Prior to and during the season, Detroit general manager Jack Adams made several moves, which benefited his club in the short term and long term. A trade on August 16, 1949, enabled Detroit to add 4 players to their organization. In exchange for Bill Quackenbush and Pete Horeck, Adams secured Pete Babando, Clare Martin, Lloyd Durham and Jim Peters from Boston.
Jack Adams was well aware his defensive core could function without all-star defenceman Bill Quackenbush. In order to improve the troops up front, Adams knew he would have to surrender quality to get quality back. The addition of Pete Babando and Jim Peters would bolster his line-up and be two new weapons for coach Tommy Ivan to employ.
The Detroit Red Wings opened the semi-finals against their nemesis - the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hap Day's team defeated Detroit in 11 straight playoff games, dating back to April 1, 1947. The '49-'50 semi-final started on March 28th in the Detroit Olympia. Once again, it appeared as though the Wings had fallen under a Toronto curse. The Leafs hammered Detroit 5-0, but that was the least of their problems. Winger Gordie Howe suffered a serious head injury after a collision with Leaf captain Ted Kennedy. His services would be lost for the duration of post-season play.
Detroit would bounce back and win the best-of-seven series 4-3 over Toronto. For Leaf fans, it spelled the end to an amazing run of 3 consecutive Stanley Cups. After dispatching Toronto, the Wings were hoping for better results in the Stanley Cup final, having been swept the previous 2 years. Their opponent this time around would be the New York Rangers.
By finishing in first place, Detroit earned the right of having home ice advantage in the playoffs. In the Cup final, this advantage would be increased, thanks to the management at Madison Square Garden. Not expecting the Rangers to advance, a circus was booked into the Garden. This resulted in New York playing the entire Stanley Cup final on the road.
With Detroit downing New York in game one in the Olympia, the venue switched to Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. This was the location of choice by New York to serve as their home base. The two clubs split the games in Toronto. The remainder of the series would take place in Detroit. After game 6, the Cup final was all even with each club winning 3 games.
The deciding contest, game 7, would be played on April 23, 1950. The Rangers took a 2-0 first period lead on goals by Allan Stanley and Tony Leswick. In the middle frame, Detroit tied the score at 2-2. During a powerplay, Pete Babando and Sid Abel scored 21 seconds apart. The Rangers took the lead on a goal by Nick Mickoski, but the Wings quickly responded on a goal by Jim McFadden.
The hero in game 7? Well, the honour belonged to Pete Babando of Detroit who scored at 8:31 of the second overtime period. His perfectly placed backhand from 20 feet out, beat Rangers netminder Chuck Rayner. The player acquired by Jack Adams in the summer, certainly paid dividends come playoff time.
|Pete Babando & Harry Lumley|