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1948–49 NHL season: Map


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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

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 bad misfortune. Buddy O'Connor, Frank Eddolls, Edgar Laprade, Bill Moe, and Tony Leswick were travelling in their car from Montreal to Saranac Lake, when their car 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 in the head requiring several stitches and Leswick only escaped with a few bruises. The Rangers were affected so easily, 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 Forummarker 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 and they fought, and then all hands joined in. Mortson, Richard, Toronto's Howie Meeker and Mosdell were banished with majors. Play had scarcely began when Ken Reardon (Montreal) and Joe Klukay (Toronto) began fencing and 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. In the game itself, Turk Broda quietly picked up his first shutout of the year as the Leafs got 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, Ontariomarker 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 Emile "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 shutoutsand won his fifth Vezina Trophy in six years.

Rule changes

A new rule, often called the "Durnan Rule", was introduced for the start of the season stating that goalies cannot be captains and wear the "C" or "A". Specifically, NHL Rule 14-D reads: No playing Coach or playing Manager or goalkeeper shall be permitted to act as Captain or Alternate Captain.[173907]

This rule was introduced because Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens goalie and captain, would frequently leave his crease to dispute calls with the referees. Opposing teams claimed that this would give the Canadiens unscheduled timeouts during strategic points in games. It would be another sixty years before another goalie would be captain. For the 2008–09 season, the Vancouver Canucks named Roberto Luongo their 12th team captain and NHL history's seventh goalie captain.

Final standings

Scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Roy Conacher Chicago Black Hawks 60 26 42 68 8
Doug Bentley Chicago Black Hawks 60 23 43 66 38
Sid Abel Detroit Red Wings 60 28 26 54 49
Ted Lindsay Detroit Red Wings 50 26 28 54 97
Jim Conacher Chicago Black Hawks / Detroit Red Wings 59 26 23 49 43
Paul Ronty Boston Bruins 60 20 29 49 11
Harry Watson Toronto Maple Leafs 60 26 19 45 30
Billy Reay Montreal Canadiens 60 22 23 45 33
Gus Bodnar Chicago Black Hawks 59 16 26 45 14
Johnny Peirson Boston Bruins 59 22 21 43 45


Playoff bracket


Detroit Red Wings vs. Montreal Canadiens
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

Detroit wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 3

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins
Date Away Score Home Score Notes
March 22 Toronto Maple Leafs 3 Boston Bruins 0
March 24 Toronto Maple Leafs 3 Boston Bruins 2
March 26 Boston Bruins 5 Toronto Maple Leafs 4 OT
March 29 Boston Bruins 1 Toronto Maple Leafs 3
March 30 Toronto Maple Leafs 3 Boston Bruins 2
Toronto wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 1

Stanley Cup Finals

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings
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

Toronto wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 0

NHL awards

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


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


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