Synchronized red lights to signal goals were made obligatory for all NHL rinks. Players were also required to wear elbow pads under the jersey.
It was rumoured in the press that Lester Patrick planned to retire as general manager of the New York Rangers. On February 22, 1946, he announced his retirement from the general manager position, however he would stay on as vice president of Madison Square Garden.
The Boston Bruins were part of a special home opener for the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 27, 1945. Six winners of the Victoria Cross were in attendance and the puck drop was conducted by "Smokey" Smith. Fittingly, the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
Veterans came back to their teams this year, as World War II ended, but many found they could not regain their form. One who did regain his form was the man formerly known as "Mr. Zero" — Boston Bruins' goaltender Frank Brimsek. He was shelled in an 8-3 contest with Chicago, but got better game by game. The Bruins had first place at one point, then finished second. Brimsek made the Second All-Star Team as a result.
Max Bentley of Chicago led the league in scoring, and, because of the "Pony Line" including him, his brother Doug and Bill Mosienko, the Black Hawks were in first place at one point. But misfortune hit the Black Hawks when Doug Bentley injured his knee in a January 23 game and the team sagged.
A news bombshell exploded on January 30, 1946 when Leafs defenceman Babe Pratt was expelled from the NHL for betting on games. However, he only bet on his own team and appealed his expulsion. On his promise he would not bet on any more games, he was reinstated. Pratt missed 9 games during his suspension.
Maple Leaf Gaye Stewart led the league in goals with 37, but Toronto finished fifth and missed the playoffs.
|Chicago Black Hawks||50||23||20||7||53||200||178||339|
|Detroit Red Wings||50||20||20||10||50||146||159||298|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||50||19||24||7||45||174||185||247|
|New York Rangers||50||13||28||9||35||144||191||285|
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
|Max Bentley||Chicago Black Hawks||47||31||30||61||6|
|Gaye Stewart||Toronto Maple Leafs||50||37||15||52||8|
|Toe Blake||Montreal Canadiens||50||29||21||50||2|
|Clint Smith||Chicago Black Hawks||50||26||24||50||2|
|Bill Mosienko||Chicago Black Hawks||40||18||30||48||12|
|Maurice Richard||Montreal Canadiens||50||27||21||48||50|
Note: GP = Games played; Min – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts
|Bill Durnan||Montreal Canadiens||40||2400||104||2.60||24||11||5||4|
|Harry Lumley||Detroit Red Wings||50||3000||159||3.18||20||20||10||2|
|Frank Brimsek||Boston Bruins||34||2040||111||3.26||16||14||4||2|
|Mike Karakas||Chicago Black Hawks||48||2880||166||3.46||22||19||7||1|
|Turk Broda||Toronto Maple Leafs||15||900||53||3.53||6||6||3||0|
|Frank McCool||Toronto Maple Leafs||22||1320||81||3.68||10||9||3||0|
|Chuck Rayner||New York Rangers||40||2377||149||3.76||12||21||7||1|
|Jim Henry||New York Rangers||11||623||42||4.04||1||7||2||1|
Stanley Cup Playoffs
|3||Chicago Black Hawks||0|
|4||Detroit Red Wings||1|
Boston Bruins 4, Detroit Red Wings 1
Meeting for the 5th time in the last six years in the playoffs, the Bruins would overcome the Wings in five games to avenge losing the previous three series. The return of the Kraut Line from war service saw them score half the Bruins goals in the series and Frank Brimsek out dueled Wings goalie Harry Lumley.
Game 1 saw the home town Bruins jump out to a 2-0 first period lead on a Shorthanded goal by defenseman Pat Egan and rookie Bill Shill. Harry Watson responded for the Wings in the second but Brimsek shut the door and Bep Guidolin sealed a 3-1 win for the Bruins.
Game 2 featured shutout play by Wings goalie Lumley. Pat Lundy opened the scoring at 7:32 of the first period on a breakaway. However, he crashed into the crossbar after scoring, separated his shoulder and was lost for the rest of the playoffs. Jim Conacher scored nearly six minutes after Lundy and and Watson's second of the series late in the third period led the Wings to a 3-0 win, tying the series 1-1.
Game 3 shifted the series to the Detroit Olympia where the Kraut Line dominated with a pair of goals each by Milt Schmidt and Woody Dumart plus a marker by Egan. Two late third period goals by the Wings Fern Gauthier and Carl Liscombe weren't enough as the Bruins won 5-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.
Game 4 was a very clean game with only one penalty in which the Kraut Line continued to produce on first period goals by Dumart and Bobby Bauer. After a scoreless second period, Bep Guidolin's 2nd of the series saw the Bruins up 3-0. Fern Gauthier responded but a goal by the Bruins Terry Reardon sank any hopes of a comeback. The Bruins outshot the Wings 35-19, won 4-1 and took a 3-1 stranglehold on the series.
Game 5 saw the series back in the Boston Garden where first period goals by Bauer and Guidolin put the Bruins up 2-0. Gauthier responded in the second period but Reardon tallied early in the third. The Wings mounted a furious comeback with a goal by Adam Brown and then Ed Bruneteau tied it up in the last minute, sending the game into overtime. The Bruins survived a penalty in OT by Egan and Don Gallinger was the hero with the winner at 9:51 on a solo rush that began behind the Bruins net and ended when he split the Wings defense and fired a shot home.
|1||March 19||Detroit Red Wings||1-3||Boston Bruins||0-1|
|2||March 21||Detroit Red Wings||3-0||Boston Bruins||1-1|
|3||March 24||Boston Bruins||5-2||Detroit Red Wings||2-1|
|4||March 26||Boston Bruins||4-1||Detroit Red Wings||3-1|
|5||March 28||Detroit Red Wings||3-4 (OT)||Boston Bruins||1-4|
|O'Brien Trophy:||Boston Bruins|
|Prince of Wales Trophy:||Montreal Canadiens|
|Calder Memorial Trophy:||Edgar Laprade, New York Rangers|
|Hart Memorial Trophy:||Max Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks|
|Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:||Toe Blake, Montreal Canadiens|
|Vezina Trophy:||Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens|
|First Team||Position||Second Team|
|Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens||G||Frank Brimsek, Boston Bruins|
|Jack Crawford, Boston Bruins||D||Ken Reardon, Montreal Canadiens|
|Butch Bouchard, Montreal Canadiens||D||Jack Stewart, Detroit Red Wings|
|Max Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks||C||Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens|
|Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens||RW||Bill Mosienko, Chicago Black Hawks|
|Gaye Stewart, Toronto Maple Leafs||LW||Toe Blake, Montreal Canadiens|
|Dick Irvin, Montreal Canadiens||Coach||Johnny Gottselig, Chicago Black Hawks|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1945-46 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Leo Reise, Jr., Chicago Black Hawks
- George Gee, Chicago Black Hawks
- Jimmy Peters, Montreal Canadiens
- Cal Gardner, New York Rangers
- Edgar Laprade, New York Rangers
- Tony Leswick, New York Rangers
- Jimmy Thomson, Toronto Maple Leafs
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1945-46 (listed with their last team):
- Herb Cain, Boston Bruins
- Mike Karakas, Chicago Black Hawks
- Carl Liscombe, Detroit Red Wings
- Earl Seibert, Detroit Red Wings
- Flash Hollett, Detroit Red Wings
- Mud Bruneteau, Detroit Red Wings
- Syd Howe, Detroit Red Wings
- Ott Heller, New York Rangers
- Lynn Patrick, New York Rangers
- Frank McCool, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Bob Davidson, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Sweeney Schriner, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Lorne Carr, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Mel Hill, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Chicago: 440,049 (new league record)
Highlights of the December 16, 1945 game between the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens which the Habs took 4-2. Goalie Jim Henry of the Rangers is under siege but keeps the game close. First goal of the game by Canadiens Billy Reay is shown as the last goal by Canadiens Bob Fillion.
|1945–46 NHL season by team|
|Teams||Boston • Chicago • Detroit • Montreal • New York • Toronto|
|See also||1946 Stanley Cup Finals|
|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|