The 1929–30Boston Bruins season was the Bruins' sixthseason in the NHL. In defending its American Division title for the second straight season, the Bruins took advantage of new rules and its powerhouse lineup to record the best single season winning percentage in NHL history - a record which still stands.1 However, the club failed to defend its Stanley Cup title, losing in the finals to the Montreal Canadiens.
To combat low scoring - the previous season had the fewest goals per game recorded before or thereafter2 - a major rule change was implemented. Players were now allowed forward passing in the offensive zone, instead of only in the defensive and neutral zones.3 This led to abuse: players sat in front of the opposing net waiting for a pass, and goals scored nearly tripled league-wide.2 The rule was changed again mid-season in December 1929, and players were no longer allowed to enter the offensive zone before the puck, thus giving birth to the modern offside rule.4
In the meantime, however, Boston took advantage of the new rule from its opening match, defeating Detroit 5-2 before a sellout crowd behind Cooney Weiland's two goals.5 The team was noted in the press for its skill in dealing with the new infractions called for hanging back, recording many fewer penalties than the other teams in early season play.5
After a rough match on November 23 against the Montreal Maroons, superstar defenseman Eddie Shore went to the hospital with multiple injuries, missing the return match against the Maroons on the 26th. Bruins' president Charles Adams presented Shore with a check for $500, purportedly $100 for each facial scar he received at the hands of the Maroons.67
The Bruins went on a tear starting with a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh on November 30, winning fourteen straight games through to a January 9 4-3 win against Pittsburgh; this set a new league mark for consecutive wins that would last for 52 years until the New York Islanders broke it in 1982, and is still the third longest such streak in league history.8 The streak was broken by the New York Americans - the league's last place team at the time - on January 12.9 The Dynamite Line of Cooney Weiland, Dit Clapper and Dutch Gainor was responsible for most of the team's goals to that point,10 and by the halfway mark of the season, the Bruins had a 20-3 record, nearly twice as many wins as any other team in the league.11
In another unusual incident involving Shore, well known for his fighting ability, the Bruins' defenseman was challenged to a boxing match by baseball player Art Shires.12 While NHL President Frank Calder said that Shore's participation was up to Bruins' manager Art Ross to decide, baseball commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis vetoed Shires' participation, and the match was never held.7
The Bruins had yet another streak (broken by a Chicago Black Hawks overtime win on March 13) of seventeen games without a defeat, tying the then-league record.13 By season's end, Weiland led the league in scoring (one goal shy of Joe Malone's 1918 record of 44, Dit Clapper had finished third, and Dutch Gainor ninth.14 The Dynamite Line scored 102 of the Bruins' league record 179 goals, as many as last-place Pittsburgh managed.14
Among the many marks set by the Bruins in the 1930 season that remain NHL records was the fewest ties in an NHL season with 1;8 and the fewest losses in a season with 5.1 The Bruins also set a record for most consecutive home ice wins in a season with 20. This was tied by the 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers, and surpassed by the 2011-12 Detroit Red Wings.
As the American Division champions, Boston enjoyed a first round bye in the playoffs, and faced the Montreal Maroons, the Canadian Division champions, in the semi-finals in a best-of-five series. The first game of the series was a grueling overtime match in which Bruins' coach Art Ross was noted for ceaseless criticism of the officiating and the ice condition, to the annoyance of the home crowd in Montreal,16 won on a Harry Oliver overtime goal at the 45 minute mark. The Bruins won the second match handily on two goals from Clapper, partially due to an injury forcing Montreal star Babe Siebert out only a few minutes into the game,17 but with Siebert's return in the third game the match was much closer. Unusually, Montreal starter Buck Boucher broke a leg 24 minutes into overtime, and his replacement, little-used defenseman Archie Wilcox, scored the game winner at the 26 minute mark.17 Siebert did not dress for the final game, and the Bruins overwhelmed the Maroons to reach the Cup finals, behind two goals from Marty Barry, earning the Bruins a rest while they waited for their next opponents.18
Boston Bruins 3, Montreal Maroons 1
The Bruins were heavily favored to retain the Stanley Cup, but were shocked in the first game of the best-of-three Finals by the play of Canadiens' goaltender George Hainsworth, who shut out the Bruins' powerful offense. In the second game, Montreal went out to a three-goal lead until Eddie Shore began a rally with a goal that spurred the Bruins to tie the match, before the Canadiens scored the final goal to win the Cup. It was the first time all season long the Bruins had lost two games in a row,19 and the stunning defeat of the regular season champions in such a short series spurred the league to change the Cup Finals to a best-of-five series for subsequent years.20