Breaking a record set by the Great One is quite the accomplishment and a very unlikely player did just that on this date. One of the National Hockey League’s charter teams has had plenty of reasons to celebrate while two legendary goaltenders had memorable games, as well.
Maple Leafs Magic
April 22 is a big date in the franchise history of the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 1945, they beat the Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup, but the championship did not come without its fair share of drama.
The Maple Leafs made an epic comeback in the 1942 Stanley Cup Final by losing the first three games of the series to the Red Wings before beating them in Game 7. Three years later, Detroit nearly returned the favor.
Toronto stormed out to a 3-0 series lead thanks to three straight shutouts by goaltender Frank McCool. The Red Wings finally solved McCool and won the next three games to force a seventh and deciding game to played on their home rink.
With the game tied 1-1 in the third period, defenseman Babe Pratt scores the Cup-clinching goal for the Maple Leafs, adverting disaster. They became the first road team to win Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, a feat that isn’t repeated until Montreal Canadiens win the 1971 Stanley Cup in Chicago.
On April 22, 1962, the Maple Leafs beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final to win the championship. This was the first of three straight Cup wins by the Maple Leafs.
Darryl Sittler had himself quite the night on April 22, 1976. He tied an NHL record by scoring five goals in an 8-5 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals. He became the third player in league history to score five goals in a playoff game and the first to do it not wearing a Canadiens uniform.
Newsy Lalonde was the first player to score five goals in a playoff game in 1919 against the old Ottawa Senators. Maurice Richard equaled that mark against the Maple Leafs in 1944. Reggie Leach, who was on the losing end to Sitller that night, matched the five goals just a couple of weeks later in a game against the Boston Bruins. Mario Lemieux was the last player to have five goals in a playoff game, doing it in 1989, also against the Flyers.
Sundstrom’s Night of a Lifetime
There are few things left in hockey that can make a long-time fan stand up and take notice. However, breaking one of the Wayne Gretzky’s records a sure-fire way to get your name on the marquee. That is exactly what Patrik Sundstrom did for the New Jersey Devils on April 22, 1998.
Sundstrom had the greatest offensive night in Stanley Cup playoff history in the Devils’ 10-4 whitewashing of the Washington Capitals, in Game 3 of the Patrick Division Final. The 26-year-old Swedish-born center had three goals and five assists to have the first eight-point night ever in the postseason.
He scored two goals in the second period before completing the hat trick in the final frame. He assisted on defenseman Anders Carlsson’s goal before getting helpers on all four of Mark Johnson’s goal. It was an awful night for Washington goaltender Clint Malarchuk and Pete Peeters, who allowed 10 combined goals on just 31 shots against.
Sundstrom broke the record of seven points, set by Gretzky in 1985; a mark he matched in 1987. He did not hold the record by himself for very long as Lemieux had an eight-point game in 1989, but the duo still shares it. In case you are wondering, Sundstrom had 26 points in 37 playoff games, so 31% of them came in this game.
A Pair of Islander Streaks
On April 22, 1983, the New York Islanders set an NHL record by winning their 14th consecutive playoff series when they knocked the New York Rangers out of the Patrick Division Final. Goaltender Billy Smith made 28 saves while Butch Goring was the difference maker with a pair of goals. The Islanders went on to win an incredible 19 straight playoff series before their streak was snapped by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1984 Stanley Cup Final.
The Islanders ended another streak 33 years later when they beat the Florida Panthers on April 22, 2016. Alan Quine scored in double overtime to give the Islanders a 2-1 win in Game 5 of their first-round series. This ended a streak of 11 straight losses by the Islanders in Game 5 of a postseason series. Their last victory in a Game 5 came against the Flyers in 1987.
Odds & Ends
On April 22, 1971, the Minnesota North Stars became the first expansion team to beat an “Original 6” franchise in a playoff game. Their big win came over the Canadiens in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. Former Canadiens forward Danny Grant had three assists in Minnesota’s 6-3 victory in Montreal. Up until this game, the 1967 expansion teams were 0-17 versus “Original 6” teams in the postseason.
In the same game Sittler scored five goals, on April 22, 1976, Flyers forward Dave Schultz set a modern-era record by picking up 42 penalty minutes. He received a minor, two five-minute majors, a 10-minute misconduct and a pair of game misconducts. His record was matched by Deryk Engelland, who racked up 42 penalty minutes as a member of the Calgary Flames, in 2015, versus the Vancouver Canucks.
Ken Dryden set two high-water marks on April 22, 1979, when he took the ice for the Canadiens against the Maple Leafs, in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals. First, he became the first goaltender to play in 100 playoff games.
With the 5-4 overtime victory, he also became the NHL’s all-time winningest playoff goalie with 72 wins. He broke the old record of 71 held by Canadiens’ legend Jacques Plante. Dryden retired with 80 wins in just 112 games, which are still the sixth-most in league history.
Speaking of Hall of Fame goaltenders, Patrick Roy played in his final NHL game on April 22, 2003. Andrew Burnette scored in overtime to lead the underdog Minnesota Wild past the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. A month later, Roy retired with four Stanley Cups and a record 151 Stanley Cup playoff wins.
On April 22, 2018, Jake Guentzel and Sean Couturier became the first set of opposing players to each score five points in the same playoff game. Guentzel was just the third player ever to score four consecutive goals in the Pittsburgh Penguins 8-5 win over the Flyers to advance out of the Eastern Conference First Round. Couturier had a hat trick and two assists in the losing effort while playing with a torn ligament in his knee.
Happy Birthday to You
There are 26 former and current NHL players who were born on this date. Among them are Peter Zezel (55), Zarly Zalapski (52), Dan Cloutier (44), Chandler Stephenson (26), Madison Bowey (25) and Eeli Tolvanen (21).