Curious Habs facts, one in a series

Canadiens goaler George Hainsworth, who followed Georges Vézina into the Montreal net.
James Rice Studios

We’re going to serve up the occasional bit of bizarre Canadiens historical fact, simply because the writer needs a bit more of a life. To begin:

Today in 1928, the first game was played in Boston Garden, the Canadiens beating the hometown Bruins 1-0. The win came on the strength of the shutout of Montreal goaltender George Hainsworth, who replaced the late Georges Vézina on the Habs roster.

Hainsworth would record 22 shutouts that season to go along with his seven losses and 15 ties, playing all 44 Habs games that season. So in every game that Hainsworth gave up even a single goal, he didn’t win. For Hainsworth, a future Hall of Famer, to win a game, he needed a shutout.

The Bruins laughed last that season, sweeping the Habs 3-0 in a playoff semifinal and going on to beat the New York Rangers in a two-game Stanley Cup final.

Montreal, which finished first in the NHL’s Canadian Division, had 71 goals for, fifth-best in the 10-team league; their 43 goals-against were the NHL’s best.

An ad in the Montreal Gazette on the day Hainsworth blanked the Bruins, Nov. 20, 1928:


  1. TomNickle says:

    Come on Dave.  Don’t go all self-loathing on us thinking you need more of a life.  You get paid to cover the Habs.  I don’t know what the pay is and I’m not asking, but there are a lot of people who would kill to be in your shoes.

  2. christophurrr says:

    that is an insane fact put into today’s context. i don’t know how much scoring there was back then, so it may not have been that mind-blowing at the time.

  3. SeriousFan09 says:

    It was probably the lowest-scoring era in NHL history, at the time, the forward pass was not permitted so you basically had to take the puck end to end each time yourself.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  4. savethepuck says:

    Don’t know how they could stop anything wearing that equipment

  5. Danno says:

    A message from a great citizen of Montreal to Mr. Stubbs.


    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  6. christophurrr says:

    some of my teammates would have excelled back then!

  7. Shiloh says:

    I have a question regarding the stats for the season you describe above: If some (or even one) of those shutouts occurred in a 0-0 tie, then it is possible that Gainsworth could have won a game in which he allowed a goal. Unless, of course, you’ve examined all 44 results and there were no 0-0 ties. Still a remarkable season.

  8. Dave Stubbs says:

    Shiloh, you are absolutely, positively correct. I hadn’t reviewed game-by-game scores.

    George Hainsworth took part in six 0-0 games that season, thus in six of the games in which he earned a win did he allow a goal; precisely, one goal in each of the six games.

    So, in only 16 of Hainsworth’s 22 wins did he earn a shutout.

    Well done, and thanks for setting the record straight.

    Dave Stubbs
    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Columnist/Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette
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