Today we look back at another busy day in National Hockey League history. May 7 has seen its fair share of Stanley Cup Final games, legendary players doing what they do best and some impressive streaks getting extended.
Stanley Cup Final Moments
On May 7, 1968, rookie defenseman Serge Savard scored his first career playoff goal to give the Montreal Canadiens a 1-0 win at the St. Louis Blues, in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. The first of Savard’s 19 career playoff goals was a shorthanded tally in the third period. Goaltender Gump Worsley earned the fourth postseason shutout of his career.
Two years later, Phil Esposito picked up three assists to lead the Boston Bruins to a 4-1 win over the Blues, in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. The victory was the Bruins’ ninth straight in the 1970 playoffs.
Bobby Orr made Stanley Cup playoff history on May 7, 1972. He scores a pair of goals and sets a third in the Bruins 3-2 win over the New York Rangers, in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The three points give him 22 in the postseason, a new record for defensemen.
He broke his own record, which he set with 20 points during Boston’s run to the 1970 Stanley Cup. Orr’s 24 points during the 1972 postseason remain tied for sixth all-time for most points by a defenseman in a single playoff.
On May 7, 1977, Yvon Lambert scored twice and added two assists in the Canadiens’ 7-3 win against the visiting Bruins, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Lambert had just one goal and one assist in the other 13 playoff games he appeared in that season.
Not All Bad Memories in St. Louis
Not everything on this date in Blues history was losing games in the Stanley Cup Final. On May 7, 1971, Sid Abel was named as the team’s new head coach, replacing Scotty Bowman, who went on to great success in Montreal. Abel went on to coach the team for just 10 games during the 1971-72 NHL season.
On May 7, 2002, Keith Tkachuk scored his only career playoff hat trick in the Blues 6-1 win against the visiting Detroit Red Wings, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals. The late Pavol Demitra had a goal and three assists, as well.
On a side note, Chris Chelios became the 15th player in Stanley Cup playoff history to pick up 100 career assists with a helper on the Red Wings’ lone goal.
St. Louis native Pat Maroon got the Blues into the Western Conference Finals on May 7, 2019. His goal, off a rebound, in double overtime, beat the Dallas Stars 2-1, in Game 7 of their second-round series. Stars’ goaltender Ben Bishop, also born in St. Louis, made 52 saves in the losing effort.
On May 7, 1983, Mike Bossy led the charge as the New York Islanders beat the Bruins 8-4, in Game 6 of the Wales Conference Final. Bossy scored four goals, including two in the second period, to help the Islanders reach the Stanley Cup Final for the fourth straight year. Bossy was the most hated player in Boston that spring as he scored nine goals in the series and had the game-winner in all four Islanders’ victories, an NHL record.
Two years later, the Edmonton Oilers replaced the Islanders as the dominant team in the NHL. They beat the Chicago Blackhawks 7-3, on May 7, 1985, in Game 2 of the Campbell Conference Final. It was the Oilers’ 12th straight win, the longest such streak at the time, as they remained unbeaten during the postseason. Their 12-game winning streak was snapped in Game 3 of the series. Their record remained until the Pittsburgh Penguins won 14 straight playoff games between 1992 and 1993.
Ilya Bryzgalov led the Anaheim Ducks to a 3-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche, on May 7, 2006, in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Bryzgalov made 22 saves to become the seventh goaltender in league history to earn shutouts in three straight playoff games.
A Big Date in New Jersey
On May 7, 1994, Stephane Richer scored two goals in Boston as the New Jersey Devils beat the Bruins 5-4, in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Richer’s second goal, at 14:19 of overtime, evened the series at 2-2. It was the third of four career playoff overtime goals for Richer; he scored another in 1994 against the Rangers in the next round.
Exactly one year later, Martin Brodeur recorded the first road playoff shutout in Devils’ team history. The milestone came in another postseason victory in Boston, this time a 5-0 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. It was Brodeur’s second career playoff shutout.
The Devils signed free agent Brian Rafalski, on May 7, 1999, who had gone undrafted after four years of college hockey at Wisconsin, followed by four seasons of professional hockey in Sweden and Finland. Rafalski went on to play 833 games in the NHL between the Devils and Red Wings. He won Stanley Cups with the Devils in 2000 and 2003 before winning a third with Red Wings in 2008.
Odds & Ends
Wayne Gretzky made more NHL history, on May 7, 1993, with his two third-period goals for the Los Angeles Kings, in Game 3 of the Smythe Division Final. He became the first player to ever score 100 playoff goals with the second goal. His goal earlier in the period proved to be the game-winner in the 7-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
It was his NHL-record 19th career playoff game-winning goal, breaking the tie he had with Maurice Richard. Gretzky still holds the all-time record with 122 playoff goals and his 24 game-winners are tied with Brett Hull for the most ever.
On May 7, 1999, Bill Ranford makes his first postseason start in three years to lead the Red Wings to a 3-2 overtime win against the Avalanche, in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Kirk Maltby scored the game-winning goal four minutes into the extra time. Claude Lemieux became the first player in NHL history to play in 50 Stanley Cup playoff games with three different teams; the Avalanche, Devils and Canadiens.
The following year, Philadelphia Flyers rookie defenseman Andy Delmore terrorized the Penguins with a hat trick in their 5-3 win, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Delmore was the first rookie blue-liner to score a hat trick in a postseason game. He scored five goals in the six-game series versus the Penguins. He had just one goal in the other 14 playoff games he played in his career.
At 42 years and 93 days, Mark Recchi became the oldest player to score multiple goals in a playoff game on May 7, 2010. He scored a pair of goals in the Bruins 5-4 overtime loss at the Flyers, in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Later that evening, Jonathan Toews tied an NHL postseason-record by scoring three power-play goals in the Blackhawks 7-4 victory against the Canucks, in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals. He added two assists to become the first player in franchise history to have a five-point game in the playoffs.
On May 7, 2013, the San Jose Sharks eliminated the Canucks from the postseason with a 4-3 overtime win, in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Patrick Marleau scored on a power play, in overtime, to complete the Sharks’ first four-game sweep in their 22-year history.
Evgeny Kuznetsov scored one of the biggest goals in Washington Capitals history on May 7, 2018. After getting a feed from Alex Ovechkin, he scored in overtime to beat the Penguins, in Game 6 of their second-round series.
The goal eliminates Pittsburgh, ending their two-year reign as Stanley Cup Champions, and advances the Capitals into the conference finals for the first time in 20 years. The Capitals ended their playoff run by winning their first championship in franchise history.
Happy Birthday to You
There are 22 current and former NHL players who call May 7 their birthday. Among the lot are Dave Karpa (49), Brad Isbister (43), Tim Connolly (39), Nate Prosser (34), Anton Khudobin (34) David Schlemko (33), Chad Ruhwedel (30), Josh Anderson (26) and Jesse Puljujarvi (22).
Also, Frank J. Selke was born on this date way back in 1893. You will recognize the name as the award given out each year to the league’s best defensive forward is named after him, despite him never actually playing in an NHL game. Selke won nine Stanley Cups in the front offices for both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Canadiens.
Some of his most notable moves included traded for Ted Kennedy while in Toronto and signing Hall of Famers Maurice Richard, Elmer Lach, Doug Harvey and Jacques Plante in Montreal. Under his watch, the Canadiens farm system produced additional Hall of Famers Jean Béliveau, Dickie Moore, Tom Johnson and Henri Richard. Selke, himself, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1960.