By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation
For many of us, the thought of hearing about the Stanley Cup Finals in April may seem strange or unusual – normally, the title round is played in late May or early June these days – but on April 8, 1943, the Boston Bruins competed for a championship, but wound up losing to the Detroit Red Wings in the fourth and final game of the series.
Boston, which beat Detroit in the 1941 Stanley Cup in four games, was looking to erase memories of the 1942 postseason, which saw the Red Wings outlast the Bruins in a three-game semifinal series.
The Bruins had won four regular-season contests against the Red Wings during the 1942-43 season, including an early March affair by two goals, but that particular victory didn’t seem to help the Black and Gold identify a winning formula to beat Detroit weeks later in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Detroit won all four contests against the Bruins, including the April 8th meeting at the Boston Garden to clinch the series with a 2-0 victory. Boston was held scoreless during the final two contests after producing two goals in game one and three in game two.
Prior to facing the Red Wings, the Bruins beat the Montreal Canadiens in a five-game semifinal series. Ab DeMarco Sr. clinched the series and secured the Bruins a spot in the title round with an overtime goal at 18:44.
Boston was awarded the O’Brien Trophy, which was presented to the league’s runner-up from 1939 to 1950 while Bill Cowley earned the Hart Trophy (most valuable player). Cowley, who recorded. career-high 72 points during the 1942-43 season, was named a first-team league all-star, while Frank Brimsek, Jack Crawford, and Flash Hollett represented the Bruins on the second-team. Additionally, coach Art Ross was named the second team’s coach.
The 1942-43 season also marked the debut of Bep Guidolin, who was the youngest rookie in NHL history. Guidolin played four seasons with the Bruins before returning to Boston to coach the team during the 1972-73 and 1973-74 seasons.