Today in Hockey History: April 25

April 25 has provided us with some great playoff moments throughout the history of the National Hockey League. Two of the greatest players to ever lace up a pair of skates had offensive explosions on a date that saw plenty of great postseason moments. Let’s take our daily trip back in time to relive all the best this date has had to offer.

The Great One & Super Mario Go Off

Two of the most dynamic offensive talents to ever play in the NHL had huge games on this date. On April 25, 1985, Wayne Gretzky put up seven points in a playoff game for the second time in his career. He scored three goals and added four assists in the Edmonton Oilers’ 8-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets to sweep them out of the Smythe Division Final. After scoring two goals in the first period, Gretzky scored a shorthanded, empty-net goal late in the game. He assisted on all three of Jari Kurri’s goals.

Four years later, Mario Lemieux accomplished something even Gretzky didn’t do in his career; score eight points in a Stanley Cup playoff game. He tied or set multiple records in a Pittsburgh Penguins’ 10-7 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5 of the Patrick Division Final.

Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
Lemieux is one of only two players with an eight-point playoff game. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Lemieux started his huge night by scoring the fastest hat trick in postseason history as he had three goals in the first 6:55 of the game. He added a fourth tally before the first intermission to tie the record for the most goals in a single playoff period. His fifth and final goal came in the final minute of play while the Flyers had their goaltender pulled for an extra attacker. All three of his assists came in the second period.

Related: Remembering What Made Mario Lemieux the Greatest

In addition to the hat trick record and the most goals in one period, Lemieux tied the record for the most points in a playoff game set in the previous season by Patrik Sundstrom of the New Jersey Devils. He also joined Maurice Richard, Darryl Sittler, and Reggie Leach as the only players with a five-goal game in the postseason.

Pittsburgh Penguins Love Comebacks

In addition to Lemieux’s record-setting performance in 1989, the Penguins led two very impressive comebacks on this date. On April 25, 2008, they erased a three-goal deficit to beat the New York Rangers 5-4 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Until that point, the Rangers were 93-1 all-time in playoff games in which they owned a three-goal lead.

Crosby got the best of Claude Giroux and Flyers. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Exactly one year later, they pulled off the same comeback against the rival Flyers. Philadelphia jumped out to a 3-0 lead in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals before the Penguins scored the last five goals of the night. Sidney Crosby scored twice to go along with Ruslan Fedotenko, Mark Eaton, and Sergei Gonchar to help the Penguins advance into the second round.

Patrick Roy’s Overtime Streak

On April 25, 1994, Patrick Roy made 60 saves, and Kirk Muller scored in overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. It was the Canadiens and Roy’s 11th straight playoff overtime win, both NHL records.

best Habs goalies
Roy was hard to beat in overtime. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Exactly two years later, Roy extended his personal streak to 12 in the Colorado Avalanche’s 5-4 overtime victory versus the Vancouver Canucks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Joe Sakic scored a hat trick in the win, including one of his NHL-record eight career postseason overtime goals.

Toronto Maple Leaf Memories

On April 25, 1964, the Maple Leafs won their third straight Stanley Cup by beating the Detroit Red Wings 4-0. Andy Bathgate, Dave Keon, Red Kelly, and George Armstrong all scored in the victory while Hall of Famer Johnny Bower made 33 saves to become the first goaltender to post a shutout in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Gump Worsley repeated this feat for the Canadiens the following season. Martin Brodeur (2003) and Tim Thomas (2011) are the only other netminders who have shutouts in Game 7 of the championship series.

Three years later, on April 25, 1967, Bob Pulford scored in double overtime to lead the Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win over the Canadiens in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. The two teams combined for 116 shots on goal, with the Maple Leafs getting 62.

Mike Gartner scored the third and final playoff hat trick of his career, and the only one in a Maple Leafs uniform, on April 25, 1996. He had a goal in each of the first two periods before scoring the game-winning goal on a late third-period power play to beat the St. Louis Blues 5-4 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Odds & Ends

Bobby Orr had a big night on April 25, 1972, to help the Bruins sweep the Blues in the Stanley Cup Semifinals. He had three assists in the 5-3 victory, giving him 15 assists through the first two rounds of the playoffs. He broke the record for the most assists by a defenseman in a single playoff with one round to go.

Bobby Orr
Orr’s 1972 postseason run was one for the ages. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Pat Stapleton and J.C. Tremblay shared the previous mark of 14. He finished the postseason with 19 helpers, which remained the record for defensemen until Paul Coffey racked up 25 assists during the 1985 Stanley Cup playoffs.

On April 25, 1997, Esa Tikkanen scored in as the Rangers beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. This was his second overtime of the series and the fourth of his playoff career.

One year later, Jaromir Jagr picked up an assist to give him 100 career points in 100 NHL playoff games. The milestone came in the Penguins’ 4-1 win over the Canadiens in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Jaromir Jagr Pittsburgh Penguins
Jagr averaged a point per game through 100 playoff games. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)

Dale Hunter added his name to the NHL record books on April 25, 2012, when the Washington Capitals beat the Bruins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Joel Ward scored early in overtime to make Hunter the first person to score a Game 7 overtime goal and then coach a team to a Game 7 overtime win. The two teams also completed the first seven-game series in NHL history, in which every game was decided by a single goal.

Mika Zibanejad added another entry to the Rangers’ record books when he scored his sixth hat trick with the team on April 25, 2021, in a 6-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. At the time, he trailed only Rod Gilbert (seven) and Bill Cook (nine) in franchise history. He is now tied with Gilbert after he recorded his seventh earlier in 2021-22.

To close out the day in 2021, Victor Hedman scored 10 seconds into overtime to prevail 4-3 over the Columbus Blue Jackets and set the record for the second-fastest winner in franchise history in the process. The fastest is still nine seconds when Mikael Andersson scored against the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 16, 1994.

Happy Birthday to You

There is a group of 21 players who have skated in the NHL who were born on April 25. Among them are Alexei Emelin (37), James Sheppard (35), Rich Clune (36), and the late Pat Egan.

*Originally constructed by Greg Boysen