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.
Yzerman is celebrating his 56th 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.
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 playoffs games that spring and the third postseason overtime goal of this career.
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 provide the offense in Montreal’s eight 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 Gordie Howe. That’s right, Probert broke a record held by Howe.
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.
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.
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 (58), Mark Tinordi (55), Tony Twist (53), Stephane Yelle (47), Vernon Fiddler (41), Riley Nash (32), Matt Donovan (31), Calvin de Haan (30), Ben Chiarot (30) and Jordan Gross (26).
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.