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1951-52 NHL season

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The 1951-52 NHL season was the 35th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 70 games. The Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup by sweeping the Montreal Canadiens four games to none.

League BusinessEdit

A long standing feud between Boston president Weston Adams and general manager Art Ross ended on October 12, 1951 when Adams sold his stock in Boston Garden to Walter Brown.

Chicago, who had made the mammoth nine player deal the previous season, now decided to make the largest cash deal for players to this time by paying $75,000 for Jim McFadden, George Gee, Jimmy Peters, Clare Martin, Clare Raglan, and Max McNab.

Regular seasonEdit

Conn Smythe offered $10,000 for anyone who found Bill Barilko, missing since August 26th. Barilko and Dr. Henry Hudson had left Rupert House on James Bay in the doctor's light plane for Timmins, Ontario after a weekend fishing trip and had not been found.

For the fourth straight season, the Detroit Red Wings finished first overall in the National Hockey League.


Montreal opened the season before a crowd of 15,100 fans as the Canadiens beat Chicago 4-2. Rocket Richard had a goal and Bernie Geoffrion had two. On the same night, Terry Sawchuk had his first shutout of the season as Detroit beat Boston 1-0.

Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth and Prince Phillip were in attendance at the Montreal Forum, and Floyd Curry came alive with the hat trick and Richard scored two goals as Montreal beat the New York Rangers 6-1.

Inspired by the return of Black Jack Stewart to the lineup, Chicago had a rare trouncing of the Red Wings right at the Olympia, 6-2. During the game, Chicago's Gus Bodnar twisted his shoulder and Harry Lumley hurt a knee. Trainer Moe Roberts, who played his first game in the NHL for Boston in 1925-26, played the rest of the way in goal for Chicago and played quite well at age 46. Roberts would stand as the oldest person to ever play an NHL game until Gordie Howe returned to the NHL at age 51 in 1979.

Chicago wasn't drawing well and so they decided to experiment with afternoon games. It worked, as the largest crowd of the season, 13,600 fans, showed up for a January 20 game in which Chicago lost to Toronto 3-1.

Elmer Lach night was held March 8 at Montreal Forum as the Canadiens tied Chicago 4-4. 14,452 fans were on hand to see Lach presented with a car, rowboat, TV set, deepfreeze chest, bedroom and dining room suites, a refrigerator and many other articles.

On the last night of the season, March 23, 1952, with nothing at stake at Madison Square Garden, 3,254 fans saw Chicago's Bill Mosienko score the fastest hat trick in NHL history, 3 goals in 21 seconds. Lorne Anderson was the goaltender who gave up the goals to Chicago. Gus Bodnar also set a record with the fastest three assists in NHL history as he assisted on all three goals Mosienko scored. Chicago beat the New York Rangers 7-6.

Final standingsEdit

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

National Hockey League GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Detroit Red Wings 70 44 14 12 100 215 133 694
Montreal Canadiens 70 34 26 10 78 195 164 661
Toronto Maple Leafs 70 29 25 16 74 168 157 841
Boston Bruins 70 25 29 16 66 162 176 601
New York Rangers 70 23 34 13 59 192 219 532
Chicago Black Hawks 70 17 44 9 43 158 241 627

Scoring leadersEdit

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

Player Team GP G A PTS PIM
Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings 70 47 39 86 78
Ted Lindsay Detroit Red Wings 70 30 39 69 123
Elmer Lach Montreal Canadiens 70 15 50 65 36
Don Raleigh New York Rangers 70 19 42 61 14
Sid Smith Toronto Maple Leafs 70 27 30 57 6

Stanley Cup playoffsEdit

In the playoffs, Detroit finished 8-0, the first time a team had gone undefeated in the playoffs since the 1934-35 Montreal Maroons. The Wings scored 24 goals in the playoffs, compared to a combined 5 goals for their opponents.

see 1952 Stanley Cup Finals

Playoff bracketEdit

  Semifinals Finals
1 Detroit Red Wings 4  
3 Toronto Maple Leafs 0  
    1 Detroit Red Wings 4
  2 Montreal Canadiens 0
2 Montreal Canadiens 4
4 Boston Bruins 3  

NHL awardsEdit

Prince of Wales Trophy: Detroit Red Wings
Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Calder Memorial Trophy: Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens
Hart Memorial Trophy: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Sid Smith, Toronto Maple Leafs
Vezina Trophy: Terry Sawchuk, Detroit Red Wings

All-Star teamsEdit

First Team   Position   Second Team
Terry Sawchuk, Detroit Red Wings G Jim Henry, Boston Bruins
Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings D Hy Buller, New York Rangers
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens D Jimmy Thomson, Toronto Maple Leafs
Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens C Milt Schmidt, Boston Bruins
Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings RW Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens
Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings LW Sid Smith, Toronto Maple Leafs


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1951-52 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last gamesEdit

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1951-52 (listed with their last team):


Regular Season Only

  1. Montreal: 503,993
  2. Toronto: 467,356
  3. Detroit: 419,862
  4. New York: 376,645
  5. Chicago: 297,316
  6. Boston: 245,144

See alsoEdit


NHL seasons

1947-48 | 1948-49 | 1949-50 | 1950-51 | 1951-52 | 1952-53 | 1953-54 | 1954-55 | 1955-56

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