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The 1948-49 NHL season was the 32nd season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 60 games.

Regular Season

Captain Milt Schmidt wears the first "Spoked B" Bruins jersey.

Max Quackenbush sports the new black jersey in 1948.

To celebrate their 25th year in the NHL, the Bruins retired the "number" jerseys they'd worn since 1936 for a white jersey with the "spoked B" logo for the first time. On the horizontal spokes to the left and right of the "B" was "24" and "49", marking the year the Bruins entered the NHL and the 25th anniversary year. Also introduced was a black jersey with a gold block "B". The Bruins had worn jerseys with a brown and then black "B" from 1932-36. Although Milt Schmidt wore the "C" and Jack Crawford an "A", Crawford was designated the team captain with Murray Henderson wearing the other "A."

Ed Sandford from Pete Babando, October 16, 1948.

Don Gallinger, hopeful he could win an appeal of his suspension in the gambing scandal, finally admitted to gambling and was expelled from the NHL for life in September.

On October 8, 1948, the New York Rangers were due to start their season against the Montreal Canadiens, when the team suffered a bad misfortune. Buddy O'Connor, Frank Eddolls, Edgar Laprade, Bill Moe and Tony Leswick were travelling by car from Montreal to Saranac Lake, when it was struck by a truck near Rouse's Point, New York. O'Connor suffered several broken ribs, Eddolls suffered a severed tendon in his knee, Laprade suffered a broken nose, Moe had a cut on the head requiring stitches and Leswick escaped with only a few bruises. This had a major impact on the Rangers season as they only scored 133 goals and finished last.

A league record of ten major penalties was set November 25, 1948 when 11,000 fans at the Montreal Forum witnessed a donnybrook. It started when the Habs' Ken Mosdell elbowed Maple Leaf Gus Mortson. Mortson retaliated by knocking Elliot de Grey down with his stick. Montreal's Maurice Richard then sprang onto Mortson's back, they fought and then all hands joined in. Mortson, Richard, Toronto's Howie Meeker and Mosdell were assessed major penalties. Play had scarcely resumed when the Habs Ken Reardon and the Leafs Joe Klukay began fencing. Bill Barilko went at Reardon, while Klukay got into it with Billy Reay, and in another fight, Hal Laycoe got into it with Garth Boesch. Turk Broda quietly picked up his first shutout of the year as the Leafs beat the Canadiens 2-0.

A sad note was the death of former Pittsburgh Pirates defenceman Tex White, who was found dead in his bed at his home in Port Colborne, Ontario on December 12. He was only 48 years old.

Both Detroit and Montreal lost key players to injury this year. Montreal lost Elmer Lach with a fractured jaw when he collided with Toronto defenceman Bob Goldham, and Butch Bouchard injured a knee. Detroit lost Gordie Howe, who underwent knee surgery.

Bill Durnan got hot in the second half of the season and recorded four consecutive shutouts, going 309 minutes and 21 seconds without giving up a goal. In all, Durnan had 10 shutouts and won his fifth Vezina Trophy in six years.

Final Standings

National Hockey League
Detroit Red Wings 60 34 19 7 75 195 145
Boston Bruins 60 29 23 8 66 178 163
Montreal Canadiens 60 28 23 9 65 152 126
Toronto Maple Leafs 60 22 25 13 57 147 161
Chicago Black Hawks 60 21 31 8 50 173 211
New York Rangers 60 18 31 11 47 133 172

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.

Scoring Leaders

Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Roy Conacher Chicago Black Hawks 60 26 42 68 8
Doug Bentley Chicago Black Hawks 60 23 43 66 38
Ted Lindsay Detroit Red Wings 50 26 28 54 97
Sid Abel Detroit Red Wings 60 28 26 54 49
Jim Conacher Chicago Black Hawks / Detroit Red Wings 59 26 23 49 43
Paul Ronty Boston Bruins 60 20 29 49 11

Leading Goaltenders

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

Player Team GP Mins GA GAA W L T SO
Bill Durnan Montreal Canadiens 60 3600 126 2.10 28 23 9 10
Harry Lumley Detroit Red Wings 60 3600 145 2.42 34 19 7 6
Turk Broda Toronto Maple Leafs 60 3600 161 2.68 22 25 13 5
Frank Brimsek Boston Bruins 54 3240 147 2.72 26 20 8 1
Chuck Rayner New York Rangers 58 3480 168 2.90 16 31 11 7
Jim Henry Chicago Black Hawks 60 3600 211 3.52 21 31 8 0

Stanley Cup Playoffs

Playoff Bracket

Semifinals Finals
1 Detroit Red Wings 4
3 Montreal Canadiens 3
1 Detroit Red Wings 0
4 Toronto Maple Leafs 4
2 Boston Bruins 1
4 Toronto Maple Leafs 4

Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Boston Bruins 1

Having met the year before in the 1948 Semi-finals, the Leafs dispatched the Bruins again by the same 4-1 series score.

Game 1 at Maple Leaf Gardens saw Turk Broda earn a shutout. A Power play goal by the Leafs Harry Watson at 5:15 of the first with the Bruins Pat Egan in the box opened the scoring. Watson potted his second goal in the second frame while Max Bentley completed the 3-0 win with his goal in the third period.

Leafs #4 Harry Watson scores the winner, Game 2 of the 1949 Semi-finals, March 24, 1949.

Game 2 in Toronto was a closer match with the Leafs Ray Timgren scoring on the power play at 3:36 of the first with the Bruins Pat Egan again in the box. Woody Dumart scored a Shorthanded goal on the same Leafs PP to even the score. Late in the second period, the Bruins Paul Ronty scored his first playoff goal to put the Bruins up 2-1. Harry Watson was once again the hero, scoring twice in the third period to win it 3-2 for the Leafs.

Game 3 at the Boston Garden saw the Leafs open the scoring for the third consecutive game when Ted Kennedy scored at 8:46. The Bruins Grant Warwick tied it up and Dumart's 2nd of the playoffs had the Bruins up 2-1 at the end of the first period. The Leafs Bill Barilko took a tripping penalty in the second and Johnny Peirson extended the Bruins lead on the power play. However, the Leafs Gus Mortson scored a shorthanded goal on the same PP and then Joe Klukay tied it at 3-3 with 3 seconds left in the second period. Ed Sandford and Fleming Mackell traded goals in the third and the game went into overtime. Just after 17:00, a face-off in the Leafs zone saw Sandford win it against Ted Kennedy and get the puck to Dumart whose one-timer beat Broda for a 5-4 win for home team. Bruins all-star defenseman Jack Crawford had to leave the game with a rib injury and would miss game 4.

Game 4 in Boston saw Fleming Mackell opening the scoring for the Leafs for the 4th consecutive game. Johnny Peirson tied it up on the power play and the already playing without Crawford, the Bruins lost Jimmy Peters with an injured shoulder after he took a check from Bill Juzda. In the second period, after the Bruins Milt Schmidt left the game with an injury, the shorthanded Bruins couldn't hold off the Leafs who took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Sid Smith. In the third period, a slashing penalty to the Bruins Murray Henderson with 5 minutes left resulted in Smith scoring on the PP for a 3-1 Leafs win and a 3-1 stranglehold in the series.

Brimsek makes a save while #10 Fern Flaman and #16 Ed Harrison assist. Game 5 of the 1949 Semi-Finals, March 30, 1949.

Game 5 in Toronto again saw the Leafs score first when Cal Gardner scored on the PP. Playing without Crawford, Peters and Schmidt, the Bruins Grant Warwick tied it up, also on the PP, until Ray Timgren's trickler made it past Frank Brimsek to put the Leafs up 2-1 at the end of the first period. Six minor penalties were called in the second period but Max Bentley's second of the series was the only goal, putting the Leafs up 3-1. Desperate, the Bruins poured it on in the third but when Fern Flaman was called for boarding at 9:29, the fans littered the ice, causing a 15 minute delay before play started again. Johnny Peirson made it close with less than a minute left but the Leafs held on for a 3-2 win to take the series in 5 games.

# Date Visitor Score Home Record
1 March 22 Boston Bruins 0-3 Toronto Maple Leafs 0-1
2 March 24 Boston Bruins 2-3 Toronto Maple Leafs 0-2
3 March 26 Toronto Maple Leafs 4-5 (OT) Boston Bruins 2-1
4 March 29 Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 Boston Bruins 3-1
5 March 30 Boston Bruins 2-3 Toronto Maple Leafs 1-4

Detroit Red Wings 4, Montreal Canadiens 3

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
March 22 Montreal Canadiens 1 Detroit Red Wings 2 OT
March 24 Montreal Canadiens 4 Detroit Red Wings 3 OT
March 26 Detroit Red Wings 2 Montreal Canadiens 3
March 29 Detroit Red Wings 3 Montreal Canadiens 1
March 31 Montreal Canadiens 1 Detroit Red Wings 3
April 2 Detroit Red Wings 1 Montreal Canadiens 3
April 5 Montreal Canadiens 1 Detroit Red Wings 3

Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Detroit Red Wings 0

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 8 Toronto Maple Leafs 3 Detroit Red Wings 2
April 10 Toronto Maple Leafs 3 Detroit Red Wings 1
April 13 Detroit Red Wings 1 Toronto Maple Leafs 3
April 16 Detroit Red Wings 1 Toronto Maple Leafs 3

See 1949 Stanley Cup Finals.

NHL Awards

O'Brien Trophy: Detroit Red Wings
Prince of Wales Trophy: Detroit Red Wings
Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Roy Conacher, Chicago Black Hawks
Calder Memorial Trophy: Pentti Lund, New York Rangers
Hart Memorial Trophy: Sid Abel, Detroit Red Wings
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Bill Quackenbush, Detroit Red Wings
Vezina Trophy: Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens

All-Star Teams

First Team   Position   Second Team
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens G Chuck Rayner, New York Rangers
Bill Quackenbush, Detroit Red Wings D Glen Harmon, Montreal Canadiens
Jack Stewart, Detroit Red Wings D Ken Reardon, Montreal Canadiens
Sid Abel, Detroit Red Wings C Doug Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks
Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens RW Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Roy Conacher, Chicago Black Hawks LW Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings

Regular Season Attendance

Chicago: 491,494
Toronto: 417,409
Boston: 406,227
Detroit: 402,153
New York: 366,278
Montreal: 326,204

Total: 2,409,765


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1948-49 (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 1948-49 (listed with their last team):


See Also


NHL Seasons

1944-45 | 1945-46 | 1946-47 | 1947-48 | 1948-49 | 1949-50 | 1950-51 | 1951-52 | 1952-53