This date has given us a little bit of everything over the years, including some very late regular-season games as well as Stanley Cup Playoff milestones. Also, one of the greatest blueliners in National Hockey League history is celebrating his 53rd trip around the sun today. The THW time machine is warmed up and ready to take us on a journey through the decades to relive all the best moments April 28 has given us.
On April 28, 1970, Jacques Plante recorded his 14th and final career postseason shutout. He led the way in the St. Louis Blues’ to a 5-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, in Game 5 of the Western Division Semifinals, with Frank St. Marseille scoring a hat trick. Plante’s 14 shutouts have him tied with Dominik Hasek and Ed Belfour for the seventh-most in Stanley Cup Playoff history.
Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche became the first goaltender to earn 16 shutouts in the playoffs on April 28, 2001. He hit the milestone by blanking the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Roy broke the previous record of 15 shutouts held by Clint Benedict. He retired with 23 playoff shutouts, which Martin Brodeur eventually surpassed.
Sergei’s Fedorov’s Big Day
Federov was the only player to score a goal during Game 6 of the Norris Division Semifinals, on April 28, 1992, between the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota North Stars. Goaltenders Tim Cheveldae and Jon Casey got the game into overtime without surrendering a single goal. Late in overtime, Federov appeared to hit the crossbar, but during the next stoppage of play, the replay showed the puck hitting the back of the net and bouncing right out. He becomes the first player to score a playoff overtime goal awarded after a video review.
Federov scored another game-winning goal, 17 years later, on April 28, 2009. Now a member of the Washington Capitals, the 39-year-old scored with five minutes to play in the third period in a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. He became the oldest player to ever score the deciding goal in a Game 7.
Carolina Hurricanes Slam the East Coast
The Hurricanes picked up a pair of big postseason wins on this date. On April 28, 2009, they stunned the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Down 2-1 with time running out, Jussi Jokinen quieted the crowd at the Prudential Center by tying the game with just 1:20 remaining on the clock. Eric Staal scored the series-winning goal just 49 seconds later to complete the wild comeback. This was the Hurricanes’ first playoff series win since they hoisted the Stanley Cup three years earlier.
A decade later, Warren Foegele and Nino Niederreiter scored in the opening minute of the third period to lead the Hurricanes past the New York Islanders 2-1 in Game 2 of their second-round series. That pushed their postseason winning streak to four games and marked the second time in franchise history (including the Hartford Whalers) that they had won the first two games of a playoff series on the road.
Odds & Ends
On April 28, 1968, Jacques Lemaire scored in overtime to beat the Chicago Blackhawks and send the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup Final. It is their fourth straight trip to the championship series, and they swept the Blues to win their 15th Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Game 3 of the Campbell Conference Final, on April 28, 1984, proved to be one of the wildest games in postseason history. The North Stars and Edmonton Oilers set a new playoff record by scoring seven combined power-play goals. Minnesota scored four times on the man advantage, but it wasn’t enough as they lost 8-5 to the high-powered Edmonton attack.
The Toronto Maple Leafs named Gord Stellick their new general manager on April 28, 1988, replacing Gerry McNamara. At 30 years of age, he became the youngest general manager in NHL history. His tenure with the team only lasted 16 months, as Stellick resigned in August of 1989, citing indifference from owner Harold Ballard.
Teams were still playing regular-season games on April 28, 1995, due to the late start brought on by the 103-day lockout that ended in early January. On this date, Kevin Stevens became the fourth player to score 250 goals as a member of the Penguins. The milestone came as Pittsburgh won 4-1 over the Boston Bruins. Since then, Jaromir Jagr, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin have all joined the 250-goal club in Pittsburgh.
On that same night, San Jose Sharks’ goaltender Arturs Irbe played in his 158th career NHL game, the most by a European-born netminder. He picked up his eighth career shutout in beating the Kings 4-0.
April 28, 1996, was a hectic day in the Stanley Cup Playoff. The Red Wings knocked the Winnipeg Jets out of the postseason with a 4-1 victory in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. The Jets relocated to Arizona shortly after this exit. This was the last NHL game in Winnipeg until October 9, 2011, when the Atlanta Thrashers became the second version of the Jets.
The Capitals were also eliminated from the playoffs on this date. Ken Wregget made 35 saves, and Mario Lemieux scored a goal and recorded an assist in the first period in the Penguins’ 3-2 victory in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Finally, Mike Richter made 27 saves as the Rangers beat the Canadiens in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. New York won the series four games to two.
April 28, 1998, was just as eventful as it was two years earlier. Claude Lemieux scored the 19th and final game-winning goal of his playoff career (second-most in NHL history) as the Avalanche beat the Oilers 3-1 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Also, Andrei Zyuzin became just the fourth NHL rookie defenseman to score an overtime playoff goal as the Sharks beat the Dallas Stars 1-0 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. He is the first player in 75 years to score his first playoff goal in a 1-0 overtime victory. Mike Vernon picked up the sixth and final playoff shutout of his career.
On that same night, Daniel Alfredsson scored the first postseason hat trick in Ottawa Senators franchise history. He scored once in each period of a 4-3 victory over the Devils in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
On April 28, 2014, Chris Kreider became the first player in league history to score two game-winning goals in the same season in which he made his NHL debut. His second game-winner came in the third period of the Rangers’ 3-1 win over the Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The Vegas Golden Knights came out on the losing end of a Stanley Cup Playoff game for the first time on April 28, 2018. After sweeping the Kings in the first round and beating the Sharks in Game 1 of their second-round series, they lose 4-3 in overtime. They are the only team in league history to win its first five postseason games.
Auston Matthews, like he’s done a few times in his career already, got into the Maple Leafs’ record books on April 28, 2021, when he scored his 10th game-winning goal of the season in a 4-1 win over the Canadiens. With the goal, he tied Mats Sundin (2003-04) and Frank Mahovlich (1960-61) for third in Toronto history.
When Quinton Byfield made his NHL debut on April 28, 2021, he became the sixth-youngest forward and ninth-youngest player to play for the Los Angeles Kings in their history. Unfortunately, he did it in a losing cause as they were defeated by Trevor Zegras and the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 3-2.
On this date in 2022, Patrice Bergeron became the fourth player to score 400 goals with the Bruins, joining Johnny Bucyk, Phil Esposito and Rick Middleton. He did it in a win, too, as the Bruins beat up the Buffalo Sabres 5-0.
Meanwhile, in Carolina, the Hurricanes finished the season with 54 wins and 116 points after beating the New Jersey Devils 6-3. Both were Hartford Whalers/Hurricanes records.
Happy Birthday to You
One of the best defensemen to ever skate in the NHL is celebrating a birthday today as Nicklas Lindstrom turns 53. The Vasteras, Sweden native, left his mark on both the Red Wings and the NHL. He played in 1,827 total games (regular season and playoffs combined), the 10th most in league history. He is the sixth-highest-scoring defenseman ever with 1,142 points.
Other notable players who were also born on April 28 include Mel Bridgman (68), Ted Donato (54), Roman Polak (37), David Krejci (37), Luke Glendening (34), Joonas Korpisalo (29), Kevin Lankinen (28), Connor Clifton (28) and Jeremy Lauzon (26).
*Originally constructed by Greg Boysen