Chicago Blackhawks win Stanley Cup
The 1934 Stanley Cup Final NHL championship series was contested by the Chicago Black Hawks and the Detroit Red Wings.
It was the Red Wings' first appearance in the Final, and Chicago's second, after 1931. The Black Hawks won the best-of-five series 3–1 to win their first Stanley Cup.
Chicago's Chuck Gardiner would limit Detroit to just two goals in Chicago's three victories, including a shutout in the final game which went to double overtime. It was Mr. Gardiner's last game as he would die of a brain hemorrhage after the season.
The Detroit Red Wings won the American Division of the NHL, and faced the high-flying Toronto Maple Leafs, the first place finishers in the Canadian Division. Toronto, with Charlie Conacher, Joe Primeau and Busher Jackson all finishing in the top 10 in points, scored a remarkable 174 goals during the regular season; 54 more than the Rangers who finished with the next highest goals total. Facing the Leafs, Detroit won the best of five series three games to two to advance to the Stanley Cup final. Meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens beat the Black Hawks in overtime to win their two game total goal series, and the Montreal Maroons edged the New York Rangers to take their series. In the semi-final series between the Hawks and the Maroons, it was Chicago who won the right to challenge Detroit for the Stanley Cup. The Black Hawks had scored the fewest goals of any team in the NHL in 1933-34, but with Vezina-winning Charlie Gardiner in goal, they had also allowed the fewest goals in the league. In the Cup final, Chicago won the best of five series three games to one, to win the franchise's first Stanley Cup. The Cup-winning goal was scored by Mush March at 30:05 of overtime, a game in which Gardiner earned the shutout. But tragically, two months after winning the Stanley Cup, all-star goaltender Charlie Gardiner died of a brain haemorrhage.
The 1933–34 Chicago Black Hawks season was the team's eighth season in the NHL, and they were coming off a disappointing 1932–33 season, as the Hawks finished in last place in the American Division and missed the playoffs. Tommy Gorman was brought back to be the head coach of the Black Hawks, and while the team would score an NHL low 88 goals, they also allowed an NHL best 83 goals, and have a 20–17–11 record to finish in 2nd place in the American Division. Goaltender Chuck Gardiner was named captain of the team for the season.
Paul Thompson would score a team leading 20 goals and 36 points, while Doc Romnes earned a club high 21 assists. Johnny Gottselig would have a strong season, recording 16 goals and 30 points, while Lionel Conacher, acquired from the Montreal Maroons before the season began, would bolster the blueline, leading all defensemen with 23 points and had a club high 87 penalty minutes.
In goal, Chuck Gardiner would win his 2nd Vezina Trophy, as he helped the Black Hawks to a league low 83 goals against. Gardiner would win 20 games, post 10 shutouts and set a club record with a 1.63 GAA.
The Hawks would face the Montreal Canadiens in the 1st round of the playoffs in a 2 game total goal series, and after winning the first game at the Montreal Forum by a 3–2 score, the Black Hawks would tie Montreal 1–1 in the 2nd game to win the series by a 4–3 score. In the 2nd round, Chicago would face the other Montreal team, the Montreal Maroons, in another 2 game total goal series. The Hawks would once again win the opening game, this time by a 3–0 score, and then Chicago would hold off the Maroons in the 2nd game, winning 3–2, to win the series by a 6–2 score, allowing the Hawks to advance to their 2nd Stanley Cup final in 3 years. The Hawks would face the Detroit Red Wings in a best of 5 series, and the Black Hawks would take the first 2 games in Detroit, returning home needing only 1 win to clinch the Stanley Cup. The Wings spoiled the party in game 3, beating the Black Hawks by a 5–2 victory, but the Black Hawks would come back, and win the 4th game 1–0 in double overtime to clinch their first ever Stanley Cup.
The Black Hawks Stanley Cup celebration would be cut short, when goaltender Chuck Gardiner would suffer from a brain hemorrhage, and died on June 13, 1934, due to brain surgery complications.