April 3 was a big date for the Original Six cities of Boston and Toronto. Plus, the most successful father-son duo in National Hockey League history had major milestones. The THW time machine is fired up and ready to take us on our daily journey through the decades to relive all the best moments this date has given us.
A Memorable Date for the Hulls
On April 3, 1966, Bobby Hull picked up an assist in the Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins in their regular-season finale. He finished the season with 97 points, the most ever in NHL history, breaking Dickie Moore of the Montreal Canadiens’ previous record of 96. To put this into perspective, 343 players have scored 97 points or more in a season since this date.
Exactly 34 years later, on April 3, 2000, Brett Hull tied his father for ninth place on the all-time goals list when he scored his 610th goal in the Dallas Stars’ 2-2 tie with the Calgary Flames.
Toronto Maple Leafs Do It All
This has been a very kind date to the Maple Leafs over the years. In 1933, Ken Doraty scored at 4:46 of the sixth overtime to give the Maple Leafs a 1-0 win to eliminate the Bruins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. Goaltender Lorne Chabot earned his fourth career playoff shutout in the longest game in postseason history at the time.
The Maple Leafs became the first team to use three goalies in a game on April 3, 1966. Johnny Bower played the first period, Terry Sawchuk came in for the second and Bruce Gamble completed the 3-3 tie with the Detroit Red Wings. Bower also took over head coaching duties from Punch Imlach in the third period.
On April 3, 1976, Darryl Sittler became the first player in Maple Leafs history to score 100 points in a season. The milestone came with a goal and an assist in a 4-2 loss to the Bruins. The Maple Leafs were the last of the “Original Six” teams to have a player with a 100-point season. He and Doug Gilmour are the only two players in franchise history to have a 100-point season with both players doing it twice.
When the Maple Leafs beat the New Jersey Devils on April 3, 1993, they set the franchise record with their 42nd win of the season. They won their final two games of the regular season to end with 44. The 1992-93-win total remains the sixth-best season in franchise history. The 1998-99 team broke their record when they won 45 games, which was matched the following season. The 2017-18 Maple Leafs had the best regular season in team history with 49 wins.
Boston Bruins’ Greats Rule the Day
Four Bruins Hall of Famers had big moments on this date through the decades. In 1971, defenseman Bobby Orr set up three goals in an 8-3 win at Maple Leafs to become the first player in NHL history to have 100 assists in one season.
Jean Ratelle became the 12th player in NHL history to score 1,000 career points on April 3, 1977, with an assist in a 7-4 Bruins’ win over Toronto.
On April 3, 1983, Brad Park became just the second defenseman in NHL history to record 600 career assists on April 3, 1983, by picking up a helper in a 4-4 tie with the visiting Canadiens.
A decade later, Ray Bourque picked up his 800th career NHL assist in a 3-2 Bruins’ win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Mario Lemieux has a Super Date
The legendary Lemieux had a trio of big moments on this date. On April 3, 1988, he became just the fourth player in NHL history to score 70 goals in a season against the Whalers. Currently, eight players have scored at least 70 goals in a single season with the most recent occurring when both Teemu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny scored 76 in 1992-93.
On April 3, 1993, Lemieux became just the second player in NHL history to score a goal against 22 teams in one season, when he lit the lamp in the Penguins’ 5-3 win over the Quebec Nordiques.
Finally, on April 3, 1997, Lemieux moved ahead of Bobbly Hull with his 611th career goal against the Hartford Whalers. He also picked up an assist in a 5-5 tie at the old Civic Arena.
Odds & Ends
The Canadiens defeated the Bruins 4-3 on April 3, 1930, to sweep the best-of-3 Stanley Cup Final. This was the first time that Boston lost consecutive games after finishing the regular season with a 38-5-1. Hall of Famer Howie Morenz had the Cup-clinching goal.
Gordie Howe scored his final goal as a member of the Detroit Red Wings on April 3, 1971, in a 4-1 win over the Blackhawks. He scored 786 goals and 1,809 points over his 25 seasons with the Red Wings.
On April 3, 1977, Guy Lafleur extended his NHL-record point-scoring streak to 28 games during the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. He scored 19 goals and 61 points during the 28-game streak. He also set the Montreal franchise record for the most points in a season with 136, which still stands today. In fact, he has the six best scoring seasons in franchise history.
In that same game, Lafleur’s linemate, Steve Shutt, became the first left wing in team history to score 60 goals in a season. The Canadiens also set an NHL record with their 60th win of the season and their 132 points are still the highest total ever.
Reggie Leach netted his eighth career hat trick and became the first player in NHL history to score his 50th goal of the season into an empty net on April 3, 1980, in the Philadelphia Flyers’ 4-2 win against the Capitals.
Bryan Trottier became the second player in New York Islanders’ history to have a 50-goal season on April 3, 1982, as they beat Flyers 6-3. The Islanders concluded their regular-season home schedule with a record-tying 21-0-2 home undefeated streak.
On that same night, Gilbert Perreault scored a goal and added two assists to become the first Sabre to score 1,000 career points in a 5-4 win at the Canadiens. He was the 16th player in league history to hit the 1,000-point plateau.
John MacLean scored in overtime on April 3, 1988, to give the Devils a 4-3 win at the Blackhawks in their regular-season finale. This put them ahead of the New York Rangers and Penguins for fourth place in the Patrick Division, thus clinching a Stanley Cup Playoff spot for the first time since moving from Colorado in 1982.
Later that same evening, Hakan Loob of the Calgary Flames became the first Swedish-born player to score 50 goals in the NHL. The milestone goal came in a 4-1 win over the Minnesota North Stars. This was the only 50-goal season in Loob’s career and he is one of seven players to have one in a Flames uniform.
In more recent history, Patrick Laine scored his 44th goal of the season on April 3, 2018, to help lead the Winnipeg Jets past the Canadiens. He joined Jimmy Carson and Dale Hawerchuk as the only players in league history to score at least 80 goals as a teenager.
One year later, Patrick Kane scored a goal and added an assist in the Blackhawks’ 4-3 shootout win over the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the St. Louis Blues. The two points give him 107 on the season, setting a new career-high. He had 106 points in 2015-16 when he won the Art Ross and Hart Trophies. His teammate Jonathan Toews also set a new career-high with his 35th goal of the season.
Happy Birthday to You
Hall of Fame goaltender Bernie Parent, turning 76 today, headlines a group of 24 current and former NHL players sharing a birthday. The other notable members of this bunch are Steve Ludzik (60), Brent Gilchrist (54), Shawn Bates (46), Deryk Engelland (39), Stephen Weiss (38), Steve Downie (34), T.J. Brennan (32) and Vinnie Hinostroza (27).
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.