The 1940-41 NHL season was the 24th season of the National Hockey League. Seven teams each played 48 games. The Boston Bruins were the Stanley Cup winners as they swept the Detroit Red Wings four games to none in the 1941 Stanley Cup Finals.
Pre-Season Training Camps
- Boston Bruins: Hershey, Pennsylvania and Montreal, Quebec
- Chicago Black Hawks: Hibbing, Minnesota
- Detroit Red Wings: Detroit, Michigan
- Montreal Canadiens: St. Hyacinthe, Quebec
- New York Americans: Port Arthur, Ontario
- New York Rangers: Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Toronto Maple Leafs: St. Catharines, Ontario
The Montreal Canadiens had hit the bottom in 1939-40, and were in financial trouble. Frank Patrick decided to become an investor and governor for the team, and Tommy Gorman was hired as general manager. He hired recently released Toronto coach Dick Irvin to run the team. One of the first things Gorman and Irvin did was scout for players, and the Canadiens came up with Johnny Quilty, Joe Benoit, Elmer Lach and defenceman Ken Reardon. Bert Gardiner would be used in goal, replacing Claude Bourque and Wilf Cude. Murph Chamberlain was bought from Toronto to bolster the offence.
Quilty and Benoit came through, as did Toe Blake, but the Habs had a long way to go, finishing sixth. Quilty won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's top rookie. In fact, before the season started, Coach Irvin handed a sealed envelope to a reporter of his guess who would win the Calder Trophy, and when the season ended, the reporter opened the envelope: Johnny Quilty was the choice Irvin made.
NHL history was made on December 1, 1940 in a game between the New York Rangers and Chicago Black Hawks as four sets of brothers played. Mac and Neil Colville, Lynn and Muzz Patrick, Max and Doug Bentley, Bill and Bob Carse all played as Chicago won 4-1. Max Bentley scored his first NHL goal and Doug Bentley picked up an assist, while Bill Carse also scored.
On January 15, 1941, the NHL announced that fights would carry a $25 fine.
During the February 28, 1941 game versus the Detroit Red Wings, New York Americans goalie Chuck Rayner was hurt with a little over seven minutes remaining in the game. Defenseman Andy Branigan filled in for Rayner and did not allow any goals. The Red Wings won 5-4.
The Boston Bruins set a record 23 straight unbeaten games en route to a strong first place finish at the end of the schedule. On March 4, 1941 at Boston, the Bruins peppered Chicago Black Hawks goalie Sam LoPresti with 83 shots in a 3-2 victory. LoPresti saw 27 shots in the first period, 31 in the second, then 22 in the third. As of 2020, this is still an NHL record for most shots by one team in a game. Overshadowed by this was Bill Cowley's two helpers, breaking the record for assists in a season. No one retrieved the recording setting puck and when play resumed, it was shot into the stands. Four boys who caught the puck later sought Cowley out and presented it to him.
The Rangers, stunningly, finished fourth after the previous year's Stanley Cup win and Dave Kerr wasn't up to his usual form in goal.
|Toronto Maple Leafs||48||28||14||6||62||145||99|
|Detroit Red Wings||48||21||16||11||53||112||102|
|New York Rangers||48||21||19||8||50||143||125|
|Chicago Black Hawks||48||16||25||7||39||112||139|
|New York Americans||48||8||29||11||27||99||186|
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.
Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|Bill Cowley||Boston Bruins||46||17||45||62||16|
|Syl Apps||Toronto Maple Leafs||41||20||24||44||6|
|Gord Drillon||Toronto Maple Leafs||42||23||21||44||2|
|Bryan Hextall||New York Rangers||48||26||18||44||16|
|Syd Howe||Detroit Red Wings||48||20||24||44||8|
|Lynn Patrick||New York Rangers||48||20||24||44||12|
Note: GP = Games played; Min – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts
|Turk Broda||Toronto Maple Leafs||48||2970||99||2.00||28||14||6||5|
|Frank Brimsek||Boston Bruins||48||3040||102||2.01||27||8||13||6|
|Johnny Mowers||Detroit Red Wings||48||3040||102||2.01||21||16||11||4|
|Dave Kerr||New York Rangers||48||3010||125||2.49||21||19||8||2|
|Paul Goodman||Chicago Black Hawks||21||1320||55||2.50||7||10||4||2|
|Bert Gardiner||Montreal Canadiens||42||2600||119||2.75||13||23||6||2|
|Sam LoPresti||Chicago Black Hawks||27||1670||84||3.02||9||15||3||1|
|Chuck Rayner||N.Y. Americans||12||773||44||3.42||2||7||3||0|
|Earl Robertson||N.Y. Americans||36||2260||142||3.77||6||22||8||1|
Stanley Cup Playoffs
|2||Toronto Maple Leafs||3|
|3||Detroit Red Wings||0|
|3||Detroit Red Wings||2|
|4||New York Rangers||1|
|3||Detroit Red Wings||2|
|5||Chicago Black Hawks||0|
|5||Chicago Black Hawks||2|
Boston Bruins 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 3
The Bruins finished 5 points ahead of the Leafs during the regular season. Despite effectively losing league leading scorer Bill Cowley for the playoffs in game 1, the Bruins prevailed in seven games.
Game 1 at the Boston Garden saw a scoreless first period and the ice broken at 15:33 of the second on a goal by the Bruins Flash Hollett. In the third period, Bobby Bauer was knocked out of the game when his hip was cut by the skate of line mate Milt Schmidt. Bill Cowley was knocked out of the series after a knee on knee collision with Sweeney Schriner. Brimsek held the Leafs off and late goals by Terry Reardon and Eddie Wiseman sealed a 3-0 Bruins win.
Game 2 in Boston was a clean game and saw the Bruins jump out to a 2-0 first period lead on goals by Eddie Wiseman and Milt Schmidt. However, a four goal second period by the Leafs Gordie Drillon, Reg Hamilton and two by Nick Metz put Toronto in a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Third period goals by the Leafs Don Metz and Wiseman's second of the game resulted in a 5-3 Leafs win and tied the series 1-1.
Game 3 at Maple Leaf Gardens saw the Leafs dominate the Bruins in a 7-2 win. Schmidt and Schriner traded goals in the first. Herb Cain put the Bruins up 2-1 at 5:07 of the second after which the Leafs exploded with 3 goals by Syl Apps, Bucko McDonald on the power play and Apps again, on the power play. The Leafs added 3 more in the third by Schriner, Apps completing his Hat trick and Nick Metz. After the game in the Bruins dressing room, Terry Reardon gave a rallying speech that was later heralded in the Boston papers as a major reason for the Bruins' eventual triumph.
Game 4 in Toronto saw Bill Cowley try to return to action with a heavily bandaged knee. But after playing a few shifts, he couldn't continue and didn't play another game in the 1941 playoffs. The game was tie and scoreless heading into the second period until Woody Dumart scored his first of the playoffs. Gordie Drillon responded three minutes later. In the third period, Leafs goalie Turk Broda couldn't control a shot by Herb Cain who slammed home the rebound for a 2-1 Bruins victory, tying the series 2-2.
Game 5 in Boston saw the Leafs Lex Chisholm score the only playoff goal of his career and the Bruins Pat McReavy respond with the first of his. Brimsek and Broda barred the nets, sending the game into overtime. At 17:37 of the first OT, the Leafs Pete Langelle scored the winner. The Leafs had a 3-2 stranglehold on the series.
Game 6 in Toronto saw no goals in the first two periods. Halfway through the third, Drillon put the Leafs up 1-0, who looked posed to take the series. But the Bruins Bobby Bauer responded less than a minute later. Less than two minutes after Bauer's goal, Flash Hollett sent Herb Cain in on Broda who deked him for the game winner. The series was tied 3-3 going back to Boston.
Game 7 in Boston saw the Leafs Bucko McDonald score on a point shot at 13:28. A minute later, the Bruins Flash Hollett tied it up on a similar play. In the second period, the Bruins Jack Crawford high-sticked Pete Langelle, drawing the ire of Leafs GM Conn Smythe, who jumped on the ice and ran after referee Mickey Ion. Crawford received a major penalty, Smythe was fined $100 and was ejected from the game but watched from the stands. With less than six minutes left in the third period, Mel "Sudden Death Hill picked the puck out of a scrum along the boards, skated towards the slot in front of the Leafs net and beat Broda with a shot that went under his arm. The Leafs frantically tried for the tying goal but Brimsek turned aside excellent chances by Apps and Drillon to preserve the 2-1 win and the series victory.
|1||March 20||Toronto Maple Leafs||0–3||Boston Bruins||0-1|
|2||March 22||Toronto Maple Leafs||5–3||Boston Bruins||1–1|
|3||March 25||Boston Bruins||2–7||Toronto Maple Leafs||1–2|
|4||March 27||Boston Bruins||2–1||Toronto Maple Leafs||2–2|
|5||March 29||Toronto Maple Leafs||2–1 (OT)||Boston Bruins||3-2|
|6||April 1||Boston Bruins||2–1||Toronto Maple Leafs||3–3|
|7||April 3||Toronto Maple Leafs||1–2||Boston Bruins||3-4|
|First Team||Position||Second Team|
|Turk Broda, Toronto Maple Leafs||G||Frank Brimsek, Boston Bruins|
|Dit Clapper, Boston Bruins||D||Earl Seibert, Chicago Black Hawks|
|Wally Stanowski, Toronto Maple Leafs||D||Ott Heller, New York Rangers|
|Bill Cowley, Boston Bruins||C||Syl Apps, Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Bryan Hextall, New York Rangers||RW||Bobby Bauer, Boston Bruins|
|Sweeney Schriner, Toronto Maple Leafs||LW||Woody Dumart, Boston Bruins|
|Cooney Weiland, Boston Bruins||Coach||Dick Irvin, Montreal Canadiens|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1940-41 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Max Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks
- John Mariucci, Chicago Black Hawks
- Joe Carveth, Detroit Red Wings
- Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens
- Ken Reardon, Montreal Canadiens
- John Quilty, Montreal Canadiens
- Chuck Rayner, New York Americans
- Bill Juzda, New York Rangers
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1940-41 (listed with their last team):
- Paul Haynes, Montreal Canadiens
- Georges Mantha, Montreal Canadiens
- Hooley Smith, New York Americans
- Charlie Conacher, New York Americans
- Dave Kerr, New York Rangers
- Toronto Maple Leafs: 293,749
- Chicago Black Hawks: 288,315
- Boston Bruins: 247,819
- New York Rangers: 203,958
- Detroit Red Wings: 173,659
- Montreal Canadiens: 169,629
- New York Americans: 145,507
A minute worth of video of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals which the Bruins won 3-1, sweeping Detroit and winning the Cup. This was the first sweep in a 7 game series in NHL history. The Cup winning goal by Bobby Bauer which put the Bruins ahead 2-1 at 8:43 of the second period and the Bruins third goal by Eddie Wiseman are shown. The game end with the players shaking hands concludes the video.
- Boston Globe, p.24, November 13, 1940.
- Montreal Gazette, p.16, January 16, 1941.
- Boston Globe, p.19 March 5, 1941.
|National Hockey League|
|Structure||Playoffs (Streaks • Droughts • All-time playoff series) • Conference Finals • Finals|
|Annual events||Seasons • Stanley Cup (Champions • Winning players • Traditions and anecdotes) • Presidents' Trophy • All-Star Game • Draft • Awards • All-Star Teams|
|Players||List of players • Association • Retired jersey numbers • Captains|
|History||Lore • Organizational changes :: • Defunct teams • NHA • Original Six • 1967 Expansion • WHA Merger • Lockouts|
|Others||Outdoor games (Winter Classic • Heritage Classic • Stadium Series) • Potential expansion • Hall of Fame (Members) • Rivalries • Arenas • Rules • Fighting • Violence : International games • Kraft Hockeyville • Collective bargaining agreement • Television and radio coverage|
|Category • 2020–21 Season • 2021–22 Season • 2022–23 Season|
|1940–41 NHL season by team|
|Teams||Boston • Chicago • Detroit • Montreal Canadiens • NY Americans • NY Rangers • Toronto|
|See also||1941 Stanley Cup Finals|