Ice Hockey Wiki
1940 Rangers celebrate.jpg

The 1939-40 NHL season was the 23rd season for the National Hockey League. Of the league's seven teams, the Boston Bruins were the best in the 48 game regular season, but the Stanley Cup winners were the New York Rangers, who defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in the best-of-seven Finals 4-2 for their third Stanley Cup in 14 seasons of existence. It would be another 54 years before their fourth.


All-Star team for the Babe Siebert Memorial game, October 29, 1939.

The tragic death of Babe Siebert in a drowning accident led to a memorial game at the Montreal Forum on October 29, 1939. The game raised over $15,000 to benefit Siebert's wife, who was paralyzed after giving birth to their second daughter. A team of All-Stars defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-2.

Training Camp Sites:

Boston Bruins - Hershey, Pennsylvania
Chicago Black Hawks - Hibbing, Minnesota
Detroit Red Wings - Detroit, Michigan
Montreal Canadiens - Montreal, Quebec
New York Americans - Port Arthur, Ontario
New York Rangers - Winnipeg, Manitoba
Toronto Maple Leafs - St. Catharines, Ontario

Regular Season

Without Babe Siebert, named playing coach of the struggling Montreal Canadiens, the team finished last under Pit Lepine.

Eddie Shore played 10 games for the New York Americans in 1940.

The New York Americans, in financial trouble, decided to trade their star left wing Sweeney Schriner to Toronto for Harvey "Busher" Jackson, Buzz Boll, Murray Armstrong, and minor-leaguer Jimmy Fowler. Late in the season, they traded Eddie Wiseman and $5000 to Boston for Eddie Shore. The Americans then managed to make the playoffs by finishing a poor sixth. They also obtained Charlie Conacher and used him as a defenceman.

Before the December 19, 1939 game at Boston versus the Boston Bruins, Conn Smythe puts an ad in the Boston Globe which states "Attention Hockey Fans! If you're tired of seeing the kind of hockey the Boston Bruins are playing, come to the Garden tonight and see a real hockey club, the Toronto Maple Leafs." The Bruins win 3-2 in overtime.

Bill Cowley clears the puck away from Frank Brimsek, November 4, 1939.

The first place Boston Bruins had a new coach in Cooney Weiland, their one-time captain, and were once again led by their "Kraut Line", Milt Schmidt, Woody Dumart, and Bobby Bauer as they finished 1-2-3 in overall league scoring and Bruins Bill Cowley finished 4th. Unfortunately, the potent four were unable to help the Bruins get past the first round of the playoffs as the injury-riddled Bruins lost in 6 games to the Rangers.

The New York Rangers were coasting in first place and went 19 consecutive games without a loss. They slumped in the second half, though, and Boston edged them out for first place.

The New York Rangers-Montreal Canadiens 6-2 game on February 25, 1940 was the first ice hockey game ever to be shown on TV in the USA.

Final Standings

National Hockey League
Boston Bruins 48 31 12 5 170 98 330 67
New York Rangers 48 27 11 10 136 77 520 64
Toronto Maple Leafs 48 25 17 6 134 110 485 56
Chicago Black Hawks 48 23 19 6 112 120 351 52
Detroit Red Wings 48 16 26 6 90 126 250 38
New York Americans 48 15 29 4 106 140 236 34
Montreal Canadiens 48 10 33 5 90 167 338 25

Note: GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, PIM = Penalty Minutes, Pts = Points
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.

Scoring Leaders

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts
Milt Schmidt Boston Bruins 48 22 30 52
Woody Dumart Boston Bruins 48 22 21 43
Bobby Bauer Boston Bruins 48 17 26 43
Bill Cowley Boston Bruins 48 13 27 40
Gordie Drillon Toronto Maple Leafs 43 21 19 40
Bryan Hextall New York Rangers 48 24 15 39
Neil Colville New York Rangers 48 19 19 38
Syd Howe Detroit Red Wings 48 14 23 37
Murray Armstrong New York Americans 48 16 20 36
Toe Blake Montreal Canadiens 48 17 19 36

Leading Goaltenders

Note: GP = Games played; Min – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts

Player Team GP MIN GA GAA W L T SO
Dave Kerr New York Rangers 48 3000 77 1.54 27 11 10 8
Paul Goodman Chicago Black Hawks 31 1920 62 1.94 16 10 5 4
Frank Brimsek Boston Bruins 48 2950 98 1.99 31 12 5 6
Turk Broda Toronto Maple Leafs 47 2900 108 2.23 25 17 5 4
Cecil "Tiny" Thompson Detroit Red Wings 46 2830 120 2.54 16 24 6 3
Earl Robertson N.Y. Americans 48 2960 140 2.84 15 29 4 6
Claude Bourque Montreal Canadiens 36 2210 121 3.29 9 24 3 2
Mike Karakas Chicago Black Hawks 17 1050 58 3.31 7 9 1 0

Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Boston Bruins were expected to make the Stanley Cup finals after a first overall finish during the regular season riding the shoulders of the "Kraut Line". But the New York Rangers were too much for the Bruins who lost in six and were out-scored 14 to 8 and shut-out twice in the first round. The third seed Toronto Maple Leafs swept the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Black Hawks en route to the Stanley Cup finals.

Note: All dates in 1940

Playoff Bracket

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
  1  Boston Bruins 2  
    2  New York Rangers 4  
    2  New York Rangers 4
  3  Toronto Maple Leafs 2
  3  Toronto Maple Leafs 2  
4  Chicago Black Hawks 0  
3  Toronto Maple Leafs 2
    5  Detroit Red Wings 0  
5  Detroit Red Wings 2
  6  New York Americans 1  

Series A: New York Rangers 4, Boston Bruins 2

The league's two best teams met in the second round of the playoffs, both teams having received byes in the first round. The Bruins lost 4 players to injury during the series. The Rangers held league leading scorer Milt Schmidt off the score sheet for the series and won 4-2, with goalie Dave Kerr posting three shutouts. The Rangers would go on to the beat the Leafs in the Finals.

Game 1 at Madison Square Garden was dominated by the Rangers. After Phil Watson put the Rangers up 1-0 in the second period, the "Bread Line" of Alex Shibicky, Neil Colville and Mac Colville took over. Combining for 7 points on a goal by Shibicky and two by Mac, the Rangers blanked the Bruins 4-0 with Dave Kerr earning the shutout.

Game 2 in Boston was special teams battle. A huge brawl in the first period saw seven players in the penalty box after which Mac Colville scored a Shorthanded goal. The Bruins special teams took over in the second period. Power play goals by Flash Hollett and Woody Dumart and a shorthanded goal by Herb Cain spotted them a 3-1 lead. The Rangers Dutch Hiller made it close at 9:56 of the third but Art Jackson sealed the Bruins 4-2 victory with a late goal. The Bruins Mel Hill broke his ankle and was lost for the remainder of the series.

Game 3 in Boston was a close affair with the team trading goals throughout the game. A pair by Eddie Wiseman, who opened the scoring at 7:21 of the first and netted the winner at 7:49 of the third period was the difference as the Bruins took game 3 by a 4-3 score and led in the series 2-1.

Game 4 in New York was a goaltending duel between Frank Brimsek and Kerr with the Rangers prevailing 1-0 on a 40 foot shot by Muzz Patrick at 10:40 of the third period to tie the series 2-2. The Bruins lost defenseman Des Smith to injury for the remainder of the series.

Game 5 in Boston was a repeat of Game 4 but with Babe Pratt scoring the game's only goal at 4:27 of the third period on a two on one with Alex Shibicky. The Bruins Art Jackson broke his ankle in the first period. With 20 seconds left, the Bruins pulled Brimsek for an extra attacker but to no avail. Dit Clapper hurt his ankle at the end of the game and wouldn't play in Game 6.

Game 6 in New York saw the Bruins go ahead 1-0 on a late first period goal by Roy Conacher assisted by Art Jackson's replacement Terry Reardon. But the shorthanded Bruins, playing without Jackson, Des Smith, Mel Hill and Clapper couldn't hold off the Rangers and Alf Pike tied it up in the second period. In the third, Alex Shibicky scored to make it 2-1 and in the process Robert "Red" Hamill took a major penalty for high-sticking and broke Shibicky's nose. The Rangers capitalized on the power play with goals by Clint Smith and Phil Watson to win the series with a 4-1 victory in front of their home town faithful.

Date Home Score Away Score Notes
March 19 New York Rangers 4 Boston Bruins 0
March 21 Boston Bruins 4 New York Rangers 3
March 24 Boston Bruins 4 New York Rangers 2
March 26 New York Rangers 1 Boston Bruins 0
March 28 Boston Bruins 0 New York Rangers 1
March 30 New York Rangers 4 Boston Bruins 1

Rangers win best of seven series 4 games to 2

Series B: Toronto Maple Leafs 2, Chicago Black Hawks 0

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
March 19 Chicago Black Hawks 2 Toronto Maple Leafs 3 6:35 of OT
March 21 Toronto Maple Leafs 2 Chicago Black Hawks 1

Toronto wins best of three series 2 games to 0

Series C: Detroit Red Wings 2, New York Americans 1

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
March 19 New York Americans 1 Detroit Red Wings 2 0:25 of OT
March 22 Detroit Red Wings 4 New York Americans 5
March 24 New York Americans 1 Detroit Red Wings 3

Detroit wins best of three series 2 games to 1

Series D: Toronto Maple Leafs 2, Detroit Red Wings 0

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
March 26 Detroit Red Wings 1 Toronto Maple Leafs 2
March 28 Toronto Maple Leafs 2 Detroit Red Wings 1

Toronto wins best of three series 2 games to 0


Toronto Maple Leafs vs. New York Rangers
Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 2 Toronto Maple Leafs 1 New York Rangers 2 15:30 of OT
April 3 Toronto Maple Leafs 2 New York Rangers 6
April 6 New York Rangers 1 Toronto Maple Leafs 2
April 9 New York Rangers 0 Toronto Maple Leafs 3
April 11 New York Rangers 2 Toronto Maple Leafs 1 11:43 of OT
April 13 New York Rangers 3 Toronto Maple Leafs 2 2:07 of OT

New York wins best of seven series 4 games to 2

Playoff Scoring Leaders

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts
Phil Watson New York Rangers 12 3 6 9
Neil Colville New York Rangers 12 2 7 9

1940 New York Rangers Roster

General Manager: Lester Patrick
Head Coach: Frank Boucher
Trainer: Harry Westerby
Players: Art Coulter (Captain), Mac Colville, Neil Colville, Ott Heller, Bryan Hextall, Dutch Hiller, Dave Kerr, Kilby MacDonald, Lynn Patrick, Muzz Patrick, Alf Pike, Babe Pratt, Alex Shibicky, Clint Smith, Phil Watson

NHL Awards

O'Brien Trophy: Toronto Maple Leafs
Prince of Wales Trophy: Boston Bruins
Calder Memorial Trophy: Kilby MacDonald, New York Rangers
Hart Memorial Trophy: Ebbie Goodfellow, Detroit Red Wings
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Bobby Bauer, Boston Bruins
Vezina Trophy: Dave Kerr, New York Rangers

All-Star Teams

First Team   Position   Second Team
Dave Kerr, New York Rangers G Frank Brimsek, Boston Bruins
Dit Clapper, Boston Bruins D Art Coulter, New York Rangers
Ebbie Goodfellow, Detroit Red Wings D Earl Seibert, Chicago Black Hawks
Milt Schmidt, Boston Bruins C Neil Colville, New York Rangers
Bryan Hextall, New York Rangers RW Bobby Bauer, Boston Bruins
Toe Blake, Montreal Canadiens LW Woody Dumart, Boston Bruins
Paul Thompson, Chicago Black Hawks Coach Frank Boucher, New York Rangers


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1939-40 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last Games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1939-40 (listed with their last team):


  1. Chicago Black Hawks: 275,032
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs: 271,031
  3. Boston Bruins: 245,795
  4. New York Rangers: 239,928
  5. New York Americans: 170,905
  6. Montreal Canadiens: 121,792
  7. Detroit Red Wings: 107,512



A minute of highlights of the March 19, 1940 Semi-finals Game 1 which the Rangers won over the Bruins 4-0 on their way to winning the Stanley Cup. Second period goals by Phil Watson and Alex Shibicky are shown.

See Also


NHL Seasons

1935-36 | 1936-37 | 1937-38 | 1938-39 | 1939-40 | 1940-41 | 1941-42 | 1942-43 | 1943-44