April 27 has provided some big moments throughout the course of National Hockey League history. There have been plenty of dramatic playoff games as well as new league and franchise records set on this date.
A Big Day for Buffalo
The Buffalo Sabres have not had a ton of postseason success since joining the NHL in 1970. They have only made the Stanley Cup Final twice and are still looking for their first championship. With that being said, April 27 has been a rather successful day in their 49-season history.
On April 27, 1975, Gil Perreault scored a goal and added two assists to lead the Sabres to a 6-5 overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. Rookie Danny Gare scored the winner at 4:42 of overtime. They went on to upset the Canadiens in six games to advance to their first Stanley Cup Final, where they were beaten by the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Sabres trailed the Boston Bruins 3-1 in the Adams Division Semifinals heading into Game 5, on April 27, 1992. Rookie goaltender Tom Draper earned his only career playoff shutout while Petr Svobada assisted on both goals in a 2-0 victory. Buffalo won Game 6 to force a seventh and final game, which they lost in Boston.
On April 27, 1994, two of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history squared in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Dominik Hasek outdueled Martin Brodeur in a marathon quadruple-overtime classic. Hasek stopped all 70 shots he faced before Have Hannan forces Game 7 with his goal at 5:43 in the fourth overtime.
Three years later, on April 27, 1997, Hasek’s backup, Steve Shields, recorded the first shutout of his playoff career when the Sabres beat the Ottawa Senators 3-0, in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Shields led the Sabres to Game 7 victory on home ice, two nights later, to advance to the next round.
The Sabres bested the Senators again, two years later, on April 27, 1999. This time, Hasek made 40 saves as Buffalo beat Ottawa 4-3, completing the four-game sweep of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series.
Montreal Records Broken
On April 27, 1967, Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau scored a pair of goals in a 6-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, in the Stanley Cup Final. His two goals gave 128 career playoff points, putting him ahead of Maurice Richard for the most in Canadiens’ team history. In fact, the only player to have more playoff points, at the time, was Gordie Howe. He is still the Canadiens all-time leading playoff scorer with 197 points.
Exactly four years later, Beliveau picked up three assists in a 6-1 win versus the Minnesota North Stars, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. The performance gives him 92 career postseason helpers, the most ever in NHL history. He broke the previous record of 91 that was held by Howe. His 97 playoff assists are now ranked 25th all-time as the playoffs have expanded to four rounds over the years.
Patrick Roy set another Canadiens record on April 27, 1994. When he took the ice for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Bruins, he passed Ken Dryden to become the team’s all-time leader in playoff games played by a goaltender, with 113.
Bowman Moves On and Up
On April 27, 1971, Scotty Bowman resigned as general manager and head coach of the St. Louis Blues after four seasons and three Stanley Cup Final appearances. Six weeks later he would become the head of the Canadiens where he won 419 regular-season games and five Stanley Cups.
When he took his spot behind the bench of the Pittsburgh Penguins, on April 27, 1992, for Game 5 of the Patrick Division Semifinals, he made NHL history. It was his 191st career playoff game, which broke the record he shared with fellow former Canadiens head coach, Dick Irvin. He still holds the all-time record with 353 playoff games coached.
Odds & Ends
On April 27, 1958, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced its 14th induction class: Frank Boucher, King Clancy, Sprague Cleghorn, Alex Connell, Red Dutton, Frank Foyston, Frank Fredrickson, Herb Gardiner, Bill Hay, Dick Irvin, Ivan “Ching” Johnson, Duke Keats, Hugh Lehman and Paddy Moran.
Bobby Hull scored a ton of goals during his Hall of Fame career, but he only scored one in overtime of a playoff game. That goal came on April 27, 1971, in a Chicago Blackhawks’ 3-2 win against the New York Rangers, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals.
Current Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill had a big night, on April 27, 1982, while playing for the Vancouver Canucks. He scored nine minutes into the second overtime to beat the Blackhawks 3-2, in Game 1 of the Conference Finals. Goaltender Richard Brodeur made 46 saves in what was, at the time, the longest game in franchise history.
On April 27, 1996, the Florida Panthers won their first-ever playoff series by beating the Bruins in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The team’s initial trip to the postseason included their one and only appearance in the Stanley Cup Final.
The team that beat them in the 1996 Stanley Cup Final, the Colorado Avalanche, also advanced to the second round on the same day. Joe Sakic scored his seventh goal of the series, in the third period, to beat the Canucks 3-2, in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
The Blues set a Stanley Cup playoff record on April 27, 1998, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. They scored all four goals in 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings during a third-period five-minute power play, thanks to a Sean O’Donnell major penalty. The Blues scored the fastest four power-play goals in playoff history when Pascal Rheaume, Brett Hull, Pierre Turgeon and Terry Yake all lit the lamp within 3:07 of each other. Chris Pronger picked up three assists in exactly two minutes of game time.
Brett Hull had another big moment on April 27, 2002, by becoming the all-time leader in playoff power-play goals. He passed Mike Bossy with his 36th career postseason power-play goal in the Detroit Red Wings’ 6-4 victory over the Canucks, in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. He retired with 38 playoff goals on the power play, which remain the most in league history. The active player who has most is Evgeni Malkin, with 27, followed by Alex Ovechkin with his 24 career playoff power-play goals.
Happy Birthday to You
Fittingly, there are 27 current and former NHL players who born on April 27. The most notable of the birthday boys are Murray Bannerman (63), Mike Krushelnyksi (60), Bob McGill (58), Mart Stuart (36), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (36), Semyon Varlamov (32), Paul Byron (31), Mike Condon (30), Matthew Peca (27), Tyler Graovac (27), Brendan Perlini (24), Niko Mikkola (24) and Drake Batherson (22) and the late Keith Magnuson.