Monthly Archives: August 2020

… But Who’s Counting?

Turns out, the historic 85-save effort by Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo in the 5 overtime, 150 minutes, 27 seconds, 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay the other night wasn’t quite as historic as the NHL says.

Back on April 3–4, 1933, the Maple Leafs beat the Bruins 1-0 in a 6 OT, 164:46 OT game in which Toronto outshot Boston 114–93 … meaning Leafs goalie Lorne Chabot made 93 saves and the Bruins’ Tiny Thompson made 113.

That game was the longest in NHL history at the time, and still ranks second to the 1936 6 OT game in which the Detroit Red Wings beat the Montreal Maroons 1-0 in 176:30. Lorne Chabot was the losing goalie on that night, but faced “only” 67 shots. Winning goalie Normie Smith of Detroit stopped all 90 shots he faced (some newspapers show 91) … but that’s still not what Thompson did!

So, why doesn’t the NHL recognize Thompson’s record? I haven’t seen the game sheets for that one, but my guess is, the NHL wasn’t officially tracking shots that night. (Shots on goal didn’t become an official statistic until 1955-56.) Obviously, some one at Maple Leaf Gardens was tracking them, though. Still, from what I’ve seen of the old game sheets, I’d say that in the early games where the NHL (unofficially?) did track shots, it’s more likely they were counting shots AT goal than shots ON goal … meaning a defencemen might have blocked some, and that possibly even some of the shots went wide. Unfortunately, there’s no real way to know that for that historic Toronto–Boston game.

And as for Seth Jones’ record time on ice of 65:06 the other night? Well, I’d bet a lot of money that Eddie Shore was on the ice for a lot more time than that back on April 3–4 of 1933! As likely were Boston’s Lionel Hitchman, George Owen, and Alex Smith, and perhaps all four of Toronto’s King Clancy, Hap Day, Red Horner and Alex Levinsky as well. Some early NHL game sheets did track time … but I don’t think we’re ever going to know this one for certain.

Toronto Star, April 4, 1933.
Boston Globe, April 4, 1933.
The Windsor Star of April 4, 1933, shows Tiny Thompson
with 114 saves … but that’s probably the total shots fired at him.
Shots on goal from the longest overtime game in NHL history.