Today in Hockey History: May 13

Today’s date is chock-full of great Stanley Cup playoff moments. May 13 has seen plenty of National Hockey League memories, including some epic comebacks, overtime history, and series-clinching wins. Let’s begin our daily trip back in time to relive all the best moments.

It Was 4-1!

Depending on which side of the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs’ rivalry you are on, May 13, 2013, is a date that is looked at very differently. On this date, the Bruins staged an epic Game 7 comeback that, once again, shattered the hearts of Maple Leafs fans.

The Bruins hosted Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal, and things were not looking good as a Nazem Kadri goal gave the Maple Leafs a 4-1 lead with 14:31 left to play. Nathan Horton drew the home team to within two goals midway through the period.

Things got interesting when the Bruins pulled goaltender Tuukka Rask with two minutes to play. Milan Lucic scores with 1:22 left on the clock to cut the lead to 4-3. Just 31 seconds later, Patrice Bergeron tied the game. He won it six minutes into overtime and sent the Bruins onto the next round.

With the win, the Bruins became the first team in NHL history to win the seventh game of a Stanley Cup playoff series after trailing by three goals in the third period.

Stanley Cup Final Moments

On May 13, 1971, Bobby Hull set a team record during the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. His assist gave him 22 points in the 1971 postseason, which were the most ever scored by a Blackhawks player in a single playoff. Tony Esposito picked up his second shutout of the series with 31 saves to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead in the series.

Ken Dryden and the Canadiens continued their Stanley Cup Final dominance on May 13, 1978. They beat the Bruins 4-1, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, to win their 10th straight Stanley Cup Final game, the most ever in league history. Their last loss in the championship series came in Game 5 of the 1973 Stanley Cup Final.

Ken Dryden #29 of the Montreal Canadiens
Dryden and the Canadiens dominated the 1970s. (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Canadiens were on the losing end of a Stanley Cup Final game one year later. On May 13, 1979, the New York Rangers beat the Canadiens 4-1 in Game 1 of the Final. Montreal came back with four straight wins to win the Stanley Cup for the fourth straight season.

On May 13, 1980, Denis Potvin scored the first-ever overtime power-play goal in a Stanley Cup Final. With just one second left on the man advantage, Potvin beat goaltender Pete Peeters to give the New York Islanders a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in the opening game of the series. He also had an assist on the game-tying goal late in the third period.

Sign up for our NHL History Substack newsletter

Substack The Hockey Writers Hockey History Banner

Two years later, Mike Bossy became the first player in Islanders history to score 50 postseason goals. Goaltender Billy Smith earned his third career playoff shutout in a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks, in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. The win gave the Islanders a 3-0 lead in the series.

Punching Their Ticket

The Flyers earned a trip to their second straight Stanley Cup Final on May 13, 1975, by beating the Islanders 4-1 in Game 7 of the Semifinals. After Kate Smith sang a rousing version of “God Bless America,” the Flyers took over the game. Rick MacLeish scored a hat trick to avoid an epic collapse as the series needed all seven games after the Flyers took a 3-0 lead.

On May 13, 1987, Kent Nilsson scored two goals and had a pair of assists in the Edmonton Oilers 6-3 win over the visiting Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 of the Campbell Conference Final. Glenn Anderson assisted on five of the six goals as the Oilers advanced to the Stanley Cup Final to take on the Flyers.

Glenn Anderson of the Edmonton Oilers
Anderson had five assists to knock out the Red Wings on this date in 1987. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Kings advanced to a conference final for the first time in franchise history on May 13, 1993. Wayne Gretzky led the charge with a goal and two assists in a 5-3 win over the Canucks, in Game 6 of the Smythe Division Final. This was also the first time in team history that the Kings won more than one playoff series in the same season.

On May 13, 1996, Sandis Ozolinsh scored the winning goal in overtime and added an assist as the Colorado Avalanche beat the Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals. The goal ended the Blackhawks’ season as the Avalanche continued the march to their first Stanley Cup win.

Jason Pominville made league history on May 13, 2006, as he became the first player to ever end a playoff series with an overtime shorthanded goal. His historic goal beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals and sent the Buffalo Sabres on to the next round.

The Rangers beat the Washington Capitals 2-1, on May 13, 2015, in Game 7 of their second-round series. Derek Stepan scored in overtime as the Rangers erased a 3-1 series deficit to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The win improved New York’s all-time record to 7-0 in Game 7s on home ice.

On May 13, 2022, the Florida Panthers beat the Capitals 4-3 in overtime to advance to the second round for the first time since 1996. Carter Verhaeghe scored the game-winner at 2:46 of overtime to secure the series victory and his second overtime goal of the series. The goal was also his third straight game-winner as he became the 12th player in NHL history and the fourth since 2002 to do so.

Odds & Ends

On May 13, 1957, Billy Reay was named the new head coach of the Maple Leafs, replacing Howie Meeker. Reay did not qualify for the 1958 Stanley Cup playoffs and was fired 20 games into the 1958-59 season. He was eventually hired by the Blackhawks in 1963, where he won 516 games over 14 seasons and took them to three Stanley Cup Finals.

Gordie Howe was named winner of the Hart Trophy as NHL’s MVP for the second straight year On May 13. 1958. This was his fourth Hart win in his career, tying the record for most, at the time, set by former Bruins’ defenseman Eddie Shore. Howe won six Hart Trophies before he retired. Only Gretzky has more, with nine.

Gordie howe
Howe won six Hart Trophies with the Red Wings. (THW Archives)

The San Jose Sharks named Doug Wilson as their new general manager on May 13, 2003. He held the job until April 7, 2022. Only David Poile of the Nashville Predators, who was hired in 1997, has had a longer tenure as an NHL general manager.

On May 13, 2009, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin concluded their first playoff series against each other. Crosby scored two goals and added an assist in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 6-2 win over the Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Head-to-head, Crosby’s Penguins have won three of the four all-time playoff series versus Ovechkin’s Capitals. Ovechkin has 15 goals and 33 points, while Crosby has 13 goals and 30 points.

Happy Birthday to You

You could fill out one heck of a lineup card with the 29 current and former NHL players who were born on May 13. Among them are Ron Wilson (68), Darryl Sydor (52), Jamie Allison (49), Matt Greene (41), Travis Zajac (39), Jaroslav Halak (39), Kris Versteeg (38), Jared Boll (38), P.K. Subban (35), Mark Stone (32), Michael Amadio (28) and the late Hall of Famer Babe Dye.

*Originally constructed by Greg Boysen