Today in Hockey History: May 6

There has been a wide range of emotions experienced by the teams and fans of the National Hockey League on this date. One of the biggest offensive nights in playoff history went down on May 6 and a fan base had to say goodbye to their favorite team.

A Hat Trick of Hat Tricks

Ulf Dahlen etched himself into San Jose Sharks’ history with his hat trick on May 6, 1994. His trio of goals led the Sharks to a 5-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Dahlen scored twice in the second period before adding a third late in the final frame. This was the only playoff hat trick of his career and the first-ever in Sharks’ history.

One year later, on May 6, 1995, Joe Sakic’s game-winning goal with just 38 seconds remaining in regulation completed his hat trick as the Quebec Nordiques beat the New York Rangers 5-4, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Rangers took a 4-2 lead into the third period, but Sakic’s second goal of the night started a comeback midway through the frame. This was the first of two career postseason hat tricks for the future Hall of Famer.

Joe Sakic, Quebec Nordiques
Before all of his success in Denver, Sakic was racking up points with the Nordiques. (THW Archives)

On May 6, 2010, John Franzen scored the second-fastest hat trick from the start of a playoff game in league history, in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals. He scored a natural hat trick, in a span of 3:26, to give the Detroit Red Wings a 3-0 lead over the Sharks just 11:16 into the game. Only Mario Lemieux’s hat trick in the first 6:55 of his game on April 25, 1989, was faster. Franzen added a fourth goal and two assists in the Red Wings’ 7-1 blowout victory.

Reggie’s Big Night

Reggie Leach’s 1975-76 season was one for the ages. He followed up his 61-goal regular season with another 19 goals in the postseason, helping the Philadelphia Flyers reach their third straight Stanley Cup Final. He scored five of those 19 goals on May 6, 1976, in the series-ending 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals.

Leach gets his first goal in the opening period to extend his playoff-record goal streak to nine straight games. He scores three times in the middle frame before adding a fifth and final goal in the third period. He only needed seven shots to tally his five goals.

The performance tied the league record for most goals in a single playoff game. Maurice Richard was the first to do it for the Montreal Canadiens in 1944 and Darryl Sittler of the Maple Leafs matched the mark just two weeks earlier. Bobby Clarke also set a Flyers’ franchise playoff record by picking up four assists in the game.

More Canadiens Success

On May 6, 1973, Ken Dryden stopped all 19 shots he faced in the Canadiens 4-0 blanking of the Chicago Blackhawks, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. This was the first of Dryden’s 10 career playoff shutouts, two of which came at the expense of the Blackhawks.

Three years later, Dryden and the Canadiens beat the New York Islanders 5-2, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. This started a winning streak of 11 straight playoff games for Montreal. The next playoff loss did not come until April 28, 1977.

Ken Dryden #29 of the Montreal Canadiens
Dryden had a lot of success during the month of May. (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

They went on to sweep the Flyers in the 1976 Stanley Cup Final and carried their success over to the following postseason. The Canadiens started their run to yet another Stanley Cup by sweeping the St. Louis Blues in the first round before winning the first two games of their next series against the Islanders.

On May 6, 1993, Gilbert Dionne scored in overtime to lead the Canadiens to a 4-3 win at the Buffalo Sabres, in Game 3 of the Adams Division Final. Not only did the Sabres fall down 0-3 in the series, but they also lost Alexander Mogilny, who scored 76 goals during the regular season, in the second period with a broken leg.

Odds & Ends

The Maple Leafs made a very wise decision on May 6, 1936, when they purchased the contract of amateur goaltender Walter “Turk” Broda from the Red Wings for the sum of $7,500. He would go on to win 304 games for the Maple Leafs over the next 14 seasons. His Hall of Fame career included two Vezina Trophies and five Stanley Cups in Toronto.

On May 6, 1960, Gordie Howe was named winner of Hart Memorial Trophy as NHL’s MVP for a record fifth time. He would win a sixth and final Hart for the Red Wings in 1963. His record for Hart Trophy wins stood until Wayne Gretzky won his seventh in 1986.

The Vancouver Canucks advanced to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final on May 6, 1982. With Roger Neilson behind the bench, the Canucks beat the Blackhawks 6-2, in Game 5 of the Campbell Conference Final. Their six goals were the most they had ever scored in a postseason game, up to that point. Unfortunately for the Canucks, this was their last victory of that memorable playoff run as they were swept by the Islanders in the Stanley Cup Final.

Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque tied an NHL record on May 6, 1988, by picking up three assists in the second period of the Bruins’ 6-1 win over the New Jersey Devils, in Game 3 of the Wales Conference Final.

On May 6, 1995, the Winnipeg Jets retired Thomas Steen’s number 25 jersey in a post-season ceremony held at the Winnipeg Arena. Steen became the first Swedish player in NHL history to have his number retired.

A year later, Sergei Krivokrasov scored 46 seconds into overtime to lead the Blackhawks to a 4-3 win over the visiting Colorado Avalanche, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals. It was Krivokrasov’s first career playoff goal.

May 6, 1997, is a date that broke a lot of hearts in New England. The Hartford Whalers announced that they were moving to Raleigh, North Carolina, where they would be known as the Carolina Hurricanes beginning in the 1997-98 NHL season.

Felix Potvin became the first goaltender in Los Angeles Kings’ history to get consecutive playoff shutouts on May 6, 2001. Glen Murray scored at 2:41 of the 2nd overtime in the Kings 1-0 win over the Avalanche, in Game 6 of Western Conference Semifinals.

The Canucks named David Nonis as their new general manager on May 6, 2004. The move came three days after the team announced that GM Brian Burke would not be returning to the team. The most significant move in his four seasons on the job was acquiring goaltender Roberto Luongo from the Florida Panthers.

The Tampa Bay Lightning continued their dominance over the Canadiens on May 6, 2015. Tyler Johnson scored with 1.1 seconds left in the third period to beat Montreal 2-1, in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference second-round series. It was the Lightning’s eighth straight win over the Canadiens as they built a 3-0 series lead after sweeping the five-game regular-season series.

On May 6, 2018, the Vegas Golden Knights advanced to the Western Conference Finals by beating the Sharks 3-0, in Game 6 of their second-round series. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 28 shots he faced to earn the 14th playoff shutout of his career. The Golden Knights joined the 1918 Toronto Arenas and 1968 Blues as the only teams to win more than one Stanley Cup playoff series in their inaugural season.

Happy Birthday to You

One of the greatest goaltenders to ever strap on a pair of leg pads is celebrating another trip around the sun today. Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur was born on May 6, 1972. He played 22 seasons in the NHL and won the Calder Trophy, four Vezina Trophies and three Stanley Cups with the Devils.

Brodeur ranks as the league’s all-time regular-season leader in wins (691), shutouts (125), games played (1,266), and goals scored (3). He won at least 30 games in twelve straight seasons between 1995–96 and 2007–08 and is the only goalie in NHL history with eight 40-win seasons. He has the most postseason shutouts in league history, with 24, and is ranked second all-time in playoff wins (113) and games played (205).

Martin Brodeur New Jersey Devils
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Jan. 19, 2012 (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

He celebrated his 40th birthday, on May 6, 2012, by beating the Flyers 4-2, in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Not only did he become the oldest goaltender to start a playoff game on his birthday, but he also became the only goaltender to play in a postseason both as a teenager and a 40-year-old.

Other notable players who were born on this date include Keith Brown (60), Bob Bassen (55), Mark Eaton (42), Anton Babchuk (36), Brendan Gallagher (28), Jonas Siegenthaler (23) and the late Hall of Famers Jack Stewart and Harry Watson.