|1938–39 New York Rangers · NHL|
|General Manager||Lester Patrick|
|Arena||Madison Square Garden|
|Goals||Alex Shibicky (24)|
|Assists||Ott Heller (23)|
|Points||Clint Smith (41)|
|Penalties in minutes||Muzz Patrick (64)|
|Wins||Dave Kerr (26)|
|Goals against average||Dave Kerr (2.12)|
|← Seasons →|
The 1938–39 New York Rangers season was the 13th season for the team in the National Hockey League (NHL). New York finished 2nd in the league with 58 points and lost in the Semi-finals to the Boston Bruins 4 games to 3.
- Thursday, October 20 Rangers 2 Americans 1 @ Winnipeg
- Saturday, October 22 Rangers 3 Americans 2 @ Saskatoon
- Tuesday, October 25 Rangers 7 Americans 0 @ Saskatoon
- Thursday, October 27 Rangers 8 Americans 4 @ Edmonton
The Rangers visited the Boston Bruins on November 22, 1938 with GM Lester Patrick boasting of the Blueshirts five-man unit "streamlined hockey." Art Ross was skeptical and promised speed and power from the Bruins game.  He proved prophetic as Charlie Sands (playing with a fever) blasted a shot in from the blueline and later in the second period, rare scorer Jack Portland ripped in a 40 footer to make it 2-1 Boston. In the third period, Roy Conacher converted on a two on one with Gord Pettinger and right off the faceoff, Conacher returned the favour. Clint Smith scored a consolation goal with 14 seconds left as the Bruins won 4-2.
With Dit Clapper and Bill Cowley joining Woody Dumart on the injured list, the shorthanded Bruins headed to New York for a game against the Rangers on December 11, 1938. Continuing their superb play in front of Frank Brimsek, Jack Portland scored his third of the season, followed by Mel Hill and Gord Pettinger in a 3-0 win for Brimsek's third consecutive shutout.
|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.
|Regular Season Results|
|1||W||November 13, 1938||4–3||@ Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||1–0–0|
|2||W||November 15, 1938||2–0||Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||2–0–0|
|3||W||November 17, 1938||1–0||@ Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||3–0–0|
|4||W||November 20, 1938||2–1||Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||4–0–0|
|5||L||November 22, 1938||2–4||@ Boston Bruins (1938–39)||4–1–0|
|6||W||November 24, 1938||6–2||Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||5–1–0|
|7||L||November 27, 1938||0–1||Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||5–2–0|
|8||W||December 4, 1938||6–1||@ New York Americans (1938–39)||6–2–0|
|9||W||December 8, 1938||6–5||@ Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||7–2–0|
|10||L||December 11, 1938||0–3||Boston Bruins (1938–39)||7–3–0|
|11||T||December 15, 1938||1–1 OT||New York Americans (1938–39)||7–3–1|
|12||W||December 17, 1938||3–2||@ Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||8–3–1|
|13||L||December 18, 1938||0–5||@ Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||8–4–1|
|14||W||December 20, 1938||6–2||Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||9–4–1|
|15||W||December 22, 1938||5–2||@ Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||10–4–1|
|16||W||December 25, 1938||1–0||@ Boston Bruins (1938–39)||11–4–1|
|17||L||December 26, 1938||0–2||Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||11–5–1|
|18||W||December 31, 1938||2–1 OT||Boston Bruins (1938–39)||12–5–1|
|19||W||January 2, 1939||3–0||Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||13–5–1|
|20||T||January 5, 1939||2–2 OT||@ Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||13–5–2|
|21||W||January 8, 1939||5–2||New York Americans (1938–39)||14–5–2|
|22||L||January 10, 1939||0–1 OT||@ New York Americans (1938–39)||14–6–2|
|23||W||January 12, 1939||6–0||Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||15–6–2|
|24||T||January 15, 1939||1–1 OT||@ Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||15–6–3|
|25||L||January 19, 1939||3–4||@ Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||15–7–3|
|26||W||January 22, 1939||7–3||Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||16–7–3|
|27||L||January 26, 1939||0–1||New York Americans (1938–39)||16–8–3|
|28||W||January 31, 1939||3–2||Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||17–8–3|
|29||W||February 2, 1939||7–0||@ New York Americans (1938–39)||18–8–3|
|30||W||February 4, 1939||4–2||@ Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||19–8–3|
|31||T||February 5, 1939||5–5 OT||Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||19–8–4|
|32||L||February 9, 1939||2–4||Boston Bruins (1938–39)||19–9–4|
|33||W||February 12, 1939||3–2||@ Boston Bruins (1938–39)||20–9–4|
|34||W||February 16, 1939||2–1||New York Americans (1938–39)||21–9–4|
|35||L||February 18, 1939||1–2||@ Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||21–10–4|
|36||W||February 21, 1939||7–3||Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||22–10–4|
|37||W||February 23, 1939||4–2||@ Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||23–10–4|
|38||T||February 25, 1939||1–1 OT||@ Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||23–10–5|
|39||L||February 26, 1939||0–3||Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||23–11–5|
|40||L||March 2, 1939||1–3||Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||23–12–5|
|41||L||March 5, 1939||3–5 OT||@ Boston Bruins (1938–39)||23–13–5|
|42||T||March 7, 1939||2–2 OT||Montreal Canadiens (1938–39)||23–13–6|
|43||W||March 9, 1939||8–3||@ Chicago Black Hawks (1938–39)||24–13–6|
|44||L||March 12, 1939||2–4||Boston Bruins (1938–39)||24–14–6|
|45||L||March 14, 1939||2–3||@ Detroit Red Wings (1938–39)||24–15–6|
|46||W||March 16, 1939||11–5||@ New York Americans (1938–39)||25–15–6|
|47||L||March 18, 1939||1–2||@ Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||25–16–6|
|48||W||March 19, 1939||6–2||Toronto Maple Leafs (1938–39)||26–16–6|
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 by one player. 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. Due to a charley horse, Charlie Sands was replaced in the Bruins line-up by Red Hamill. It was a clean, hard-checking game in which goalies Dave Kerr and Frank Brimsek dominated. In the first period, Woody Dumart checked Ott Heller, stripped him of the puck and sent it to Milt Schmidt who scored. However, referee Mickey Ion disallowed the goal and called a penalty on Dumart for fouling Heller. Late in the second period, Gord Pettinger was penalized for tripping Lynn Patrick. Neil Colville retrieved the puck out of a goalmouth scramble and passed to Alex Shibicky who broke the ice. Early in the third period on the power play, Milt Schmidt carried the puck in the Rangers zone and was knocked down by Muzz Patrick. Ion was also bowled over but Bobby Bauer picked up the puck and scored. Incredibly, Ion ruled the goal invalid because he didn't witness it, despite the goal judge indicating it counted.
Shortly after, Ion called a penalty on Heller. Bill Cowley tied the game up at 4:40 of the third, on a great deflection of a Dit Clapper pass. A few minutes later, Jack Crawford was sent off for high-sticking. Frank Brimsek made two great saves off George Allen and Lynn Patrick to keep the score 1-1. The teams played to a stand-off and the game went into overtime. In the first OT, Mel Hill was sent in alone on Dave Kerr who made a great glove save. Cowley was then dazed by a hit but stayed in the game. In the third OT, Roy Conacher collided with Kerr, whose shoulder was injured. The game was halted for ten minutes while Kerr received treatment. In the last minute of the period, Cowley drifted into the left corner by the Rangers net and zipped a pass out front to Mel Hill who whacked it in for a 2-1 Bruins win.
Game 2 moved to the Boston Garden, where another clean, hard-fought game ensued. The Rangers received bad news that goalie Dave Kerr was out with a separated shoulder, from his collision with Roy Conacher. Bert Gardiner took his place. Cecil Dillon also missed the game with a leg injury, the first game he'd missed in a decade. Past the halfway mark of the first period, Conacher and Neil Colville were given co-incidental penalties for high-sticking but with three minutes left, Jack Crawford was tripped by George Allen. Conacher scored on the power play and while still short-handed, Gardiner caught another Conacher shot and threw the puck into the crowd. A penalty shot was awarded which Gardiner saved with his knee on Conacher's attempt. However, just after Allen stepped out the penalty box, Boll Cowley poked in a rebound of a Mel Hill shot to make it 2-0 Bruins.
Shibicky cut the lead to 2-1 in the second period and began to attack in four man waves for the rest of regulation. With a little over three minutes left, Phil Watson fed a cross-crease pass to Dutch Hiller who tied it at 2-2. The Kraut Line played the first five minutes of overtime and switched off. After several close chances for the Rangers, Bill Cowley carried the puck into New York's zone and drew both defensemen to him. His drop pass to Hill was driven in from 40', his second straight OT winner. Gardiner made 35 saves but the "B's" were up 2-0 in the series. Dit Clapper picked up the overtime winning pucks from both Games 1 and 2.
Game 3 in Boston saw Bert Gardiner still in the nets for the injured Dave Kerr. During their first shift of the game, the Bruins third line scored, as Gord Pettinger took a Flash Hollett pass in front of Gardiner, spun, and fired a shot into the top corner. Pettinger had been a Ranger but was traded because after languishing on the bench for nearly an entire game, he took his skates off and was unable to fulfill Frank Patrick's call to go on. Early in the second period, the Kraut Line scored their first playoff points, with Woody Dumart setting up Milt Schmidt. Schmidt brushed off a check by Babe Pratt and fooled Gardiner with a backhand-forehand move.
The Rangers got their only goal of the game at 13:06 when Babe Pratt's long shot deflected in off Jack Portland's stick to make it 2-1. Furious pressure on Frank Brimsek ensued with the Bruins breaking out on several odd man rushes. Dumart broke in alone during one, deked Gardiner, but hit the post. Three minutes into the third period, Neil Colville missed a great opportunity to tie the game, sliding under a shot under Frank Brimsek, a hair wide of the post. At the halfway mark, Milt Schmidt victimized Babe Pratt again, spun off him and backhanded a goal in from a sharp angle. This deflated the Blueshirts, made worse when a little over two minutes later on the power play, Bill Cowley went through the entire Rangers team to make it 4-1 Bruins. Gardiner made 29 saves to Brimsek's 23. Boston wasn't penalized during the game and took a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.
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 the Bruins were seething from what they regarded as the Rangers attempt to knock Eddie Shore out of the series in Game 4. They were particularly incensed that Art Coulter punched Frank Brimsek. However, there were no fights in Game 5 and with his nose bandaged, Eddie Shore played. The first period was wide-open until Red Hamill was called for interference. During the power play, a scramble in front of the Bruins net saw the puck cleared to Coulter. His shot hit a leg, the post and went in. Less than a minute later, Ott Heller tripped Bobby Bauer and was sent off. Flash Hollett stopped a Ranger clearing attempt at the blueline and two passes later, Bauer slid a rebound between Bert Gardiner's pads to tie the game 1-1 at 7:39.
The second period saw three Ranger and two Bruins penalties called but neither team could convert. Both teams started the third period conservatively with rushes rarely involving more than two skaters. After Roy Conacher was mugged by Ott Heller with no penalty called, Eddie Shore was left writhing on the ice after a hit from behind. Another non-call by referee Norm Lamport resulted in the crowd showering the ice with debris. Muzz Patrick got into an altercation with an ice cleaner which made the situation worse. When play resumed, Dit Clapper hit every Ranger in sight and was finally penalized for a clean check, despite Jack Crawford being subjected to the same treatment with no call. Garbage showered down but Lamport refused to allow the ice to be cleaned so the Bruins killed off the penalty while dodging the refuse. The game went into overtime where Clint Smith was the hero, beating Brimsek with a long shot at the 17:19 mark. 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 third goal 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 tied the series.
Game 7 in Boston saw over 17,000 in attendance, the largest crowd in Bruins history to that point. It was a tense affair with the Bruins close to becoming the first team to blow a 3-0 series lead. After a scoreless first, George Allen fell in the Rangers zone with the puck. Gord Pettinger flipped the disk to Ray Getliffe who smacked it by Bert Gardiner at 15:52. Less than two minutes later, the Bruins couldn't clear the puck from their zone. Muzz Patrick caught the puck at the blueline and fired a skimmer that went through a crowd to tie the game. Alex Shibicky hurt his back and didn't play in the third period with Bob Carse taking his place. Referee Mickey Ion put his whistle away and called no penalties in the second nor third periods. The third period solved nothing though a fight nearly broke out between Milt Schmidt and Art Coulter just before the bell sent the series 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 waited until Gardiner made the first move and then fired the series winner through his pads.  The "Sudden Death" Hill moniker was born with all three of his record overtime goals assisted by Bill Cowley.
|1||March 21||Boston Bruins||2–1 (3OT)||New York Rangers||1–0|
|2||March 23||New York Rangers||2–3 (OT)||Boston Bruins||0–2|
|3||March 26||New York Rangers||1–4||Boston Bruins||0–3|
|4||March 28||Boston Bruins||1–2||New York Rangers||3–1|
|5||March 30||New York Rangers||2–1 (OT)||Boston Bruins||2–3|
|6||April 1||Boston Bruins||1–3||New York Rangers||3–3|
|7||April 2||New York Rangers||1–2 (3OT)||Boston Bruins||3–4|
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
- Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Clint Smith
- Art Coulter, Defense, NHL Second Team All-Star
- Neil Colville, Center, NHL Second Team All-Star
- Philadelphia Ramblers, International-American Hockey League
- Vancouver Lions, Pacific Coast Hockey League
- New York Rovers, Eastern Hockey League
- Edmonton Athletic Club Roamers, Alberta Junior
- Boston Globe, p.22, November 23, 1938.
- Boston Globe, p.21, March 22, 1939.
- Boston Globe, p.28, March 24, 1939.
- Boston Globe, p.22, March 24, 1939.
- Boston Globe, p.4, March 27, 1939.
- Boston Globe, p.22, March 30, 1939.
- Boston Globe, p.26, March 31, 1939.
- Boston Globe, p.8, April 3, 1939.
- 1938-39 New York Rangers Statistics - Hockey-Reference.com. hockey-reference.com. Retrieved on 2009-06-04.
|New York Rangers|
|Team||Franchise • Players • Coaches • GMs • Seasons • Records • Draft Picks • History|
Madison Square Garden
|Stanley Cups||1928, 1933, 1940, 1994|
|Affiliates||Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL), Maine Mariners (ECHL)|
|1938–39 NHL season by team|
|Teams||Boston • Chicago • Detroit • Montreal Canadiens • NY Americans • NY Rangers • Toronto|
|See also||1939 Stanley Cup Finals|