This date has provided plenty of big postseason moments throughout the history of the National Hockey League. In addition, two Hall of Famers and all-time greats are celebrating birthdays today. It is time to hop aboard the THW time machine and enjoy a trip through the decades to relive all the best moments May 12 has to offer.
Beat Me in St. Louis
The St. Louis Blues pulled off one of the biggest comebacks in Stanley Cup playoffs history on May 12, 1986, in Game 6 of the Campbell Conference Final. Trailing the Calgary Flames 5-2 with less than 12 minutes to play and facing elimination, Brian Sutter began an epic comeback that would be known as the “Monday Night Miracle.”
Shortly after Sutter made it a 5-3 game, Greg Paslawski cut the deficit down to a single goal with about four minutes left in regulation. He tied the game with his 10th goal of the postseason three minutes later. In overtime, Doug Wickenheiser’s second goal of the game forced a Game 7 back in Calgary. Wickenheiser came into the game with no goals in the postseason. Cliff Ronning’s first-period goal for the Blues was the first of his NHL career.
The Blues found themselves down 2-0 heading into the third period of Game 7 and nearly staged another great comeback. They were able to cut the lead in half, but Calgary goaltender Mike Vernon held off the charge to get the Flames into the Stanley Cup Final.
A decade later, on May 12, 1996, Brett Hull scored a goal and added an assist to become the second player in team history to score 100 career playoff points with the Blues. The milestone came in a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
On May 12, 1999, Pierre Turgeon scored the winning goal at 5:52 of overtime to lead the Blues to a 3-2 win against the visiting Dallas Stars in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals. It was the third consecutive overtime game in the tightly contested series.
New York Islanders Show Superiority
The Islanders enjoyed a trio of postseason wins on this date, including two in the Stanley Cup Final. On May 12, 1981, they opened the Stanley Cup Final with a 6-3 win over the Minnesota North Stars. The game was put out of reach thanks to a pair of shorthanded goals by Bryan Trottier and Anders Kallur, scored just 47 seconds apart.
Three years later, Clark Gillies scored a hat trick to beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-1 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. The win evened the series at one victory apiece. However, this is the late time the Islanders won a Stanley Cup Final game. The Oilers won the next three games to end the Islanders’ four-year reign as champions and they have not returned to the Final since.
Steve Thomas, who inked his first NHL contract on May 12, 1984, had a big game for the Islanders on this date in 1993. The veteran forward had two goals and two assists in a 7-5 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of the Patrick Division Final. Thomas’ second tally of the night held on to be the game-winning goal.
Let’s Hear it For the Goalies
On May 12, 1992, goaltender Bill Ranford recorded his third career playoff shutout to lead the Oilers to a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks, in Game 6 of the Smythe Division Finals. It was Ranford’s second shutout of the 1992 postseason.
Three years later, Martin Brodeur led the way to a 1-0 overtime victory against the visiting Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Randy McKay scored the winning goal in overtime as Brodeur picked up his third shutout of the series.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped all 24 shots he faced, on May 12, 2003, in an Anaheim Ducks’ 2-0 win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final. It was Giguere’s second straight shutout to start the series. Both of the Ducks’ goals were shorthanded, scored by Kurt Sauer and Rob Niedermayer.
Odds & Ends
On May 12, 1973, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Swedish defenseman Borje Salming and forward Inge Hammarstrom as free agents. Salming played 1148 games over 16 seasons for the Maple Leafs. He scored 150 goals and 787 points while being a plus-170 for his career, which included a final season with the Red Wings in 1989-90. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996. Hammarstrom played in 427 games with the Maple Leafs and Blues, scoring 116 goals and 239 points.
Guy Lafleur came up big for the Montreal Canadiens on May 12, 1977. He scored twice and added two assists in a 4-2 win at the Bruins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. The win gave the Canadiens a 3-0 lead in the series.
Eddie Olcyzk made NHL history with the Chicago Blackhawks on May 12, 1985. He became the youngest player since expansion in 1967 to score a goal in a Conference or Stanley Cup Final game at 18 years and 269 days. His historic goal, a shorthanded one, came in the Blackhawks 8-6 win over the Oilers in Game 4 of the Campbell Conference Final.
On May 12, 1987, Larry Robinson scored the game-winning goal and added three assists in the Canadiens 5-2 victory versus the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5 of the Wales Conference Final. His four points set a Montreal record for the most points by a defenseman in a playoff game.
A decade later, the Washington Capitals fired David Poile, the team’s general manager since August of 1982. The move came one month after the Capitals missed the Stanley Cup playoffs for the only time in his 15 years with the club. He did not stay unemployed long; a short time later, he was named the general manager of the expansion Nashville Predators, a job he still holds.
Henrik Zetterberg scored a goal and added an assist on May 12, 2003, to beat the Ducks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. With the win, the Red Wings became the first team in NHL history to win 14 Game 7s. They improved to 14-9 all-time in the seventh and final game of a series. The loss started a streak of four consecutive seasons in which the Ducks lost a Game 7 on home ice.
Happy Birthday to You
Today’s birthday list starts off with a pair of Hall of Famers, Johnny Bucyk (86) and Bernie Federko (65).
Buyck’s career started in Detroit, but he went made a name for himself during his 21 seasons with the Bruins. He scored a franchise-high 545 goals and 1339 points in 1436 games in Boston. He was a two-time winner of the Lady Bing Trophy for being the league’s most “gentlemanly” player and was part of two Stanley Cup-winning teams.
Federko played 13 seasons with the Blues before one final season with the Red Wings. In St. Louis, he scored 352 goals and had 721 assists in 927 games. His 1073 points are the most in franchise history. He and Hull are the only two Blues with 100 points in the postseason, as well.
Other current and former players celebrating birthdays today are Richie Dunn (64), Warren Rychel (54), Antti Raanta (32), Colton Parayko (28), Sonny Milano (25), and Samuel Girard (23).
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.