tied it up in the third with the first of the playoffs for Red Horner but less than three minutes later, Bobby Bauer won it for the Bruins.
Game 2 in Boston saw the Leafs built a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Gordie Drillon and Syl Apps. Roy Conacher and Semi-Final hero Mel Hill tied it up in the second. After a scoreless third period, Toronto had to kill off a penalty by Rudolph Kampman after which Doc Romnes scored the OT winner to knot the series 1-1.
Game 3 in Toronto was scoreless in the second period when Eddie Shore checked Leafs star Busher Jackson, dislocating his shoulder. Jackson missed the remainder of the series. Disheartened, the Leafs gave up goals by Bauer, Conacher and defenseman Jack Crawford (first playoff goal of his career). A last minute goal by the Leafs Gus Marker wasn't enough as the Bruins won 3-1.
Game 4 in Toronto saw the Bruins go ahead 1-0 early in the game on a power play goal by Conacher, assisted by Hill. The Bruins Frank Brimsek shut the door and earned his first playoff shutout as the Bruins won 2-0 after Conacher added his second of the game.
Game 5 in Boston saw Hill score his 6th of the playoffs at 11:40 of the first period while Gord Drillon was in the penalty box. Toronto countered with a power play marker of their own when Kampman scored at 18:40 on a point shot, that deflected off Dit Clapper's skate, with Hill in the box. With the score tied 1-1 late in the second period, Conacher scored his 6th of the playoffs to put the Bruins up 2-1, which would prove to be the winner. The Leafs frantically tried to tie it up in the third and had a perfect opportunity when Eddie Shore took a penalty with 2 minutes to go. However, the Leafs Nick Metz, who'd been called up as Busher Jackson's replacement, took a penalty and the teams skated four on four. With 37 seconds left, Flash Hollett widened Boston's lead to 3-1. The Bruins took the series and the Cup 4 games to 1. Frank Brimsek held Toronto to just six goals in five games.
|1||April 6||Toronto Maple Leafs||1–2||Boston Bruins||1–0|
|2||April 9||Toronto Maple Leafs||3–2||Boston Bruins||1–1|
|3||April 11||Boston Bruins||3–1||Toronto Maple Leafs||2–1|
|4||April 13||Boston Bruins||2–0||Toronto Maple Leafs||3–1|
|5||April 16||Toronto Maple Leafs||1–3||Boston Bruins||4–1|
See also 1939 Stanley Cup Finals.
|6, 16||Red Hamill||LW||6||0||1||1||0|
Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalty minutes; PPG = Power-play goals; SHG = Short-handed goals; GWG = Game-winning goals
MIN = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; GA = Goals-against; GAA = Goals-against average; SO = Shutouts;
Awards and Records
- Prince of Wales Trophy: Boston Bruins
- Vezina Trophy: Frank Brimsek (1st win)
- Calder Memorial Trophy: Frank Brimsek
- Bobby Bauer, Right Wing, NHL Second Team All-Star
- Frank Brimsek, Goaltender, NHL First Team All-Star
- Dit Clapper, Defence, NHL First Team All-Star
- Eddie Shore, Defence, NHL First Team All-Star
- Art Ross, Coach, NHL First Team All-Star
- Leroy Goldsworthy is sold to the New York Americans.
- Tiny Thompson is sold to the Detroit Red Wings for $15,000.
- Jack Shewchuk wore #5 when Dit Clapper missed 4 games in February 1939.
- Bruins who recorded a Hat trick this season include:
A minute worth of footage from the New York Americans home opener on November 13, 1938 in which they defeated the Bruins 2-1. The Americans goals by #9 Lorne Carr and #10 Eddie Wiseman are shown. Both teams play in white jerseys making it a challenge to distinguish between them at times. The end of the clip shows Milt Schmidt setting up Bobby Bauer who nearly scores. Schmidt then bodychecks an American player and appears hurt.
- National Hockey League Guide & Record Book 2007
|1938–39 NHL season by team|
|Teams||Boston • Chicago • Detroit • Montreal Canadiens • NY Americans • NY Rangers • Toronto|
|See also||1939 Stanley Cup Finals|
|The Franchise||Franchise • Original Six • Team History • All-time Roster • Seasons • Players • Records • GMs • Head Coaches|
|Arenas||Boston Arena • Boston Garden • TD Garden|
|Head Coaches||Ross • Denneny • Patrick • Weiland • Clapper • Boucher • Patrick • Schmidt • Watson• Sinden • Johnson • Guidolin • Cherry • Creighton • Cheevers • Goring • O'Reilly • Milbury • Bowness • Sutter • Kasper • Burns • Keenan • Ftorek • O'Connell • Sullivan • Lewis • Julien • Cassidy|
|Retired numbers||2 • 3 • 4 • 5 • 7 • 8 • 9 • 15 • 16 • 24 • 77 • 99|
|Affiliates||Providence Bruins • Atlanta Gladiators|
|Rivals||Montreal Canadiens • Toronto Maple Leafs • Philadelphia Flyers • New York Rangers|
|Stanley Cups||1929, 1939, 1941, 1970, 1972, 2011|
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