1927–28 NHL season

The 1927–28 NHL season was the 11th season of the National Hockey League. Ten teams played 44 games each. The New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup beating the Montreal Maroons, becoming the first United States-based NHL team to win it.

1927–28 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationNovember 15, 1927 – April 14, 1928
Number of games44
Number of teams10
Regular season
Season championsMontreal Canadiens
Top scorerHowie Morenz (Canadiens)
Canadian Division championsMontreal Canadiens
American Division championsBoston Bruins
Stanley Cup
ChampionsNew York Rangers
  Runners-upMontreal Maroons

League business

The O'Brien Cup, which used to go to the National Hockey Association (NHA), later the NHL league champion, would now go to the winner of the Canadian Division. The Prince of Wales Trophy, first awarded to the winner of the first game at Madison Square Garden, and later the NHL league champion, would now go to the winner of the American division.

The Toronto Maple Leafs introduce new sweaters of blue and white, changing from the former green logo on white uniform. They are the first team in the NHL to have a set of white uniforms and a set of dark uniforms.[1][2]

Rule changes

The league changed the rule for substitution, allowing "on the fly" changes, as long as the player going off is on the bench before the substitute goes on.[3]

Regular season

The Chicago Black Hawks fired coach Pete Muldoon before the season, and coaching was split between Hugh Lehman and Barney Stanley. The Black Hawks finished last, recording only seven wins. The firing of Muldoon prompted him to publicly put "a curse" (known as the "curse of the Muldoons") on the Black Hawks, stating that the team would never win the NHL pennant. The Black Hawks would not place first in the NHL until the 1966–67 season.[4]

The Ottawa Senators, the smallest market in the league, were affected by franchises in the U.S. and sold their star right wing Hooley Smith to the Montreal Maroons for $22,500 plus the return of right wing Punch Broadbent, followed by the sale of defenceman Edwin Gorman to Toronto.

Howie Morenz, the NHL's top drawing card, dominated the scoring race and was runaway winner of the Hart Trophy. He scored 33 goals and led the league in assists as well. Despite Ottawa's financial difficulties, Alex Connell, Ottawa goalkeeper, set an all-time record with six consecutive shutouts. His record shutout sequence reached 460 minutes and 59 seconds without being scored on.[5]

Toronto, now the Maple Leafs, showed power early on and it looked like they would make the playoffs. However, injuries to Hap Day and Bill Carson doomed the team, and the Leafs sagged to fourth, out of the playoffs for the third straight year. It would take another 80 years until the Leafs missed the playoffs three straight times again.

Thanks to the great play of Eddie Shore and goaltender Hal Winkler, who tied with Connell for the leader in shutouts with 15, the Boston Bruins finished first for the first time in the American Division, while the Canadiens, who were running away with the Canadian Division at mid-season, slumped after an injury to Pit Lepine but managed to hold onto first place at season's end.

Final standings

Canadian Division
Montreal Canadiens44261171164849659
Montreal Maroons4424146967754954
Ottawa Senators44201410785748350
Toronto Maple Leafs4418188898843644
New York Americans44112766312856328
American Division
Boston Bruins44201311777055851
New York Rangers4419169947946247
Pittsburgh Pirates4419178677639546
Detroit Cougars4419196887939544
Chicago Black Hawks4473436813437517

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF= Goals For, GA = Goals Against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Note: Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold


In the Canadian Division, the Montreal Maroons beat the Ottawa Senators and then went to the limit against the Canadiens before Russell Oatman put the Maroons into the finals with a goal in overtime.

In the American Division, the New York Rangers knocked off the Pittsburgh Pirates in a rough series, and then beat Boston to go to the finals against the Montreal Maroons.

Playoff bracket

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Stanley Cup Finals
  C1 Mtl Canadiens 2G  
    C2 Mtl Maroons 3G  
C2 Mtl Maroons 3G
  C3 Ottawa 1G  
    C2 Mtl Maroons 2
  A2 NY Rangers 3
A1 Boston 2G
    A2 NY Rangers 5G  
A2 NY Rangers 6G
  A3 Pittsburgh 4G  


(A2) New York Rangers vs. (A3) Pittsburgh Pirates

New York won series on total goals 6–4

(C2) Montreal Maroons vs. (C3) Ottawa Senators

Montreal won series on total goals 3–1


(A1) Boston Bruins vs. (A2) New York Rangers

New York won series on total goals 5–2

(C1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (C2) Montreal Maroons

Montreal Maroons won series on total goals 3–2

Stanley Cup Finals

The circus knocked the Rangers out of Madison Square Garden, and all games were played in the Montreal Forum, even though Boston offered to host the Rangers. The Maroons won game one 2–0, with Nels Stewart and goaltender Clint Benedict the stars.

Drama took over in game two when Nels Stewart fired a hard shot that struck New York goaltender Lorne Chabot in the eye. He could not continue, and the Rangers needed a goaltender. However, when coach Eddie Gerard refused to let the Rangers use Alex Connell or minor league goaltender Hugh McCormick, Lester Patrick, Ranger coach, in anger, decided to don the pads himself.[5] The Rangers then body-blasted any Maroon who got near Patrick. Bill Cook scored, putting the Rangers ahead 1–0, but Nels Stewart was not to be denied and scored, tying the game. In overtime, Frank Boucher got the winner for the Rangers and they carried Patrick, tears streaming down his eyes, off the ice. Patrick stopped 17 of 18 shots he faced.[5]

Joe "Red Light" Miller, New York Americans goalie, was allowed to take Chabot's place in goal and he played well in a 2–0 loss in game three. However, Frank Boucher starred as the Rangers took the next two games, and the Stanley Cup. Drama almost took place in the final game when Miller was badly cut on a shot, but he was able to continue. The crowd became unruly at times and referee Mike Rodden took abuse for disallowed goals by Maroon players. Even NHL president Frank Calder was a target of some fans for not intervening. The Rangers became the second American team to win the Cup and the first NHL American team to do so. In addition, the Rangers became the first team to win the Stanley Cup at the Montreal Forum which was only repeated in 1989

New York won series 3–2


The terms for awarding the O'Brien Cup and the Prince of Wales Trophy were changed to honour the top finisher in each of the NHL's divisions. Howie Morenz won the Hart Trophy, the first of three times he would be named most valuable player. Frank Boucher won the Lady Byng, the first of seven times he would win the award. George Hainsworth won the Vezina Trophy for the second consecutive year.

1927–28 NHL awards
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Howie Morenz, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Frank Boucher, New York Rangers
O'Brien Cup:
(Canadian Division champions)
Montreal Canadiens
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(American Division champions)
Boston Bruins
Vezina Trophy:
(Fewest goals allowed)
George Hainsworth, Montreal Canadiens

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts
Howie MorenzMontreal Canadiens43331851
Aurel JoliatMontreal Canadiens44281139
Frank BoucherNew York Rangers44231235
George HayDetroit Cougars42221335
Nels StewartMontreal Maroons4127734
Art GagneMontreal Canadiens44201030
Bun CookNew York Rangers44141428
Bill CarsonToronto Maple Leafs3220626
Frank FinniganOttawa Senators3820525
Bill CookNew York Rangers4318624
Duke KeatsDetroit Cougars/Chicago Black Hawks38141024

Source: NHL[6]

Leading goaltenders

Note: GP = Games played; Mins = Minutes played; GA = Goals against; SO = Shut outs; GAA = Goals against average

Player Team GP Mins GA SO GAA
George HainsworthMontreal Canadiens44273048131.05
Alex ConnellOttawa Senators44276057151.24
Hal WinklerBoston Bruins44278070151.51
Roy WortersPittsburgh Pirates44274076111.66
Clint BenedictMontreal Maroons4426907661.70

Source: hockey-reference.com[7]


American Division

Canadian Division


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1927–28 (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 1927–28 (listed with their last team):* Denotes last game was in the playoffs.

See also


  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X.
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5.
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9.
  • Duplacey, James (1996). The annotated rules of hockey. New York, NY: Lyons & Burford, Publishers. ISBN 1-55821-466-6.
  • Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1.
  • McFarlane, Brian (1973). The Story of the National Hockey League. New York, NY: Pagurian Press. ISBN 0-684-13424-1.
  1. "1927–28 – The Hockey Uniform Database". nhluniforms.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-07. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  2. "Toronto Maple Leafs 2011–12 Media Guide" (PDF). Toronto Maple Leafs. 2011. p. 193.
  3. Duplacey 1996, p. 33.
  4. McFarlane, p. 40.
  5. Dryden 2000, p. 30.
  6. Dinger 2011, p. 146.
  7. "1927–28 NHL Season Goalie Statistics". hockey-reference.com. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
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