May 3 has seen quite a bit of National Hockey League history throughout the decades. Among the memorable moments include the first non-North American scoring champion, numerous overtime goals, and some great goaltending performances.
Jaromir Jagr Sets the European Standard
The 1995 regular season ended on May 3 after the 48-game schedule didn’t begin until late January, following a 103-day owners’ lockout. Jagr picked up an assist in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers. The helper gave him 70 points on the season, which tied him for the most in the league with Eric Lindros of the Philadelphia Flyers. Since Jagr had a 32-29 advantage in goals, he was awarded the Art Ross Trophy for being the NHL’s top scorer.
He became the first European-born player in NHL history to lead the league in scoring. After his teammate, Mario Lemieux, won the next two Ross Trophies, Jagr won four in a row between 1998 and 2001. Since Jagr’s five scoring titles, seven more European-born players have won the Ross Trophy; Peter Forsberg, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin (twice), Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, and Nikita Kucherov.
St. Louis Blues Taste Early Success
When the NHL expanded from six to 12 teams in 1967, the new franchises were all put into one division while the other was made up of the “Original Six” teams. This meant that one of the expansion teams would make the Stanley Cup Final in their first season. That team ended up being the Blues, who made the Stanley Cup Final in each of their first three seasons in the league.
On May 3, 1968, Ron Schook scored in double overtime to lead the Blues past the Minnesota North Stars 2-1, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals, to advance to take on the mighty Montreal Canadiens in the championship series. They were swept in the Stanley Final, losing four straight one-goal games.
Two years later, the Blues were back in the Stanley Cup Final, this time against the Boston Bruins. Unfortunately for St. Louis, Johnny Bucyk scored a hat trick in the Bruins’ 6-1 win in Game 1, handing them their ninth straight loss in the Final.
May 3 has provided us with plenty of drama in the form of numerous overtime playoff games through the years. In 1977, Billy Harris’ goal at 3:58 of overtime gave the New York Islanders a 4-3 road win over the Canadiens in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. The goal extended the Islanders’ season for one more game as the Canadiens closed out the series two nights later.
Two years later, Jean Ratelle completed a hat trick with an overtime goal to lead the Bruins to a 4-3 win over the Canadiens in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. It was the only postseason hat trick in the Hall of Famer’s career. The win evened the series at two wins apiece, which Montreal eventually won in seven games.
On May 3, 1991, Vladimir Ruzicka had another big night in the Bruins’ long and storied playoff history. After picking up four assists in regulation, Ruzicka scored in overtime to give Boston a 5-4 victory over the Penguins in Game 2 of the Wales Conference Finals.
The first of those four assists came on Cam Neely’s first-period goal. The goal was Neely’s 47th playoff goal, moving him ahead of Phil Esposito for the most in franchise history. He still holds the record with 55 Stanley Cup playoff goals. Patrice Bergeron has the most of all the active Bruins, with 40.
One year later, Joe Murphy scored the game-winning goal in overtime to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks, in Game 1 of the Smythe Division Finals. He also had two assists in regulation.
On May 3, 1994, current general manager Don Sweeney scored in overtime as the Bruins won 6-5 at the New Jersey Devils in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The win gave Boston a 2-0 lead in the series; however, they lost the next four games.
Rookie Milan Hejduk scored in overtime and added an assist on May 3, 1999, as the Colorado Avalanche eliminated the San Jose Sharks from the playoffs in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. It was Hejduk’s second overtime goal of the series and only two of his career.
Martin Gelinas made history on May 3, 2004, with his overtime goal against the Detroit Red Wings, in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals. He scored the only goal of the game late in the extra session, which ended the series. He became the first player to ever end three different playoff series with an overtime goal. He did it in the previous round against the Canucks and in 2002, as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In that same game, Miikka Kiprusoff became the first Flames goalie to get consecutive playoff shutouts. He made 69 combined saves in back-to-back 1-0 victories to get Calgary into the Western Conference Finals.
On May 3, 2009, Todd Marchant scored in overtime to give the Anaheim Ducks a 4-3 win at the Red Wings in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals. It was his second overtime goal of this career, with the first coming as a member of the Oilers in 1997. It is the third-longest period of time between overtime goals for the same player.
Five years later, the Ducks hosted the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 on their second-round playoff series. This was the first time these two intra-state rivals met in the postseason. Kings’ forward Marion Gaborik scored with just seven seconds remaining in regulation before winning the game in overtime with his second goal of the night.
On May 3, 1987, Glen Hanlon recorded his third career playoff shutout to lead the Red Wings to a 3-0 win over the Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the Norris Division Finals. With the win, the Red Wings advanced to the Campbell Conference Finals against the Oilers.
Two years later, Patrick Roy recorded his second career playoff shutout as the Canadiens won 3-0 over the Flyers in Game 2 of the Wales Conference Finals. He earned 21 more playoff shutouts before ending his Hall of Fame career in 2002.
Ron Francis and Erik Cole scored in the third period while Kevin Weekes made 25 saves in the Hurricanes’ 2-0 win over the Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. He also shut out the Devils in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, ending their season.
On May 3, 2015, Frederik Andersen picked up his first career playoff shutout in a 3-0 win over the Flames in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals. This was Andersen’s sixth win in six starts to begin the 2015 postseason, which ended for the Ducks with a Game 7 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals.
Odds & Ends
When Henri Richard took his first shift for the Canadiens on May 3, 1973, he made NHL history. This was the 165th Stanley Cup playoff game of his career, the most ever in the league at the time. He broke the previous record held by Hall of Famer Red Kelly. With the postseason expanding to four rounds since then, Richard’s 180 career playoff games have him tied for 36th all-time.
On May 3, 1983, Mike Bossy scored the fourth of his five career postseason hat tricks in the Islanders 8-3 win over the Bruins in Game 4 of the Wales Conference Final. Two of those three goals game in New York’s five-goal outburst during the second period. Rick Middleton’s power-play goal made him the first player in Bruins’ franchise history to score 30 points in a single playoff.
Brian Sutter was named the 34th head coach in Blackhawks’ team history on May 3, 2001. This was the fourth stop for Sutter as he previously was behind the bench for the Blues, Bruins, and Flames. He went 91-103-37 in his three seasons in Chicago.
On May 3, 2018, Jake Guentzel lit the lamp twice in the Penguins’ 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 4 of their second-round series. His scoring streak was extended to eight games as he scored his ninth and 10th goals of the 2018 postseason. He joined some pretty good company as he and Lemieux are the only two Penguins to score at least 10 goals in each of their first two playoff appearances.
Happy Birthday to You
May 3 is a busy day for NHL birthdays, with 32 current or former players enjoying their big day. Among the lot are Rod Langway (64), Alain Cote (64), Ron Hextall (57), Vyacheslav Kozlov (49), Jeff Halpern (45), R.J. Umberger (39), Anders Lindback (33), Nico Sturm (26), and Colton White (24).