The year is 1937. The Detroit Red Wings are attempting to defend their Stanley Cup championship against the New York Rangers.
There is only one problem. Star goalie Normie Smith badly injures his elbow, marking the downward spiral of his career. Smith, like for four of his teammates, is unable to continue in post-season activity. Enter rookie Earl Robertson, the unlikely hero of the 1937 Stanley Cup championship.
Robertson, a 10 year minor leaguer, was called up for his first taste of NHL action. Imagine that! It is your first game and you are in net for game one of the Stanley Cup finals. Talk about pressure!
But Robertson performed miraculously in leading the Wings to the Cup. He led Detroit to a three games to two victory. In the final two games he recorded consecutive shutouts, and stopped the second penalty shot in NHL playoff history.
Robertson owed a great deal of his success to the excellent play of defensemen Ebbie Goodfellow and Scotty Bowman (no, not that Scotty Bowman) before him.
The Rangers were severely hampered by a severe injury to their star centerman. High scoring Neil Colville continued to play despite a broken jaw, but the Red Wings targeted him.
"Hit Neil Colville hard. His jaw is busted. Give him his lumps early and he won't be so strong later on," advised Detroit coach Jack Adams.
It worked, as Colville and the Rangers could not hit the score board at all in the final two games of the series.
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