The New York Rangers were affected more from World War II than any other National Hockey League team. From a powerhouse that had won the Stanley Cup in 1940, they were but a shell of a team by 1944. They had asked the league for permission to suspend operations but the league refused.
Going into the weekend of January 22-23, 1944, the Rangers had a record of 5-22-1 and were mired in last place. On Saturday, January 22, they visited the Toronto Maple Leafs and upset them 5-1 (notice the numbers 1 and 5). The otherwise weak Rangers built up a 4-0 lead in the first two periods before trading goals in the third. Even though the Rangers won they were tied in shots on goal 37-37. Only superb goaltending by Ken McAuley kept them in the game.
The next night (Sunday, January 24) the Rangers visited the Detroit Red Wings.
The Wings clobbered them 15-0. Curiously, the score stood at a unremarkable 2-0 throughout the first half of the game. Center Murray Armstrong opened the scoring at 2:48 of the first period, followed by a Bill Quackenbush goal at 18:01. Then, approaching the nine-minute mark of the second period, the Wings scored to make it 3-0. And then they scored constantly. Before the period was over, Detroit had fired five more goals past Rangers netminder Ken McAuley to build an overwhelming 7-0 lead.
They scored two goals in the first, five in the second, and eight in the third periods.
Superstar Syd Howe scored three goals and one assist in the third period. Other scorers included Murray Armstrong, Carl Liscombe, and Don Grosso with two each and singles for Bill Quackenbush, Adam Brown, Mud Bruneteau, Harold Jackson, Ken Kilrea, and Flash Hollett.
The Rangers did not win another game all season.