On April 14 in NYR history: A wild ride to their first Stanley Cup

A New York Rangers puck (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
A New York Rangers puck (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

What happened on April 14 in the history of the New York Rangers

On this date in 1928, in their second season,  the New York Rangers won their first of four Stanley Cups.  The Blueshirts won the Cup, defeating the Montreal Maroons in a best-of-five series.   It wasn’t easy for New York.  They had to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates in a two-game Quarter-Finals and then they beat the Boston Bruins in another two-game Semi-Finals Series.

Then, they had to play all five games of the Final in Montreal because the circus had taken over Madison Square Garden.  It took all five games for the Rangers to win as the teams alternated victories.  Scoring was limited with a total of eight goals scored by both teams in the first four games.  It was in the second game when coach Lester Patrick had to take over in goal when the Rangers lost Lorne Chabot to injury.

Game Five was on this date with Joe Miller in goal for the Rangers. The Rangers had signed him after the New York Americans put him on waivers and he won two games, allowing one goal.  The Rangers won 2-1 with Frank Boucher scoring both goals.

The game was a doozie.  14,000 fans filled the Forum with tickets going for as high as $35 ($550 today).   Miller was hit in the eye by a puck in the first period, but stayed in the game finishing with two black eyes.  It was a penalty filled game with 21 penalties assessed to both teams.  Defenseman Ching Johnson was called for four penalties and had three injuries, but came back each time.

Boucher scored the only goal of the first period with an end to end rush and the 1-0 lead held up through two periods.  There was a near riot in the third period when Maroon Russell Oatman scored, but the goal was disallowed as offside.  The game was delayed for 10 minutes as fans littered the ice with paper, hats and even chairs.

Boucher than scored to put the Rangers up 2-0, a goal they needed when Merlyn Phillips scored for Montreal with 2:10 left in the game.  The game ended with the Rangers shorthanded after Bill Cook was sent off for a major high sticking penalty, but Montreal couldn’t beat Miller and the Rangers won.

It was the second year for the Rangers franchise in the NHL and they became the second U.S. team to win the Cup, preceded only by the Seattle Metropolitans in 1917.   Following the Yankees and the NFL Giants who were champions in 1927, it made New York the only city  to have its teams hold all three major sports championships (there was no NBA) at the same time until Detroit did it in 1935.

Today’s birthdays

27 NHL players have been born on April 14.  That includes one current prospect and four other former Blueshirts.

Tim Gettinger was born on this date in 1998 in Cleveland, Ohio.  Currently playing for the Wolf Pack, Gettinger has played in 16 games for New York over four seasons after being picked in the fifth round of the 2016 Entry Draft.  Gettinger, a center, is still looking for his first NHL goal, but he did get an assist in 2019.

Dave Archibald was born on this date in 1969 in Chilliwack, British Columbia.   He was a forward who played eight years in the NHL. He played 19 games in the 1989-90 season, scoring two goals after being acquired in a trade from Minnesota for former first round pick Jay More.  He was then traded to Ottawa.

Larry Brown was born on this date in 1947 in Brandon, Manitoba.  He was a defenseman who played for the Rangers two separate seasons, traded for Pete Stemkowski in 1970 and then reacquired from the Red Wings with Bruce MacGregor for Arnie Brown, one of the rare deals when two players with the same last name were traded for each other.

Jeff Finley was born in 1967 in Edmonton, Alberta.  He was a defenseman who was drafted by the Islanders and played five years for them. A  veteran of 15 years in the NHL, he was signed as a free agent in 1997 and played for the Blueshirts one full season before being traded to the Blues.

Steve Larouche was born on April 14, 1971 in Rouyn, Quebec.  He was a second round pick of the Montreal Canadiens who played one game for the Rangers in 1995.  He was not related to Pierre.

The numbers

The Rangers don’t have a great record on April 14, but the one game that matters was the one they won in the playoffs in 1928.

Playoffs games: 9
Wins: 3
Losses: 4
Overtime losses: 2
Winning percentage: 33%

Regular season games: 5
Regulation wins: 1
Regulation losses: 3
Ties: 1
Points percentage: .300

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