Today in Hockey History: April 7

On this date, the emergency backup goaltender was taken to a whole new level during a Stanley Cup Final game. This was also a big date for extending streaks and playoff records while one team’s direction was forever changed. Let’s take our daily trip back in time and relive all the best moments April 7 has had to offer.

A Big Date for Coaches

Lester Patrick won six Stanley Cups with the New York Rangers as a player, coach and general manager during his Hall of Fame career. His most memorable moment came on April 7, 1928, when he stepped off the bench to lead his team to a huge victory.

In Game 2 of the 1928 Stanley Cup Final against the Montreal Marrons, Rangers’ goaltender Lorne Chatbot was hit in the eye by a shot from Nels Stewart and is forced to leave the game early in the second period. In a show of poor sportsmanship, the Maroons refuse to let the Rangers use a backup goaltender who was watching from the stands and turned down Patrick’s request to play a minor-leaguer.

After being urged by his players, Patrick takes matters into his own hand and plays the rest of the game in goal himself. The Rangers implemented a strategy to check the Maroons hard at center ice and limited them to mostly long-range shots. The 44-year-old Patrick stops 18 of the 19 shots he faced and the Rangers won in overtime thanks to a Frank Boucher goal to go up 2-0 in the best-of-five series.

The NHL permitted the Rangers to use New York Americans’ goaltender Joe Miller for the rest of the series. The Maroons stayed alive in Game 3 to extend the series before Miller shuts them out in Game 4 to give the Rangers their first Stanley Cup.

On April 7, 1999, the late Pat Quinn earned his 400th career win as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Yanic Perreault scored all four goals to give his head coach the historic win. At the time, Quinn was just the 13th coach to hit the 400-win plateau. He retired with 684 career wins for five different teams, which is still the 11th-most in league history.

Three years later, on April 7, 2002, Brian Sutter became the 15th coach in NHL history to earn 400 career victories in the Chicago Blackhawks’ 3-2 win against the visiting Calgary Flames. He had 451 total wins in his career, second in the Sutter family behind his brother Darryl, who won 634 games as an NHL head coach.

We’re Going Streaking

On April 7, 1955, the Montreal Canadiens snapped the Detroit Red Wings’ 15-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Red Wings won the last nine games of the regular season and their first six games of the playoffs heading into the game. Detroit went on to win the Stanley Cup in seven games, their last championship until 1997.

John Anderson scored the lone Maple Leafs goal in their 5-1 loss at the Boston Bruins on April 7, 1985. It was the 10th straight game in which Anderson lit the lamp, extending his team record.

On April 7, 1993, the Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their 15th straight win by beating the Canadiens 4-3 in overtime. Rick Tocchet had a hat trick in regulation before picking up the primary assist on the game-winning goal. The 15 consecutive wins tied the mark the New York Islanders set during the 1981-1982 season. The biggest difference between the two streaks is that there was no overtime when the Islanders had theirs.

The New Jersey Devils became just the third team in NHL history to get 10 straight victories on the road when they beat the Canadiens 1-0 on April 7, 2001. Martin Brodeur recorded his 51st career shutout in his hometown as the Devils clinched the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Red Wings beat the visiting Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on April 7, 2001. The victory extended their unbeaten streak at the Joe Louis Arena to 19 straight games as they went 17-0-2 during this span. The previous record of 18 games was set by the 1931-32 team and matched in 1954-55.

A Memorable Night in 1974

The final night of the 1973-74 season provided a trio of milestones. First, Bernie Parent of the Philadelphia Flyers earned his 47th win of the season by beating the Minnesota North Stars 6-2. The victory set the single-season record for most wins by a goaltender and lasted until Brodeur won 48 games in 2006-07.

Bernie Parent Philadelphia Flyers 1975
Parent made history on this date in 1974. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

In Buffalo, Rick Martin became the first player in Sabres history to score 50 goals in a season when his hat trick helped beat the St. Louis Blues 5-2. It was the seventh hat trick of Martin’s NHL career. Since then, Danny Gare, Pat LaFontaine and Alexander Mogilny joined him in the Sabres’ 50-goal club.

Penguins’ netminder Andy Brown made NHL history this night, too, as he became the last goaltender to play in an NHL game without wearing a mask. He lost 6-3 at the Atlanta Flames in the final game of his career.

Odds & Ends

On April 7, 1936, the Red Wings beat the Maple Leafs 9-4 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, with John Sorrel scoring two goals and adding a pair of assists. The nine Detroit goals remain the most by one team in a Stanley Cup Final game.

When Maurice Richard took the ice for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on April 7, 1960, he made NHL history. He extended his record for most appearances in the Stanley Cup Final by playing in the championship series for the 12th and last time. He is still tied with most Final appearances with his brother Henri and fellow Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau. Red Kelly also played in 12 Stanley Cup Finals with the Red Wings and Maple Leafs.

Beliveau and Richard
Richard and Beliveau got quite familiar with Lord Stanley in their careers. (THW Archives)

The Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers scored 18 combined goals in Game 1 of the Smythe Division Semifinals on April 7, 1982, the most ever in a postseason game. Fifteen different players found the back of the net.

Both Mario Lemieux and Mike Gartner hit personal milestones on April 7, 1985, when the Washington Capitals beat the Penguins 7-3. Lemieux had a goal to become just the third player in league history to score 100 points in his rookie season.

Gartner scored a pair of goals and assisted on two others to pick up both 50 goals and 100 points on the season. He ended his Hall of Fame career with 708 goals and 1.335 points, but this was the only season in which he scored 50 goals or 100 points.

On April 7, 1998, Al MacInnis had a goal and an assist in the Blues’ 5-3 loss at the Red Wings. The two points made MacInnis only the sixth defenseman in league history to score 1,000 in his career. He was far from done as he is third all-time among all blueliners with 1,274 career points.

Patrick Roy earned his 30th win of the season when he beat the Nashville Predators on April 7, 1999. It was the ninth 30-win season of his career, breaking the record held by Tony Esposito for the most 30-win seasons by any goaltender. Roy retired with 13 30-win seasons, one behind Brodeur for the most ever.

best Habs goalies
Roy was one of the greatest to ever play goal. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

On April 7, 2004, the direction of the Capitals franchise changed forever.  Coming off their worst season in 26 years, they won the Draft Lottery to select first overall in the following June’s NHL Entry Draft. They selected some guy named Alex Ovechkin with the pick.

Happy Birthday to You

There are 24 NHL players who were born on April 7. Among the most notable players are Hall of Famer Clark Gillies (67), Ted Nolan (63), Pascal Dupuis (42), Chris Terry (32), Marcus Sorensen (29), Troy Stecher (27) and the late Alexander Karpovtsev.

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