June 2 was another busy day in National Hockey League history. In addition to plenty of overtime Stanley Cup Final action, there were also some big coaching moves, a new franchise name and one of the best defensemen to ever play the game was born.
On June 2, 2003, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim beat the New Jersey Devils 1-0 in overtime, in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Veteran Steve Thomas scored the only goal of the night just 39 seconds into the extra time. Rookie Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 26 saves to become the first goaltender in NHL history to win each of his first seven overtime games in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Pittsburgh Penguins kept their season alive, on June 2, 2008, with 4-3 double-overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Red Wings were just 35 seconds away from winning the Stanley Cup when Max Talbot scored to force overtime. Petr Sykora’s power-play goal midway through the second overtime, his sixth of the postseason, sent the series back to Pittsburgh. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 55 saves in the win.
One of the great games that sometimes gets forgotten: Game 5 of the 2008 Final. Mostly known for Talbot’s late goal, Fleury’s OT goaltending & Petr Sykora’s “called shot” in triple OT. #PensQuarantineTheater pic.twitter.com/kje3TXogaW— Steve Mears (@MearsyNHL) April 6, 2020
Jeff Carter was the hero, on June 2, 2012, as he scored in overtime to give the Los Angeles Kings a 2-1 overtime win against the Devils, in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Kings outshot the Devils 11-3 in the extra time to earn their second straight 2-1 overtime victory and take a 2-0 lead in the series.
A Big Day for Shero
The Philadelphia Flyers named Fred Shero as their new head coach, on June 2, 1971, replacing Vic Stasiuk. He would be behind the bench for the greatest era of the Flyers hockey. He led them to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, in 1974 and 1975, and a third straight trip to the Final in 1976.
His tenure in Philadelphia lasted exactly seven years. On June 2, 1978, the New York Rangers named Shero their new head coach and general manager. To obtain him, the Rangers sent a 1978 first-round draft pick (Ken Linseman) to the Flyers.
In his first season with the Rangers, Shero led the team to a 40-29-11 record; an improvement of 10 wins over the 1977-78 season. He got the better hand of his former team as the Rangers beat the Flyers in the second round of Stanley Cup playoffs, on their way to their first Final since 1972.
Odds & Ends
At the annual NHL meeting in Montreal, on June 2, 1948, it was announced that the Art Ross Trophy would now be awarded annually to the scoring leader, rather than “the outstanding player”. Montreal’s Elmer Lach became the first winner with 61 points during the 1947-48 season.
On June 2, 1972, the expansion team in Atlanta finally got their team name. A 19-year-old college student, Mickey Goodman, wins a contest and the team became known as the Flames. It is a name they hung on to after the franchise relocated to Calgary in 1980.
Speaking of the Flames, just before their final season in Atlanta, on June 2, 1980, they traded goaltender Jim Craig Boston Bruins. Craig, who was part of the “Miracle on Ice” U.S. hockey team, fetched a second and third-round draft pick on the trade market. The Flames later used those picks to select defenseman Steve Konroyd and goaltender Mike Vernon.
Four months before their first NHL game, on June 2, 1993, the Florida Panthers hired Roger Neilson as the first head coach in team history. He compiled a 53-56-23 record in his two seasons behind the Panthers’ bench.
Colorado Avalanche named Bob Hartley as their new head coach on June 2, 1998. Hartley replaced Marc Crawford, who had resigned from the team six days earlier. Bryan Trottier was also named an assistant coach. Hartley had a very successful run, making it to at least the Western Conference Final in each of four full seasons. He won the Stanley Cup in 2001.
He was behind the bench when the Devils beat the Avalanche 3-2, on June 2, 2001, in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Patrik Elias scored a goal and added an assist as the Devils outshot the Avalanche 35-12.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick would love to forget about June 2, 2013. The Chicago Blackhawks chased him from Game 2 of the Western Conference Final with goals from Andrew Shaw, Brent Seabrook, Bryan Bickell and Michal Handzus. The Kings fought back with a pair of goals to cut the lead in half, but the comeback effort was too little, too late.
On June 2, 2018, the Washington Capitals beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1, in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Capitals got goals from Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Devante Smith-Pelly to win their first Stanley Cup Final home game in franchise history. Goaltender Braden Holtby allowed just one goal on 22 shots to give Washington a 2-1 series lead.
Happy Birthday to You
Larry Robinson was on born June 2, 1951. The Hall of Fame defenseman was a veteran of 1384 regular-season games with the Montreal Canadiens and Kings. He scored 208 goals and 958 and was a plus-722 in his career.
Robinson’s first of 17 seasons with the Canadiens was the 1972-73 season and it ended with the first of his six Stanley Cup championships. The six-time all-star won the Norris Trophy for being the best defenseman in the NHL in 1977 and 1980.
He made it to the Stanley Cup playoff in each of his 20 NHL seasons, 17 with Montreal and three with Los Angeles. His 227 career playoff games are the seventh-most in NHL history. Robinson won the 1978 Conn Smythe Trophy, for being the most valuable player of the playoffs, after scoring four goals and 21 points in 15 games for the Canadiens.
Robinson became an assistant coach with the Devils in 1993. After being on the staff that won the 1995 Stanley Cup, he was hired as the head coach of the Kings, where he compiled a 122-161-45 record.
He took over behind the bench for the Devils with 16 games left in the 1999-2000 regular season. After going 8-4-4 down the stretch, he led New Jersey to another Stanley Cup. He got them back to the Stanley Cup Final the following season, but lost the Avalanche. He was fired during the 2001-02 season, but was brough back the following season as an assistant, where he was part of another Stanley Cup winning team.
In 2012, he was appointed an associate coach with the San Jose Sharks and he stayed with the organization until 2017. Robinson is currently a Senior Consultant to Hockey Operations for the St. Louis Blues, winning his 10th Stanley Cup in 2019.
Other notable players celebrating birthdays today are Lou Nanne (79), Charlie Huddy (61), Adam Creighton (55), Russ Courtnall (55), Marty McInnis (50), Chris Higgins (37), Patrik Berglund (32) and Jake Evans (24).