1928–29 NHL season

The 1928–29 NHL season was the 12th season of the National Hockey League. Ten teams played 44 games each. This was the first Stanley Cup final that saw two United States-based teams compete for the cup. The Boston Bruins defeated the New York Rangers two games to none in the best-of-three final.

1928–29 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationNovember 15, 1928 – March 29, 1929
Number of games44
Number of teams10
Regular season
Season championsMontreal Canadiens
Season MVPRoy Worters (Americans)
Top scorerAce Bailey (Maple Leafs)
Canadian Division championsMontreal Canadiens
American Division championsBoston Bruins
Stanley Cup
ChampionsBoston Bruins
  Runners-upNew York Rangers

League business

Notable rule changes

Forward passing was permitted from the neutral zone across the blue line into the attacking zone, as long as no offensive player preceded the puck into the attacking zone; forward passing within the attacking zone was still forbidden. Regular season overtime was changed to a 10-minute, non-sudden-death format, to be played in its entirety.

Regular season

Ottawa continued in financial trouble and sold Punch Broadbent to the New York Americans. They continued to erode, and at one point, rumour had it that they would be sold to a Chicago group. Frank Ahearn, the Senators owner, denied this, but admitted that the team was for sale to the highest bidder.

The New York Americans, last place finishers in 1927–28, surprised everyone by occupying first place for much of the season in the Canadian Division. They were held up by the great play of defenceman Lionel Conacher and goaltender Roy Worters. However, the Montreal Canadiens dislodged the Americans and finished first. Boston, led by rookie Tiny Thompson in goal, led the American Division.

Bruins' player George Owen was the first NHL player to regularly wear headgear for protective purposes. Prior to this, the only time protective headgear was worn was to temporarily protect injuries. Fifty-one years later the NHL mandated the use of helmets. Craig MacTavish was the last NHL player to not wear a helmet, retiring in 1997.

The Chicago Black Hawks set records for goal scoring futility, scoring on average less than one goal per game (33), while giving up a league worst 85 goals against. In one stretch from February 7 through February 28, the Hawks were shut out in eight consecutive games.[1] Forward Vic Ripley was the Hawks' leading goal scorer with only 11 goals and 2 assists for 13 points for the entire 44-game season.[2]

The season produced a record 120 shutouts in the 220 games played. George Hainsworth, Canadiens goaltender, set an NHL record that remains unmatched through the 2015–16 season of 22 shutouts and a 0.92 goals against average. Seven other goaltenders hit double digits in shutouts.[1]

Final standings

Canadian Division
Montreal Canadiens4422715714346559
New York Americans44191312535348650
Toronto Maple Leafs4421185856954147
Ottawa Senators44141713546746141
Montreal Maroons4415209676563839
American Division
Boston Bruins4426135895247257
New York Rangers44211310726538452
Detroit Cougars4419169726338147
Pittsburgh Pirates449278468032426
Chicago Black Hawks447298338536322

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


The playoff format was revised to match the divisional first-place teams in a best-of-five semifinal. The divisional second-place teams and third-place teams played off in a two-game total-goals series to determine the participants for the other best-of-three semifinal. The semifinal winners then played off in a best-of-three series for the Cup.

Playoff bracket

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Stanley Cup Finals
  C1 Mtl Canadiens 0  
    A1 Boston 3  
    A1 Boston 2
  A2 NY Rangers 0
  C2 NY Americans 0G  
A2 NY Rangers 1G  
A2 NY Rangers 2
    C3 Toronto 0  
C3 Toronto 7G
  A3 Detroit 2G  


(A2) New York Rangers vs. (C2) New York Americans

New York Rangers won series on total goals 1–0

(C3) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (A3) Detroit Cougars

Toronto won the series on total goals 7–2


(C1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (A1) Boston Bruins

Boston won series 3–0

(A2) New York Rangers vs. (C3) Toronto Maple Leafs

New York won series 2–0

Stanley Cup Finals

The Bruins won their first Stanley Cup defeating the Rangers. In the process, Boston became one of the few Cup winners in history to not lose a single game in the playoffs, and the last team until 1952 to go undefeated in the playoffs.

Boston won series 2–0


Frank Boucher won his second consecutive Lady Byng award and George Hainsworth won his third consecutive Vezina Trophy.

1928–29 NHL awards
O'Brien Cup:
(Canadian Division champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(American Division champion)
Boston Bruins
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Roy Worters, New York Americans
Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Frank Boucher, New York Rangers
Vezina Trophy:
(Fewest goals allowed)
George Hainsworth, Montreal Canadiens

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

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

Ace BaileyToronto Maple Leafs4422103278
Nels StewartMontreal Maroons442182974
Carson CooperDetroit Cougars431892714
Howie MorenzMontreal Canadiens4217102747
Andy BlairToronto Maple Leafs4412152741
Frank BoucherNew York Rangers441016268
Harry OliverBoston Bruins431762324
Bill CookNew York Rangers431582341
Jimmy WardMontreal Maroons441482246
Frank FinniganOttawa Senators441541971

Source: NHL.[3]

Leading goaltenders

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

Player Team GP W L T Mins GA SO GAA
George HainsworthMontreal Canadiens4422715280043220.92
Tiny ThompsonBoston Bruins4426135271052121.15
Roy WortersNew York Americans44161210239046131.15
Dolly DolsonDetroit Cougars3819169275063101.37
John Ross RoachNew York Rangers44211310276065131.41

Source: hockey-reference.com[4]


American Division

Canadian Division


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1928–29 (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 1928–29 (listed with their last team):

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.
  • 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. Dryden 2000, p. 31.
  2. MacFarlane, Brian. "Worst NHL Team Ever". Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  3. Dinger 2011, p. 146.
  4. "1928–29 NHL Season Goalie Statistics". hockey-reference.com. Retrieved January 5, 2011.
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