April 19 has proven to be a big day for netminders in National Hockey League history. This date has also given us the start of the first modern-era dynasty, a family feud between Hall of Famers and legends setting records.
Martin Brodeur is Boss
This date has been kind to goaltenders over the years, and one of the greatest netminders of all time enjoyed a pair of milestones on it. On April 19, 2002, Brodeur became just the second goaltender in NHL history to make 100 consecutive playoff starts for one team. He accomplished this feat by starting against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Unfortunately for Brodeur, the New Jersey Devils lose 2-1.
A decade later, Brodeur made 26 saves in a 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. It was the 24th and final postseason shutout of his brilliant career as he broke the tie between himself at Patrick Roy for the most in Stanley Cup playoff history. His record will likely stand for some time as the closest active goaltender is Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights, who has 15 playoff shutouts.
Speaking of postseason shutouts, this date has seen quite a few throughout the decades. On April 19, 1945, rookie goaltender Harry Lumley got his first career playoff shutout as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Hall of Famer went on to have seven postseason shutouts in his career, including three during the Red Wings’ run to the 1950 Stanley Cup.
Ken Dryden picked up the second of his 10 career Stanley Cup playoff shutouts on April 19, 1975. He blanked the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals.
On April 19, 1977, Wayne Stephenson recorded the second and final shutout of his playoff career to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2-0 win over the Maple Leafs in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals. Reggie Leach was the offensive hero for the Flyers by scoring both goals.
Three years later, another Flyers goaltender led the way to a playoff victory. This time it was rookie Pete Peeters who shut out the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals. This was his only Stanley Cup playoff shutout for the Flyers. He would get one more as a member of the Boston Bruins in 1983.
On April 19, 1996, Ed Belfour made 33 saves for his third career playoff shutout as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the visiting Calgary Flames 3-0 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Belfour retired with 14 postseason shutouts, the seventh-most in league history.
Chris Osgood of the Red Wings earned a shutout on that same evening when he blanked the Winnipeg Jets 4-0 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. It was the second of 15 postseason shutouts of his career, 14 of which came with the Red Wings.
Jose Theodore picked up the first and only playoff shutout for the Canadiens on April 19, 2004. He made 32 saves, while Richard Zednik scored twice in a 2-0 win over the Bruins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. He became just the fourth goaltender in NHL history to earn a Game 7 shutout on the road. Theodore’s only other postseason shutout came as a member of the Panthers in 2012, his final season in the league.
On April 19, 2007, Carey Price made his professional playoff debut in the American Hockey League. He made 34 saves to lead the Hamilton Bulldogs over the Rochester Americans, 2-0.
Odds & Ends
The Maple Leafs won the 1947 Stanley Cup on this date by beating the Canadiens 2-1 in Game 6 of the Final. Ted Kennedy scored the game-winning goal with just over five minutes to play in the third period. Toronto would become the NHL’s first dynasty of the modern era as they went on to win three straight championships.
On April 19, 1962, two legendary names set records when the Maple Leafs beat the Blackhawks 8-4 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. Defenseman Tim Horton, who was never known for producing major points, picked up three assists to give 15 points in the postseason. That was a new record for the most points by a blueliner in a single postseason.
Stan Mikita made history in the losing effort, as well. A pair of second-period goals gave him 21 points in the postseason, breaking the record once held by Gordie Howe for the most points in a single playoff. He had 15 assists during that run, which was also an NHL record for a single postseason.
The 1970 Stanley Cup Semifinals was a memorable one for the Esposito family as brothers Phil and Tony were on opposite sides. On April 19, 1970, Phil got the best of his younger brother and former team by scoring a hat trick to complete the Bruins four-game sweep of the Blackhawks. Boston went on to sweep the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Final.
On April 19, 1972, Larry Pleau became the first player to sign with the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association. The Lynn, MA native played three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens before making the jump. He was a three-time WHA All-Star for the Whalers and eventually spent two separate stints as their head coach in the 1980s. He was also the longest-tenured general manager in Blues history, serving 13 years before giving way to Doug Armstrong in 2010.
When Mike Crowley gave the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim a 1-0 lead over the Blues on April 19, 1998, it made nine straight goals scored by rookies. Over the four-game span, Frank Banham scored three times, with Cowley and Josef Marha scoring twice and Pavel Trnka and Matt Cullen adding single goals.
On April 19, 2004, Flames forward Martin Gelinas scored 1:25 into overtime of Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals to eliminate the Canucks. The goal is still the fastest overtime goal in a Game 7, and it gave the Flames their first playoff series win since the 1989 Stanley Cup Final.
Matt Murray was called into duty for the Pittsburgh Penguins on April 19, 2016, after Fleury goes down to injury. He makes 16 saves in his Stanley Cup playoff debut in a 3-1 victory over the Rangers. The Penguins became the first team in NHL history to have two goaltenders win their playoff debuts in the same series after Jeff Zatkoff won Game 1 in his first postseason game.
Happy Birthday to You
There are 20 current and former NHL players who were born on April 20 and could form a pretty solid starting lineup out of them. The most notable birthday boys are Randy Carlyle (65), Robyn Regehr (41), Martin Havlat (40), Juuse Saros (26), and Patrik Laine (23).
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.