Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Boston Bruins : The First Stanley Cup

During the 1928-29 season, Boston played in the American Division of the National Hockey League.

The Bruins finished in top-spot following the 44 game schedule. Their record in the American Division was 26-13-5, good for 57 points. In the Canadian Division, the Montreal Canadiens were the top point-getter's, racking-up 59.

As division champs, both Boston and Montreal earned a berth in the semi-finals. The two New York clubs, Rangers (second-place American Division) and Americans (second-place Canadian Division), played in the quarter-final series. The winner would advance to the semi-finals. The other quarter-final featured the Detroit Red Wings (third-place American Division) and Toronto Maple Leafs (third-place Canadian Division). When all was said and done, the New York Rangers and Toronto emerged victorious from quarter-final action.

On March 24, 1929, the Leafs and Rangers opened their best-of-three semi-final in New York. The Rangers won both games by scores 0f 1-0 and 2-1 (O/T in Toronto).

The Bruins and Montreal Canadiens started their semi-final on March 19th in Boston. These two clubs would play a best-of-five series.

Games one and two were settled by identical 1-0 scores. Bruins netminder Cecil "Tiny" Thompson blanked the Canadiens and both tallies were scored by Cooney Weiland. Boston finished-off the Canadiens in game three, defeating the Habs 3-2 in Montreal.

Tiny Thompson

This set the stage for Boston and the New York Rangers to meet in the Stanley Cup final. The winner would be determined in a best-of-three competition. For the first time in history, two American teams shared the spotlight in hockey's battle for ultimate supremacy.

Game one was played on March 28th in Boston Garden. Tiny Thompson continued his hot-streak, by posting his third shutout in the playoffs. The Bruins skated off their home-ice with a 2-0 win.

The Cup final shifted to Madison Square Garden for game two.

After the first twenty-minutes of play, neither team was successful in the scoring department. The opening goal came in the middle frame. The goal scorer was Boston's Harry Oliver. The Bruins right winger rushed from one end of the rink to the other, "split the Rangers guard and beat Roach (NY goalie John Roach) with a bullet-like drive into the top far corner of the net."

With Boston up a game and leading in game two, New York went on the attack. In response, the Bruins started playing a puck control game. The Rangers persistence paid off when Butch Keeling finally got a puck past the Bruins goaltender. The equalizer came as a result of "a scorching shot from outside of the defence which whistled cleanly past Thompson into the Boston net."

The game winning goal was scored by Bruins centre Bill Carson. Taking a pass from Harvey Oliver, Carson's "low, hard shot", sunk New York's dream of extending the final. The Bruins defeated New York 2-1. The Boston Bruins were crowned Stanley Cup champions of 1929.

As the 1929 playoffs came to a close, there was little doubt concerning Boston's MVP. In five games, goalie Tiny Thompson is credited with shutting-out his opposition in three occasions. His playoff average was a sparkling 0.60 (3 goals in 5 games).

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