During the era in which Newsy Lalonde shone, the Stanley Cup was competed for by a showdown between the winner of the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA).
|Click to expand photo. After finishing in first place in the NHA with a 16-7-1 record, the Montreal Canadiens and Newsy Lalonde captured their first Stanley Cup in 1916. (HHOF Archives)
The Montreal Canadiens finished first in the five-team NHA, winning 16, losing 7 and tying 1. Similarly, the Portland Rosebuds finished first in the four-team PCHA, with a record of 13 wins and 5 losses. Although the PCHA schedule had concluded on February 25, 1916, the champion Portland Rosebuds did not arrive in Montreal until the day before the Stanley Cup championship was to begin on March 20.
The Portland Rosebuds took Game 1 with a 2-0 blanking of the Canadiens. With Newsy Lalonde struggling under a heavy cold, it took the brilliant play of goaltender Georges Vezina to keep the game as close as it was.
Lalonde missed Game 2 altogether, as did teammate Jack Laviolette, who was out with a broken nose. Nevertheless, Montreal doubled the Rosebuds 2-1 to tie the series at a game apiece.
Newsy was back in action for Game 3, and made his presence known. He scored one of Montreal's six goals, with Didier Pitre recording a hattrick and Amos Arbour and Goldie Prodgers also picking up singles in the 6-3 Montreal victory. But during the third period, Newsy's flashy and aggressive play was more than Portland's Ernie Johnson could stomach, and he attacked the Canadiens' star. A bench-clearing brawl ensued, and only intervention by the police could subdue the brouhaha. Johnson and Lalonde were each assessed a game misconduct.
The score was already 3-0 for Portland at the end of the first period in Game 4. During the second stanza, Montreal roared back with four goals, including one by Lalonde, but in the third, the Rosebuds rebounded and took the lead. Newsy's second goal came during the last minute of play to keep the score close, but Portland took the game, 6-5.
The fifth and deciding contest was played March 30, 1916. The teams jockeyed for position, and the score was deadlocked at 1-1 until Goldie Prodgers fired the winning goal at 16:45 of the third period. That proved to be the Stanley Cup-winning goal, as the Canadiens upset Portland 2-1 to take the Stanley Cup three games to two.
It was the first of twenty-four Stanley Cup championships for the Montreal Canadiens, and the first and only such victory for Newsy Lalonde, who regarded this triumph as the pinnacle of his glorious career. For their momentous efforts, each player with the Canadiens that season was awarded an additional $238 for the Stanley Cup win. Players with Portland received $207 each.
Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.