Today in Hockey History: May 9

Today’s history lesson is full of great Stanley Cup Playoff memories, including exciting overtime goals, huge offensive performances, and big-time goaltending. Plus, a Hall of Famer and favorite in Motown is celebrating another trip around the sun.

It’s “The Captain’s” Birthday

When you are considered one of the greatest players in Detroit Red Wings franchise history, you’ve had quite a career. Steve Yzerman is right up there with players like Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, and Ted Lindsay when mentioning the best players ever to wear the winged wheel on their chest.

Steve Yzerman Detroit Red Wings
Steve Yzerman, Detroit Red Wings (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

Yzerman is celebrating his 59th birthday today while sitting in the general manager’s office for the Red Wings. He is the franchise leader in assists (1,063), second in goals (692) and points (1755), and is fourth all-time in games played (1514). He won a Selke and Conn Smythe Trophy while captaining three separate Red Wings teams to Stanley Cup championships.

On May 9, 1999, Yzerman celebrated his 34th birthday in style by scoring two goals in a Red Wings’ 4-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Bill Ranford made 28 saves to pick up his fourth career postseason shutout and give head coach Scotty Bowman his 200th playoff win. Bowman retired with 223 career Stanley Cup playoff wins, 100 more than Al Arbour, who is in second place.

Broad Street Moments

Heading into Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Philadelphia Flyers had gone 0-17-2 in their previous 19 games at the Boston Garden, including a loss in the first game of the series. That streak was finally snapped on May 9, 1974, thanks to Bobby Clarke’s overtime goal. Defenseman Andre Dupont forced the extra session by tying the game at 2-2, with just 52 seconds left in regulation, to set up the team captain’s overtime heroics.

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Two years later, Reggie Leach extended his postseason-record goal-scoring streak to 10 consecutive games in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final versus the Montreal Canadiens. He wasted very little time getting on the board as Leach scored just 21 seconds into the series. The Flyers opened up a 2-0 lead before losing 4-3 at the Forum.

An Avalanche of Playoff Games

The Avalanche had its fair share of memorable postseason games on this date. On May 9, 1997, Claude Lemieux scored the winning goal at 8:35 of overtime and picked up an assist as Colorado won 3-2 at the Edmonton Oilers in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals. The goal was Lemieux’s ninth in 10 playoff games that spring and the third postseason overtime goal of this career.

Claude Lemieux #22 of the New Jersey Devils
Lemieux was a big-time postseason performer. (Photo by: B Bennett/Getty Images)

On May 9, 2001, Chris Drury scored his 17th career playoff goal as the Avalanche beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-1 in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Drury had the game-winning tally, the eighth of his career.

The Avalanche were on the wrong side of a memorable game on May 9, 2006, when they lost 4-3, in overtime, to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Joffrey Lupul scored all four goals for the Ducks and became the first player in NHL history to finish off a four-goal night with the overtime winner.

Odds & Ends

Hall of Fame goaltender Ken Dryden made 23 saves to record his career’s 10th and final playoff shutout. His performance came in a Canadiens’ 2-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals, completing the four-game sweep. Jacques Lemaire and Steve Shutt provided the offense in Montreal’s eighth straight postseason road victory.

On May 9, 1981, the Minnesota North Stars advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history by beating the Calgary Flames 5-3 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. Brad Palmer scored twice in the big win. The North Stars joined the Flyers and St. Louis Blues as the third team from the 1967 expansion class to make it to the championship series.

Exactly nine years later, The NHL approved the sale of the North Stars by George and Gordon Gund in exchange for their gaining the rights to a Bay Area team that would begin play in October 1991. That team would become the San Jose Sharks.

The Chicago Blackhawks snapped the Oilers’ league record of 12-straight playoff wins with a 5-2 victory in Game 3 of the Campbell Conference Final on May 9, 1985. Denis Savard had a goal and two assists as the Blackhawks were able to hold Wayne Gretzky off the scoresheet. It was the Oilers’ first postseason loss since the New York Islanders beat them in Game 2 of the 1984 Stanley Cup Final.

Three years later, Jari Kurri scored twice, including the winner at 11:02 of overtime, and added an assist to lead the Oilers to a 4-3 win at the Red Wings in Game 4 of the Campbell Conference Finals. Bob Probert scored twice in the losing effort to set a Red Wings record for most points (21) in a playoff season. He broke the mark of 20 points held by Howe. That’s right, Probert broke a record held by Howe.

Jari Kurri #17 of the Edmonton Oilers
Kurri was a force in Edmonton. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

On May 9, 1994, rookie Martin Brodeur recorded his first career playoff shutout in the New Jersey Devils’ 2-0 win over the visiting Bruins in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Bob Carpenter scored a goal and added an assist to provide all the offense needed.

The Carolina Hurricanes staged an epic comeback on May 9, 2002. Down 3-0 at the beginning of the third period, they scored four unanswered goals, capped by Niclas Wallin’s first career playoff goal at 3:14 of overtime, in a 4-3 win at the Canadiens, in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Daniel and Henrik Sedin made NHL history by taking the ice for the Vancouver Canucks on May 9, 2011. They set a record for brothers playing in the most playoff games together with their 78th game.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin Canucks
The Sedins were the cornerstone of the Canucks’ success in the 2010s. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

They broke the previous record set by Brent and Duane Sutter, who played 77 playoff games together with the New York Islanders. Henrik assisted Daniel’s goal, leading a 2-1 Canucks win over the Nashville Predators.

On May 9, 2021, Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat became the seventh United States-born player in NHL history to score at least 30 goals in two of his first four seasons when he potted his 30th in a 4-2 victory over the Stars. His linemate, Patrick Kane also hit a milestone with his 50th assist, surpassing Phil Housley and Brian Leetch for the most 50-assist seasons by an American at seven.

On May 9, 2022, Jonathan Huberdeau notched his 19th career playoff point to pass Ray Sheppard for the most in Florida Panthers history. Carter Verhaeghe scored the overtime winner to cap off a night that saw the Panthers tie their first round series against the Capitals 2-2.

On that same night, two coaching milestones were hit as Mike Sullivan won his 44th playoff game as a Penguins coach, passing Dan Bylsma for the most in their history, and Darryl Sutter won his 91st to pass Mike Babcock for seventh in NHL history. He also coached his 174th playoff game to pass Mike Keenan for sixth all-time.

On May 9, 2023, Jordan Martinook recorded his fourth straight multipoint game, becoming the first player in Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers history to do so. He surpassed Sebastian Aho (three games, 2020 Staley Cup Qualifiers against the New York Rangers) and Bates Battaglia (three games, 2002 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Montreal Canadiens).

Happy Birthday to You

Yzerman is one of 28 current and former NHL players to be born on May 9. Among the other notable players born on this date are Joe Cirella (61), Mark Tinordi (58), Tony Twist (56), Stephane Yelle (50), Vernon Fiddler (44), Riley Nash (35), Matt Donovan (34), Calvin de Haan (33), Ben Chiarot (33) and Jordan Gross (29).