On This Date in Sports December 26, 1925

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

The New York Americans and Pittsburgh Pirates combine for 141 shots the most in NHL history, as the Americans record a 3-1 at Madison Square Garden. New York’s Jake Forbes makes 67 saves to get the win, while Pittsburgh’s Roy Worters stops 70 of 73 and is the hard-luck loser. With the win, the expansion Americans improved to 4-5-0, while the Pirates also in their first season slipped to 5-5-0.

A year after the Boston Bruins became the first American based team to play in the National Hockey League in 1924, the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Americans joined the league. The Pirates who took their name from the Steel City’s Baseball team had their roots in the United States Hockey Association as the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets, who played their games at the Duquesne Gardens. The Americans were formed out of the ashes of the Hamilton Tigers who folded in 1925. The franchise assets to a group of New York owners who were seeking to bring the NHL to Madison Square Garden. The New York Americans finished their first season with a record of 12-20-4, while the Pirates made the playoffs with a record of 19-6-1.

The 141-shot game thrilled the fans in New York, so much that famous Madison Square Garden President Tex Rickard sought to get his own NHL team and Tex’s New York Rangers were one of three new American teams that joined in 1926, along with the Detroit Cougars and Chicago Black Hawks. All three new American franchises would go on to find great success in the NHL. The same could not be said for the Pittsburgh Pirates. After five seasons and declining attendance, the team relocated across the state to Philadelphia in 1930. The Philadelphia Quakers spent just one season in the NHL before they were forced to permanently suspended operations. The Americans meanwhile, could never compete with the Rangers, despite being the first NHL team in New York they never escaped the Rangers shadow. In 1941, the Americans began to make plans to move to Brooklyn, becoming the Brooklyn Americans but a planned new arena was canceled due to the start of World War II. The Americans would suspend operations in 1942, never to resume becoming the last team to fold before the NHL’s original six era.