… 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.

8 thoughts on “… But Who’s Counting?

  1. Can’t imagine the stamina to play a game with so many overtimes, but that excitement certainly beats the shoot outs that are used today!! Sad about Leafs, but then again ……………….. (did we expect a different results?)

    I still remembering the game in 1967 when the Leafs won the Stanley Cup!!!!!!!

  2. Some fans worried that when the Leafs won the Cup this year they couldn’t have a parade because of the virus. Well….you have to win something before you have a victory parade! Leafs showed up for under four minutes in game 4. Missing in action in game 5. There will be the usual cries of “fire the…” Chose whomever, and ” trade XYZ for some muscle…” And even cries to find the ghost of Bob Probert as a defenseman. All to no avail.
    As for length of time….Leaf fans have shown that THEY have stamina. After all these years, including the Ballard ( “well if you want to win….I pay the bills and write the cheques…”) years (and he is in the Hall of (S) a me as a “builder”?) that there are still Leaf fans is the real miracle. And not just old guys like me, but guys under 50!!

  3. Very nice to read — and do we know — is the potential for someone to play 33 playoff games this year? And if they had set a record for most goals or points….would that…..?

    1. Good questions!
      I think I recall reading that the “Play-Ins” would count as playoff games, but not the “Round Robin” … so it could happen. But I’m not sure…

      1. Received this from Eric Hornick,
        statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982

        Enjoyed this piece.

        You might be amused to know that the NHL is
        a) reflecting round-robin games in the playoff records
        b) because of a), that means that the Caps are 1-2-1 in this post-season because they lost a shootout.

        Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

  4. Great stuff, and research, as always. I believe you are correct regarding “shots at goal” not “…on goal”.
    Got a kick out of “Ace Bailey with his damaged collarbone, bolstered up with padding until he looked like an overstuffed chesterfield; . . .”. Had me thinking I was reading Rosie DiManno!

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