Today in Hockey History: May 2

There were quite a few memorable postseason moments to occur on this date throughout National Hockey League history. The final Stanley Cup champion before the expansion era was crowned, and there were plenty of wins in the City of Brotherly Love. Let’s begin our daily trip back in time to relive all the best that May 2 has had to offer.

The End of an Era in Toronto

May 2, 1967, is a date remembered by both those who cheer for the Toronto Maple Leafs and those who like to give their fanbase a hard time. This was when the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup for the 13th time in franchise history, but they have not won one since.

Ron Ellis, Jim Pappin, and George Armstrong all scored in the 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Terry Sawchuk made 40 saves in the championship-clinching win. This was the last Stanley Cup won during the “Original Six” era as six expansion teams joined the league the following fall.

This was the Maple Leafs’ fourth Stanley Cup win in six seasons, but the writing was on the wall that the dynasty was nearing its end. The roster had an average age of 31, with eight players who were 36-years-old or older. One of the younger players, Dave Keon, 26, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for his excellent defense during the postseason.

Philadelphia Flyers Own the Day

The Flyers love playing on May 2, because that usually means a playoff win. On May 2, 1976, they beat the Boston Bruins 5-2 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. Reggie Leach’s insurance goal in the third period extended his goal-scoring streak to seven straight games. Rookie Mel Bridgman scored the game-winning goal and added two assists.

Ken Dryden against Reggie Leach
Leach scored in seven straight playoff games in 1976. (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

Brian Popp and Brad Marsh set a Flyers’ playoff record on May 2, 1987, to help them advance to the Prince of Wales Conference Finals. The duo scored a pair of shorthanded goals just 44 seconds apart in the first period, setting the tone in a 5-1 win over the New York Islanders in Game 7 of the Patrick Division Final.

On May 2, 2000, Andy Delmore scored his first two playoff goals, with the second coming in overtime to give the Flyers a 4-3 at the Pittsburgh Penguins, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. He became just the fifth rookie defenseman in Stanley Cup playoff history to score an overtime goal.

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Four years later, Keith Primeau scored the only playoff hat trick of his career and added an assist in a 7-2 win over the visiting Maple Leafs in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Flyers’ captain led the team with nine goals and 16 points during the 2004 postseason.

The Battle of Quebec Heats Up

On May 2, 1973, Canadiens’ Hall of Fame goaltender Jacques Plante signed a ten-year contract to become the head coach and general manager of the second-year Quebec Nordiques in the World Hockey Association. However, the partnership only lasts one season after Plante resigns after a disappointing 1973-74 season. He gets back on the ice the following season and plays 31 games for the Edmonton Oilers.

Related: Jacques Plante: The Man in the Fiberglass Mask

Between 1984 and 1987, the Canadiens and Nordiques meet in the Adams Division Final three out of the four seasons, with two of those series needing all seven games to decide a winner. On May 2, 1985, the Nordiques beat the Canadiens in Game 7, with Peter Stastny scoring in overtime. Montreal came back from trailing 2-0 to force overtime before Stastny’s goal ended their season.

Peter Stastny of the Quebec Nordiques
Stastny scored one of the biggest goals in Nordiques history. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Two years later, these two rivals were once again playing in Game 7 of the Adams Division Final. This time, the Canadiens got the better of the Nordiques with a 5-3 win on home ice. Bobby Smith had a goal and two assists in the Canadiens’ five-goal outburst in the second period.

Odds & Ends

On May 2, 1971, the Chicago Blackhawks advance to the Stanley Cup Final after a 4-2 Game 7 victory over the New York Rangers. Bobby Hull had two assists before scoring the game-winning goal with just over four minutes left to play. This was the Blackhawks’ first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since 1965, but they lost in seven games to the Canadiens.

Mike Vernon continued the Calgary Flames’ run to the Stanley Cup on May 2, 1989. He earned his third shutout of the playoffs by beating the Blackhawks 3-0 in Game 1 of the Campbell Conference Finals. He picked up half of his six career playoff shutouts during the 1989 postseason.

On May 2, 1999, the Bruins won their first playoff series in five years as Byron Dafoe recorded his third career playoff shutout in a 2-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. They went on to lose in six games to the Buffalo Sabres in the next round.

Hall of Famer Patrick Roy recorded his 17th career playoff shutout on May 2, 2001, in a 3-0 win against the Los Angeles Kings, in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals. The Colorado Avalanche scored all three goals in the second period, including two in 1:46 by Milan Hejduk and Chris Drury.

Dominik Hasek recorded his eighth career playoff shutout on May 2, 2002, as the Detroit Red Wings beat the St. Louis Blues 2-0 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Brett Hull had a goal and an assist against his former team, while rookie Pavel Datsyuk scored his first playoff goal.

Pavel Datsyuk, KHL, Detroit Red Wings, SKA St. Petersburg
Datsyuk netted his first playoff goal on this date. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

On that same night, Patrick Lalime made 27 saves to lead the Ottawa Senators over the Maple Leafs 5-0 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. He became the 14th goaltender in Stanley Cup playoffs history to have four shutouts in the same postseason. Despite posting a .946 save percentage and 1.39 goals-against average in the playoffs, Lalime and the Senators were eliminated by the Maple Leafs in seven games.

The Hurricanes’ magical run to the Stanley Cup had a big moment on May 2, 2006. Cory Stillman scored early in overtime to knock the Canadiens out of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. After the Hurricanes lost the first two games of the series on home ice, rookie goaltender Cam Ward took over and won four games in a row.

On May 2, 2012, the Rangers beat the Washington Capitals 3-2, in triple overtime, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Marian Gaborik scored the game-winner in the franchise’s longest playoff contest since a triple-overtime loss to the Bruins in 1939. The victory also snapped goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s personal seven-game losing streak in overtime.

Henrik Lundqvist New York Rangers
Lundqvist got the overtime monkey off his back. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Philipp Grubauer made NHL history on May 2, 2019, with a 3-0 shutout of the San Jose Sharks in Game 4 of their second-round series. He made 32 saves for the Avalanche to become the first German-born goaltender to record a shutout in a Stanley Cup Playoff game.

On May 2, 2022, Auston Matthews became the first reigning winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy in 15 years to score multiple goals in his team’s playoff opener when he scored two goals in the Maple Leafs’ Round 1 matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The last player to do so was Vincent Lecavalier in 2007.

On May 2, 2023, Carter Verhaeghe scored his 11th playoff goal, passing Ray Sheppard and Dave Lowry for the most in Panthers history. The Panthers beat the Maple Leafs 4-2 in Game 1 of their second round series.

Later that night, Joe Pavelski (38 years, 295 days) became the oldest player in NHL history with four goals in a Stanley Cup Playoff game when he potted four against the Seattle Kraken. He usurped Maurice Richard, who did it back in 1957 at 35 years, 245 days.

Happy Birthday to You

A total of 18 players who have skated in the NHL were born on May 2. The most notable of them include Dave Hutchinson (72), Frank Caprice (62), Mike Weaver (52), Jason Chimera (45), Brad Richards (44), Kris Russell (37), and Brett Connolly (32).

*Originally constructed by Greg Boysen