April 2 has provided many great moments throughout National Hockey League history. Multiple records were broken by some of the biggest names of the sport. Some of those records still stand today.
Coffey Brews a New Record
Paul Coffey was one of the greatest offensive defensemen to ever play in the NHL. He averaged over a point per game during his Hall of Fame career with 1531 points in 1409 games over 21 seasons with nine different teams. Ray Bourque is the only defenseman in league history to score more goals and points than Coffey.
On April 2, 1986, Coffey broke the record of another Boston Bruins legend when the Edmonton Oilers beat the Vancouver Canucks 8-4. Late in the first period, he scored his 46th goal of the season to tie Bobby Orr’s record for the most goals by a defenseman. He set a new single-season record with another goal early in the 2nd period.
Coffey added a 48th and final goal two days later in the regular-season finale against the Calgary Flames. This is still the most goals a defenseman has ever scored in a single season. He and Orr are the only blueliners to have 40-goal seasons, with Coffey doing it twice.
On April 2, 1939, Mel Hill earned his nickname “Sudden Death” by helping the Bruins knock the New York Rangers out of the postseason. In Game 7 of their Stanly Cup Semifinal, Hill scored eight minutes into overtime to send the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final. It was the 25-year-old forward’s third overtime goal of the series as he had the game-winner in both Games 1 and 2. He is still the only player to score three overtime goals in a single playoff series.
Exactly 60 years later, Ted Irvine of the Los Angeles Kings scored the fastest overtime goal in NHL history. He lit the lamp just 19 seconds into overtime to beat the Oakland Seals and give the Kings their first-ever Stanley Cup playoff victory.
50 is the Magic Number
On April 2, 1972, Bobby Hull scored his 50th goal of the season in the Chicago Blackhawks’ 6-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings, making him the first player to ever have five 50-goal seasons. It was his 604th and final goal with the Blackhawks as he left for the World Hockey Association and signed with the Winnipeg Jets in the offseason.
On that same day, Vic Hadfield became the first player in Rangers’ franchise history to ever score 50 goals in a season. He accomplished the feat with two goals against the Montreal Canadiens while playing with a broken thumb. It would be 22 years before another Ranger hit the 50-goal mark when Adam Graves scored 52 in 1993-94. Jaromir Jagr holds the team record with 54 goals in 2005-06.
On April 2, 1980, Wayne Gretzky became the first teenager to ever score 50 goals in an NHL season. The 19-year-old future Hall of Famer scored his 50th goal of the season against the Minnesota North Stars. It was his first of nine seasons of at least 50 goals.
Memorable Seasons Come to an End
The Canadiens set an NHL record on April 2, 1977, by defeating the Washington Capitals 11-0. It was their 59th win of the season, the most by any team in league history, breaking the record they had set in the previous season. They defeated the Capitals one more time to finish the season with 60 wins. That record stood until the Red Wings won 62 games in 1995-96, which the Tampa Bay Lightning matched in 2018-19.
On April 2, 1994, the San Jose Sharks knocked off the Canucks to give the 77 points on the season. It was a 53-point improvement from the 24 points they earned in the previous, which is still the biggest turnaround by any team in league history. The Sharks finished with 82 points and qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in just their third season in the league.
1989, a Very Good Year
On April 2, 1989, Joe Mullen of the Calgary Flames scored a goal and picked up a pair of assists in a 4-2 win over the Oilers. He finished the season with 110 points, breaking the record for the most points in a single season by an American born player, set the previous season by Jimmy Carson. He held on to that record for only three years when Kevin Stevens scored 123 points for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Speaking of Carson, he had an assist in the same game to hit the 100-point plateau for the second straight season. After scoring 207 points in his first two seasons in the NHL, Carson would not have another 100-point season in his career.
Meanwhile, at the old Spectrum, Mario Lemieux scored his 84th and 85th goals in the Penguins 6-5 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers. His second goal of the night gave him 300 in his career in just 368 games. His 85 goals in 1988-89 are still the fourth-most scored in a single season.
Odds & Ends
On April 2, 1967, Stan Mikita picked up two assists, in an 8-0 win over the Rangers, to give him 97 points on the year, tying Hull’s NHL record for most points in a season (set in 1965-66).
Mike Bossy scored his 60th goal of the season as the New York Islanders beat the Penguins 6-1 on April 2, 1983. He became the first player in league history to score at least 60 goals in three straight seasons. Gretzky topped that mark two years later when he picked up his fourth-straight 60-goal season.
On April 2, 1993, Paul Kariya became the first freshman ever to win the Hobey Baker award, as the NCAA player of the year. He scored 25 goals and 100 points in just 39 games for the University of Maine Black Bears.
He would be the only freshman to win the award until 2015 when Jack Eichel did it for Boston University.
Happy Birthday to You
Notable players who are celebrating birthdays today include Buster Harvey (70), Dwight Foster (63), Rem Pitlick (23) and Noah Juulsen (23).