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The 1944–45 NHL season was the 28th season of the National Hockey League which lasted from October 28, 1944 to April 22, 1945 where six teams each played 50 games.

The Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup in seven games versus the Detroit Red Wings.

Regular SeasonEdit

NHL president Red Dutton offered to resign because of business concerns, but the league's board of governors dissuaded him. At one point, Conn Smythe was offered the presidency, but turned it down. Dutton then stayed on.

It was the year of the "Punch Line" as Rocket Richard scored 50 goals in 50 games, breaking Joe Malone's record of 44 goals and when Richard scored his 45th, Malone was on hand to present him with the record-breaking puck.

Richard had a five-goal, three-assist night against Detroit at the Montreal Forum on December 28, 1944. His centreman, Elmer Lach won the scoring race with 26 goals and 80 points.

Toe Blake finished third with 29 goals, 38 assists, and for the second time, an entire line finished first, second, third scoring. The previous time had been in 1939–40 when the Boston Bruins' "Kraut Line" of Milt Schmidt, Bobby Bauer and Woody Dumart accomplished the feat. Schmidt finished with 52 points in 48 games that year, and Bauer and Dumart 43 apiece.

Montreal dared not loan Paul Bibeault to Toronto again with his fine year the previous season and loaned him instead to Boston, but the Maple Leafs came up with a fine rookie named Frank McCool who won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's top rookie.

For the first time, a team produced three consecutive top rookies. McCool and Chicago netminder Mike Karakas tied for the league lead in shutouts with four each.

Bill Durnan won his second consecutive Vezina Trophy with Montreal. Flash Hollett became the first defenceman to score twenty goals in one season. The record would stand until Bobby Orr broke it several decades later.

A major trade that occurred this year was Chicago trading their great defenceman Earl Seibert to Detroit for Don Grosso, Cully Simon and Byron "Butch" McDonald.

After team owner Frederic McLaughlin died, it was just a matter of time before Bill Tobin would trade Seibert as the two of them did not get along.

PlayoffsEdit

SemifinalsEdit

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens

  • March 20, 1945: 1-0 (Winner: Toronto)
  • March 22, 1945: 3-2 (Winner: Toronto)
  • March 24, 1945: 4-1 (Winner: Montreal)
  • March 27, 1945: 4-1 (Winner: Montreal)
  • March 29, 1945: 4-3 Overtime (Winner: Toronto)
  • March 31, 1945: 3-2 (Winner: Toronto)

Toronto wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 2.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Boston Bruins

  • March 20, 1945: 4-3 (Winner: Boston)
  • March 22, 1945: 4-2 (Winner: Boston)
  • March 24, 1945: 3-2 (Winner: Detroit)
  • March 27, 1945: 3-2 (Winner: Detroit)
  • March 29, 1945: 3-2 Overtime (Winner: Detroit)
  • April 1, 1945: 5-3 (Winner: Boston)
  • April 3, 1945: 5-3 (Winner: Detroit)

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

FinalsEdit

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings

  • April 6, 1945: 1-0 (Winner: Toronto)
  • April 8, 1945: 2-0 (Winner: Toronto)
  • April 12, 1945: 1-0 (Winner: Toronto)
  • April 14, 1945: 5-3 (Winner: Detroit)
  • April 19, 1945: 2-0 (Winner: Detroit)
  • April 21, 1945: 1-0 Overtime (Winner: Detroit)
  • April 22, 1945: 2-1 (Winner: Toronto)

Toronto wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 3.

AwardsEdit

Award winners
O'Brien Cup:
(Playoff runner-up)
Detroit Red Wings
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Regular season champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Frank McCool, Toronto Maple Leafs
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Bill Mosienko, Chicago Black Hawks
Vezina Trophy:
(Fewest goals allowed)
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens
All-Star teams
First team   Position   Second team
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens G Mike Karakas, Chicago Black Hawks
Émile Bouchard, Montreal Canadiens D Glen Harmon, Montreal Canadiens
Flash Hollett, Detroit Red Wings D Babe Pratt, Toronto Maple Leafs
Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens C Bill Cowley, Boston Bruins
Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens RW Bill Mosienko, Chicago Black Hawks
Toe Blake, Montreal Canadiens LW Syd Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Dick Irvin, Montreal Canadiens Coach Jack Adams, Detroit Red Wings

Player StatisticsEdit

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

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Elmer Lach Montreal Canadiens 50 26 54 80 37
Maurice Richard Montreal Canadiens 50 50 23 73 46
Toe Blake Montreal Canadiens 49 29 38 67 25
Bill Cowley Boston Bruins 49 25 40 65 12
Ted Kennedy Toronto Maple Leafs 49 29 25 54 14
Bill Mosienko Chicago Black Hawks 50 28 26 54 0
Joe Carveth Detroit Red Wings 50 26 28 54 6
Ab DeMarco New York Rangers 50 24 30 54 10
Clint Smith Chicago Black Hawks 50 23 31 54 0
Syd Howe Detroit Red Wings 46 17 36 53 6

Leading goaltendersEdit

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

Player Team GP MIN GA GAA W L T SO
Bill Durnan Montreal Canadiens 50 3000 121 2.42 38 8 4 1
Frank McCool Toronto Maple Leafs 50 3000 161 3.22 24 22 4 4
Harry Lumley Detroit Red Wings 37 2220 119 3.22 24 10 3 1
Connie Dion Detroit Red Wings 12 720 39 3.25 6 4 2 0
Mike Karakas Chicago Black Hawks 48 2880 187 3.90 12 29 7 4
Harvey Bennett Boston Bruins 24 1470 103 4.20 10 12 2 0
Paul Bibeault Boston Bruins 26 1530 116 4.55 6 18 2 0
Ken McAuley New York Rangers 46 2760 227 4.93 11 25 10 1

DebutsEdit

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1944–45:

Last GamesEdit

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1944–45: