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NHL Centennial

First all-NHL Cup Final game ends in tie

Bruins, Senators fail to score in opener of best-of-5 series in 1927

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor

The first all-NHL Stanley Cup Final game had almost everything; a packed house, great individual offensive efforts, fast action, great goaltending and the tense atmosphere that goes with competing for the most revered trophy in sports. 

What it didn't was a goal … or a winner. After the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators battled through 60 minutes of regulation time, referees Jerry Laflamme and Billy Bell ordered two 10-minute overtime periods. The game remained 0-0 until the referee's ended play for the night because of the condition of the ice. The opener of the best-of-5 series went into the books as a 0-0 tie.

The 1927 Final was the first to match two teams from the 10-year-old NHL after the Western Hockey League went out of business the previous year. The Bruins, who won the American Division championship by defeating the New York Rangers after finishing second during the regular season, hosted the Senators, who had finished first in the Canadian Division and eliminated the Montreal Canadiens in the Semifinals.

Fans packed the Boston Arena on April 7, 1927, for the first Final game to be played in Boston. The New York Times reported that the crowd of more than 9,000, including 3,000 standees, jammed every nook and cranny of the building.

It looked like the Senators had taken a 1-0 lead in the first period when Cy Denneny took a pass from Hooley Smith and beat Boston goaltender Hal Winkler from close-in. However, Bell ruled the play was offside, and the goal was waved off.

Ottawa goaltender Alex Connell came up big in the second period when he stopped Boston defenseman Eddie Shore's shot and foiled Harry Oliver on the rebound. The tight-checking third period produced few solid chances, and the game remained 0-0 through 60 minutes.

Video: Eddie Shore was Bruins' first great defenseman

The Senators failed to convert two chances in overtime when Denneny and Smith each missed the net. Boston got a power play in the second 10-minute extra period when Ottawa defenseman King Clancy was assessed the last of the six penalties called. Forward Jimmy Herberts swept the puck into the net for what appeared to be the winning goal, but Bell again ruled the play was offside.

Fans showered the ice with papers and programs, forcing a delay. When play resumed, the Bruins pressed the attack but couldn't score before play ended. The teams reportedly had agreed to play until a winner was decided, but the ice conditions were too poor.

Video: Star defenseman King Clancy did everything in hockey

Ties were not allowed in setting up the best-of-5 Final, and NHL President Frank Calder decided that the series would not be extended to a sixth game. The Senators won Game 2 the next night and ultimately won the series 2-0-2, becoming the first champion in the Cup's all-NHL era.

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