The NHL was separated into two divisions for the last time in 1937-38. Toronto finished first in the Canadian Division, while the Boston Bruins won the American Division. The two division winners faced off in a best of five series to decide which of the teams would advance to the Stanley Cup final. Gordie Drillon, who had led the NHL in scoring during the regular season, helped the Leafs eliminate the Bruins in three straight games. Meanwhile, the rival New York Americans defeated the New York Rangers in three games and Chicago beat Montreal two games to one. The winners met, with the Black Hawks dumping New York to earn the opportunity to face the Leafs for the Stanley Cup. Hawks' goalie Mike Karakas had broken his toe in the series against the Americans, and was unable to start the Cup final. Chicago manager/coach Bill Stewart announced that the Hawks would use the New York Rangers' Dave Kerr in net, but the Leafs' Conn Smythe objected. Kerr had, after all, finished second in the NHL with a goals-against average of just 2.00. Stewart and Smythe got into a shoving match, with the result that the Hawks were forced to use Alfie Moore -- a seldom-used goaltender for the New York Americans. The drama unfolded with Moore and the Hawks winning game one 3-1. In game two, the NHL ruled that Moore was ineligible to play, so the Black Hawks were forced to use their minor league goaltender Paul Goodman. Toronto won the game 5-1. Mike Karakas returned with a reinforced skate, ready to play game three. The Hawks won the game 2-1. In game four, Chicago defeated Toronto 4-1 to win the best of five Stanley Cup final three games to one. The Hawks, with a line-up comprised 50 percent of American-born players, won their first Stanley Cup since 1933-34.
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