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Stanley Cup Champions 1940-1949

Maple Leafs own decade with five Cups; Canadiens win twice

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The New York Rangers opened the 1940s by lifting the Stanley Cup for the third time since entering the NHL in 1926. New York wouldn't win again for 54 years. The Boston Bruins' Cup win in 1941 made it six consecutive championships won by U.S.-based teams, but by the end of the decade the trophy had taken up residence north of the border. The Toronto Maple Leafs won the Cup in historic fashion in 1942 with the only rally from a 3-0 deficit in Stanley Cup Final history. The Detroit Red Wings, victims of that comeback, redeemed themselves a year later, but the Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens combined to take the final six titles of the decade. Toronto capped that run with three straight championships, giving the Maple Leafs five in eight years.

 

1940 New York Rangers

With the circus booked for a long-term stint at Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers overcame a challenging scheduling conflict to win the third Stanley Cup in franchise history. The Rangers defeated Toronto in the Stanley Cup Final despite being forced to vacate the Garden for all but Games 1 of the 2 of the series.

Three of the Rangers' four game-winning goals were scored in overtime, including the Cup-winner by Bryan Hextall in Game 6. Brothers Lynn and Murray 'Muzz' Patrick skated for the winners to become the third and fourth members of the Patrick family, joining father (and Rangers GM) Lester and uncle Frank (1915 Vancouver), to have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup. Frank Boucher won the Stanley Cup as a rookie head coach, adding to the two titles he had won as a Rangers' star forward in 1928 and 1933.

KEY COMPONENTS

Captain: Art Coulter
Stanley Cup-Winning Goal: Bryan Hextall (2:07, OT, Game 6)
Head Coach: Frank Boucher
General Manager: Lester Patrick 

NOTABLE PLAYERS

Neil Colville C
Bryan Hextall RW
Phil Watson RW
Babe Pratt D
Dave Kerr G

ROAD TO THE CUP

Semifinals: Boston Bruins (4-2)
Stanley Cup Final: Toronto Maple Leafs (4-2)

 

1941 Boston Bruins

 

In the third Stanley Cup Final played under the best-of-7 format, the Boston Bruins became the first club to capture the championship in four straight games. Led by Milt Schmidt, who topped all playoff scorers with 11 points, the Bruins swept the Detroit Red Wings for their second title in three seasons.

The powerhouse Bruins had won the NHL regular-season title for the fourth consecutive season, posting a 27-8-13 record. Among the many highlights was a then-record 23-game unbeaten streak (15-0-8). Bill Cowley won the NHL scoring title (17-45-62), setting the League's single-season assists record in the process, and was voted winner of the Hart Trophy as Most Valuable Player. Schmidt's 'Kraut Line' partner Bobby Bauer won his second consecutive Lady Byng Trophy. Goaltender Frank Brimsek played the entire regular season, recording just eight losses in 48 appearances with a 2.01 goals-against average.

KEY COMPONENTS

Captain: Dit Clapper
Stanley Cup-Winning Goal: Bobby Bauer (8:43, 2nd Period, Game 4)
Head Coach: Cooney Weiland
General Manager: Art Ross

NOTABLE PLAYERS

Roy Conacher LW
Milt Schmidt C
Eddie Wiseman RW
Flash Hollett D
Frank Brimsek G

ROAD TO THE CUP

Semifinals: Toronto Maple Leafs (4-3)
Stanley Cup Final: Detroit Red Wings (4-0)

 

1942 Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs became the first team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 deficit and win a best-of-7 series. Toronto lost the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final to the Detroit Red Wings, but rebounded with four consecutive wins. 

Only three other teams have accomplished this feat since and the Maple Leafs remain the sole team to do so in the Stanley Cup Final. Syl Apps led the Maple Leafs and tied for the NHL lead in playoff scoring with 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists), including three goals and two assists in Game 5 of the Final. After losing the first three games of the series, Leafs coach Hap Day benched his regular-season leading scorer Gordie Drillon, Bucko McDonald and Hank Goldup. Among those replacing the regulars was Don Metz, who went on to score four goals and three assists in the remaining four games.

KEY COMPONENTS

Captain: Syl Apps
Stanley Cup-Winning Goal: Pete Langelle (9:48, 3rd Period, Game7)
Head Coach: Hap Day
General Manager: Conn Smythe

NOTABLE PLAYERS

Syl Apps C
Sweeney Schriner LW
Billy Taylor C
Wally Stanowski D
Turk Broda G

ROAD TO THE CUP

Semifinals: New York Rangers (4-2)
Stanley Cup Final: Detroit Red Wings (4-3)

 

1943 Detroit Red Wings

After losing the Stanley Cup Final in 1941 and 1942, the Detroit Red Wings' third consecutive trip to the Final proved to be the charm as they swept the Boston Bruins and captured the third Stanley Cup in franchise history. The result reversed a 4-0 setback the Red Wings had received from the Bruins two years before.

Red Wings goaltender Johnny Mowers blanked the Bruins in Games 3 and 4 at Boston Garden to ice the championship. The Red Wings' triumph came at the dawn of new era in NHL history. The departure of the New York Americans franchise during the offseason had left the Red Wings, Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs - the so-called 'Original Six.' Detroit had finished first overall in the regular season with 61 points (25-14-11) despite having no players among the NHL's top 10 scorers.

KEY COMPONENTS

Captain: Sid Abel
Stanley Cup-Winning Goal: Joe Carveth (12:09, 1st Period, Game 4)
Head Coach: Jack Adams
General Manager: Jack Adams

NOTABLE PLAYERS

Sid Abel C
Mud Bruneteau RW
Carl Liscombe LW
Jack Stewart D
Johnny Mowers G

ROAD TO THE CUP

Semifinals: Toronto Maple Leafs (4-2)
Stanley Cup Final: Boston Bruins (4-0)

 

1944 Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens won their first Stanley Cup since 1931 in a spring famous for the sensational postseason debut of Maurice Richard, who led all playoff goal-scorers with 12 in nine games. Skating in just the second playoff game of his NHL career, in Game 2 of the Semifinals against Toronto, Richard scored all five goals in a 5-1 win, for which he was named the game's First, Second and Third Star. 

Facing Chicago in the Stanley Cup Final, Richard scored five goals in Montreal's four-game sweep, including his first of three career hat tricks in the Final. Richard and his 'Punch Line' partners Elmer Lach and Toe Blake were dominant, combining for 10 of the Canadiens' 16 goals in the series. Blake, who had notched four assists in Game 4 entering overtime, netted the Cup-winning goal at 9:12, marking the fourth time in NHL history the Stanley Cup had been won in extra time.

KEY COMPONENTS

Captain: Toe Blake
Stanley Cup-Winning Goal: Toe Blake (9:12, OT, Game 4)
Head Coach: Dick Irvin
General Manager: Tommy Gorman

NOTABLE PLAYERS

Toe Blake LW
Elmer Lach C
Maurice Richard RW
Butch Bouchard D
Bill Durnan G

ROAD TO THE CUP

Semifinals: Toronto Maple Leafs (4-1)
Stanley Cup Final: Chicago Black Hawks (4-0)

 

1945 Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs became the first team in NHL history to win Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on the road, putting the finishing touch on a roller-coaster postseason that included improbable comebacks and unsung heroes. In a bizarre near-reversal of the 1942 Stanley Cup Final against Detroit, in which Toronto won the series it had trailed 3-0, the Maple Leafs relinquished a 3-0 series lead to the Red Wings before gutting out the Game 7 win in Detroit. 

Toronto rookie Frank McCool, replacing star goaltender Turk Broda who was away for military service, shut out the Red Wings in Games 1, 2 and 3. McCool remains the only goaltender in NHL history with three consecutive shutouts in the Final. Nineteen-year-old Ted Kennedy led the NHL playoffs in goals (7), including a hat trick in a losing effort in Game 4 of the Final, and was second overall in points (9).

KEY COMPONENTS

Captain: Bob Davidson
Stanley Cup-Winning Goal: Babe Pratt (12:14, 3rd Period, Game 7)
Head Coach: Hap Day
General Manager: Conn Smythe 

NOTABLE PLAYERS

Mel Hill RW
Ted Kennedy C
Sweeney Schriner LW
Babe Pratt D
Frank McCool G

ROAD TO THE CUP

Semifinals: Montreal Canadiens (4-2)
Stanley Cup Final: Detroit Red Wings (4-3)

 

1946 Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens captured their second Stanley Cup in three years, winning a Cup Final showcasing of two of hockey's greatest all-time trios: Montreal's 'Punch Line' of Maurice Richard, Elmer Lach and Toe Blake, and Boston's 'Kraut Line' of Milt Schmidt, Bobby Bauer and Woody Dumart. The Canadiens had finished with the NHL's best regular-season record (28-17-5) and waltzed through the Semifinals by sweeping the Chicago Black Hawks 4-0 and outscoring them 26-7.

The Bruins provided a stiffer challenge, with three games extended to overtime, but the Canadiens prevailed 4-1. The Punch Line, which had finished 1-2-3 League-wide in regular-season scoring, accounted for 19 of the 45 Montreal goals in the postseason. Maurice Richard scored the first of his then-record six career overtime goals in Game 1. Goaltender Bill Durnan, who had captured a third consecutive Vezina Trophy, allowed just 20 goals in nine playoff games, posting a 2.07 goals-against average.

KEY COMPONENTS

Captain: Toe Blake
Stanley Cup-Winning Goal: Toe Blake (11:06, 3rd Period, Game 5)
Head Coach: Dick Irvin
General Manager: Tommy Gorman

NOTABLE PLAYERS

Toe Blake LW
Elmer Lach C
Maurice Richard RW
Butch Bouchard D
Bill Durnan G

ROAD TO THE CUP

Semifinals: Chicago Black Hawks (4-0)
Stanley Cup Final: Boston Bruins (4-1)

 

1947 Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs won their first of three consecutive Stanley Cups, defeating the Montreal Canadiens in the first all-Canadian Stanley Cup Final in 12 years. It also marked the first time that these archrivals had met in the Cup Final. Montreal and Toronto had finished 1-2, respectively, in the regular-season standings and had advanced to the Final with little trouble. On the losing end of a 6-0 rout to start the series, the Maple Leafs surged to the title by winning four of the next five. 

Toronto featured six rookies on its roster, including Calder Trophy-winning forward Howie Meeker and defenseman Bill Barilko, and were the youngest team to win the Stanley Cup. Toronto's Ted Kennedy potted three goals in the Final, including the Cup-winner in the clinching Game 6. Five players from the roster - Kennedy, Syl Apps, Turk Broda, Bud Poile and Harry Watson - later were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

KEY COMPONENTS

Captain: Syl Apps
Stanley Cup-Winning Goal: Ted Kennedy (14:39, 3rd Period, Game 6)
Head Coach: Hap Day
General Manager: Conn Smythe

NOTABLE PLAYERS

Syl Apps C
Ted Kennedy C
Gaye Stewart LW
Gus Mortson D
Turk Broda G

ROAD TO THE CUP

Semifinals: Detroit Red Wings (4-1)
Stanley Cup Final: Montreal Canadiens (4-2)

 

1948 Toronto Maple Leafs

 

The Toronto Maple Leafs won their second consecutive Stanley Cup, a feat that only had been accomplished three times previously in the NHL's first 30 years. Toronto joined the Ottawa Senators (1920-1921), Montreal Canadiens (1930-1931) and Detroit Red Wings (1936-1937). 

Toronto's four-game sweep over Detroit in the Stanley Cup Final marked a glorious conclusion to the Hockey Hall of Fame career of Maple Leafs star Syl Apps, who collected a goal in the series-clinching Game 4. Toronto's Ted Kennedy led the NHL in playoff goals and points (8-6-14) while Max Bentley shared the League lead in assists and ranked second in points (4-7-11). Bentley had been acquired in November from Chicago in what many considered the biggest trade in League history. Longtime Maple Leafs owner/manager Conn Smythe often rated this club as his strongest, with strength down the middle in centers Apps, Kennedy, Bentley and Nick Metz.

KEY COMPONENTS

Captain: Syl Apps
Stanley Cup-Winning Goal: Harry Watson (11:13, 1st Period, Game 4)
Head Coach: Hap Day
General Manager: Conn Smythe

NOTABLE PLAYERS

Syl Apps C
Max Bentley C
Ted Kennedy C
Gus Mortson D
Turk Broda G

ROAD TO THE CUP

Semifinals: Boston Bruins (4-1)
Stanley Cup Final: Detroit Red Wings (4-0)

 

1949 Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs became the first team in NHL history to win three consecutive Stanley Cups. The feat had been accomplished 44 years earlier by the Ottawa Silver Seven, but occurred during an era that predated the formation of the NHL. 

The idea of the Maple Leafs achieving their historic three-peat would have been a surprise to many months before, as the club posted a losing record during the regular season and landed in the fourth and final playoff position (22-25-3). However, led by captain Ted Kennedy (2-6-8) and backstopped by Turk Broda, who led the postseason in goals-against average (1.57), the Maple Leafs rolled to an 8-1 playoff record capped by a four-game sweep over Detroit in the Stanley Cup Final. The Maple Leafs joined the 1938 Chicago Black Hawks as the only Stanley Cup champions in NHL history that posted a losing record in the regular season.

KEY COMPONENTS

Captain: Ted Kennedy
Stanley Cup-Winning Goal: Carl Gardner (19:45, 2nd Period, Game 4)
Head Coach: Hap Day
General Manager: Conn Smythe

NOTABLE PLAYERS

Max Bentley C
Ted Kennedy C
Sid Smith LW
Jimmy Thomson D
Turk Broda G

ROAD TO THE CUP

Semifinals: Boston Bruins (4-1)
Stanley Cup Final: Detroit Red Wings (4-0)

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