Today in Hockey History: May 1

The calendar flips over from April to May, which usually means more Stanley Cup playoff moments in the National Hockey League. Some of the “Original Six” franchises celebrated big moments on this date, including one astonishing stat. The THW time machine is gassed up and ready to take on our daily journey through the decades to relive the best moments May 1 has given us.

May Day is Big in Montreal

May 1 has been a big date in the history of the Montreal Canadiens, which shouldn’t be a big surprise considering how many times they have played for the Stanley Cup. On May 1, 1965, they beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, to win their first championship since 1960.

Jean Beliveau set the tone by scoring just 14 seconds into the game, the fastest Cup-winning goal in playoff history. He picked up an assist five minutes later as the Canadiens scored all four of their goals in the opening period. Gump Worsley made 20 saves to become just the second goaltender in NHL history to earn a shutout in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

After the game, Beliveau was given the first-ever Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable player of the 1965 postseason. He was an easy choice for the inaugural award with eight goals and 16 points in 13 playoff games.

Four years later, on May 1, 1969, goaltender Rogie Vachon recorded his first of two career playoff shutouts, and Dick Duff scored two goals and an assist to lead the Canadiens to a 4-0 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. Vachon and the Canadiens completed the sweep to win their second straight Stanley Cup over the Blues.

Ken Dryden recorded his third career playoff shutout on May 1, 1975, in a 7-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres, in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. Guy Lafleur led the way offensively by scoring a hat trick. Dryden is one of just 12 NHL goaltenders to have at least 10 playoff shutouts.

On May 1, 1992, Russ Courtnall scored in double overtime to give the Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Hartford Whalers in Game 7 of the Adams Division Semifinals. The goal was the third and final playoff overtime tally in his 16-season career.

It was not all great news for the Canadiens on this date. In 1995, as the regular season wrapped up following an extended lockout, Montreal lost 2-0 to the Sabres. Dominik Hasek’s 13th career shutout officially eliminated the Canadiens from the playoff race. This marked the first time since 1970 where the Stanley Cup playoffs took place without the Canadiens being a part of them.

The Detroit Red Wings’ Historic Day

The Red Wings are another franchise that has had its share of success on May 1, albeit, not as much as the Canadiens. On May 1, 2008, Johan Franzen capped off a huge series against the Colorado Avalanche with a hat trick in an 8-2 win in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

The three goals gave him a total of nine in the sweep, the most any player has scored in a four-game playoff series. He also broke the franchise record for the most goals in a playoff series of any length. That was set in 1949 when Gordie Howe scored eight goals in a seven-game series. Franzen also became the first player since Jari Kurri in 1985 to score two hat tricks in the same playoff series.

Franzen owned the Avalanche in 2008. (Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr)

One year later, the Red Wings beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. They set a record by starting a playoff series at home for the 18th consecutive time. Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom scored the game-winning goal in the final minute of regulation after assisting on the team’s other two goals. This made the Red Wings the first team ever to win consecutive playoff games when scoring the winning in the final minute of the third period.

1992 was a Very Good Year

May 1, 1992, proved to be a very memorable day. Adam Graves scored two goals and picked up assists on two more as the New York Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils 8-4 in Game 7 of the Patrick Division Final. Surprisingly enough, this was the first Game 7 win in franchise history. They were 0-4 in their previous Game 7s. It was also the first Game 7 the Rangers ever hosted in their 66-year history.

Mario Lemieux had a goal, and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Washington Capitals, 3-1, in Game 7 of the Patrick Division Semifinals. The Penguins became just the 11th team in NHL history and the third in the last 24 hours to win a best-of-seven playoff series after falling behind 3-1.

Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
Lemieux led an epic comeback against the Capitals. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

In Boston, Pat Lafontaine scored to become the first payer in NHL history to have at least one goal in each of his team’s first seven playoff games of a season. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as the Sabres lost to the Bruins in Game 7 of the Adams Division Semifinals.

Related: The 10 Greatest American Hockey Players Ever

Off the ice, the Blues fired head coach Brian Sutter and replaced him with Bob Plager. Sutter had been the winningest coach in Blues history (153-124-73 in four seasons) and had won the Jack Adams Trophy in 1991 for being the NHL’s top coach.

Odds & Ends

On May 1, 1977, Don Marcotte scored twice, and Gerry Cheevers recorded his seventh career playoff shutout as the Boston Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. The win finished off a four-game sweep as the Bruins advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, where they were swept by the Canadiens.

Goalie Gerry Cheevers
Cheevers led the Bruins to the 1977 Stanley Cup Final. (Photo by B Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Islanders made league history on May 1, 1980, with a 2-1 win at the Sabres, in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. When Bobby Nystrom scored early into the second overtime period, it gave the Islanders a playoff-record seventh straight road win. It was Nystrom’s third of four career playoff overtime goals. The Islanders won this series in six games, on their way to their first of four straight Stanley Cup victories.

On that same evening, Flyers defenseman Bob Dailey scored a goal and added four assists in a 7-0 victory over the Minnesota North Stars in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. Goaltender Phil Myre recorded the only shutout of his playoff career.

Nikolai Borschevsky didn’t have to pay for a meal in Toronto for quite some time after his heroics on May 1, 1993. His overtime goal gave the Maple Leafs a 4-3 victory over the Red Wings in Game 7 of the Norris Division Semifinals. They erased two separate one-goal deficits before Doug Gilmour forced overtime with less than three minutes remaining in regulation. Borschevsky became just the second player in NHL history to score his first playoff goal in overtime of a Game 7.

Curtis McElhinney drew the start for the Carolina Hurricanes, on May 1, 2019, for Game 3 of their second-round series against the Islanders. He made 28 saves in his playoff debut to give the Hurricanes a 5-2 win and a 3-0 series lead. At 35 years and 343 days, McElhinney became the oldest goaltender to make his first postseason start. The previous record was held by Les Brinkley when he was 37 days young than McElhinney when he debuted for the Penguins in 1970.

On May 1, 2021, Evander Kane recorded his 500th NHL point in his 764th game. The former fourth overall pick of the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009 has had his ups and downs both on and off the ice but is now thriving again with the Oilers where he finished the 2021-22 season with 22 goals and 39 points in 43 games. It was his seventh-straight season with 20 or more goals and the eighth of his NHL career.

On that same night, Ryan Miller made 23 saves in the final home game of his 18-season NHL career, as his Ducks prevailed over the Kings 6-2. When he retired at the end of the 2020-21 season, he finished with 391 wins and a career goals-against average (GAA) of 2.64 and a save percentage (SV%) of .914. Throughout his storied career, he won the Vezina Trophy in 2009-10 and played for the Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks. He also won a silver medal with Team USA at the 2010 Olympics and finished as the NHL’s all-time leader among United States-born goalies in wins (391) and is second in shutouts (44) and games played (796).

On May 1, 2022, Paul Stastny recorded his 800th point in the NHL. He is now with the Carolina Hurricanes and is coming off a series-clinching overtime goal that sent the New York Islanders packing in the first round of the 2023 Playoffs.

Happy Birthday to You

There are 26 current and former NHL players who are sharing a birthday today. Among the lot are Jim Lorentz (76), Pat Conacher (64), Clint Malarchuk (62), Bryan Marchment (54), Patrick Eaves (39), David Backes (39), Freddy Gaudreau (30), Dylan DeMelo (30), Jacob Slavin (29) and William Nylander (27).

*Originally constructed by Greg Boysen