June 5 has given us a little bit of everything throughout National Hockey League history. There were epic comebacks, expansion, awards given out and even one of the greatest NHL players signed on with a competing league.
The Edmonton Oilers hosted the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, on June 5, 2006. Things started off great for the home team as they built a 3-0 lead in the second period. Chris Pronger scored the first-ever penalty shot goal in Final history to go along with goals from Fernando Pisani and Ethan Moreau.
Rod Brind’Amour got the momentum going the other way by getting the Hurricanes on the board just before the second intermission. They got two goals from Ray Whitney to tie the game and Justin Williams gave them a 4-3 lead midway through the third period.
Ales Hemsky tied the game about three minutes later, but shortly afterward, the Oilers lost goaltender Dwayne Roloson to a right knee injury and does not return for the rest of the series. His replacement, Ty Conklin, made a huge error by fumbling the puck behind the net, leading directly to Brind’Amour’s game-winning goal with just 32 seconds left to play.
The Hurricanes became just the sixth team in NHL history to erase a three-goal deficit to win a game in the Final.
Two Harts are Better Than One
On June 5, 1985, Wayne Gretzky was awarded the Hart Trophy for being the NHL’s most valuable player. He scored 51 goals and 137 points in his first NHL season with the Oilers. This was the first of Gretzky’s nine career Hart Trophies, and it started a streak of seven straight seasons as the league’s MVP.
Brett Hull won the only Hart Trophy of his career on June 5, 1991. He scored a career-high 86 goals and 131 points for the St. Louis Blues. He joined his father Bobby, who won the Hart Trophy with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1965 and 1966, as the first and still only father-son duo to both win the MVP award.
LeClair Lights the Lamp
June 5 has been a good date for John LeClair over the years. In 1993, he scored 34 seconds into overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings, in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Kings forced overtime after trailing 3-0 with goals by Luc Robitaille, Tony Granato and Gretzky. LeClair’s goal helped the Canadiens set an NHL playoff record with their ninth straight overtime win.
Four years later, on June 5, 1997, LeClair was back in the Final, this time with the Philadelphia Flyers. Things started off well as he gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead seven minutes into the game. The wheels quickly fell off as Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman tied the game up just two minutes later. This led to six straight goals as the Red Wings rolled to a 6-1 win, in Game 3, to take a 3-0 lead in the series.
Penguins Drop a Pair
The Pittsburgh Penguins have not had the greatest luck on this date. On June 5, 2013, they lost 2-1 in double-overtime to the Boston Bruins, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. Chris Kunitz tied the game in the second period after David Krejci put the Bruins up 1-0 before the game was even two minutes old. Patrice Bergeron won the game at 15:19 of the second overtime with former Penguin Jaromir Jagr getting the secondary assist on the play.
The Penguins outshot the Bruins 54-40, but they could not figure out goaltender Tuukka Rask, who had allowed just two goals through the first three games of the series.
Four years later, the Penguins lost 4-1 to the Nashville Predators, in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Calle Jarnkrok opened the scoring late in the first period, but Sidney Crosby evened up the score just over a minute later. Frederick Gaudreau, who spent much of the season in the American Hockey League, scored his third goal of the series early in the second period. His goal would stand up as the game-winner as Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg added insurance goals to even the series at 2-2.
Odds & Ends
The NHL held its first-ever amateur draft, on June 5, 1963, in Montreal. The Canadiens use the first pick to select forward Garry Monahan. Out of the 21 players selected, Peter Mahovlich, who went second to the Red Wings, had the best NHL career.
In addition to drafting Mahovlich, the Red Wings also acquired goaltender Roger Crozier, along with Ron Ingram, from the Blackhawks for a player to be named later. The player ended up being defenseman Howie Young, who played just one season with the Blackhawks.
Crozier won the Calder Trophy for being the top rookie of the 1964-65 season. He won the 1966 Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable player of the postseason, despite the Red Wings losing the Stanley Cup Final to the Canadiens, in six games.
The “Original Six” era of the NHL officially came to an end on June 5. 1967. The league officially announced that the Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Oakland Seals and St. Louis Blues would all begin play in the 1967-70 season.
On June 5, 1970, Al Arbour was named as the Blues new head coach, the third in team history, replacing Scotty Bowman. He did not have the success in St. Louis as he would later have with the New York Islanders. He was let go 13 games into the 1972-73 season with an overall record of 42-40-25 and zero playoff appearances.
Buffalo Sabres acquired veteran defenseman Tim Horton, on June 5, 1972, from Penguins in the NHL’s annual Intra-League Draft. The future Hall of Famer played in 124 games with the Sabres before his untimely death in a car accident on Feb. 21, 1974.
The upstart World Hockey Association made a huge splash on June 5, 1973. The Houston Aeros get Gordie Howe to come out of retirement and sign with the team and he brought his sons Mark and Marty with him. The trio played four seasons in Houston before all moving on to the New England Whalers. They combined for 305 goals and 815 points with the Aeros.
The Blackhawks named Mike Keenan as their new general manager, on June 5, 1990, replacing Bob Pulford. He pulled double duty as general manager and head coach for two seasons, before leaving the bench for the front office before the 1992-93 season. He resigned after the season due to an ongoing power struggle with Pulford, who was promoted to Senior Vice President.
The New Jersey Devils beat the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 6-3, on June 5, 2003, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. The two teams got off to a hot start with each team scoring three goals before the midway mark of the game. Jay Pandolfo scored the tie-breaking and eventual game-winning goal nine minutes into the second period. The win gave the Devils a 3-2 lead in the series and tied the 1988 Oilers for the most home playoff wins in one season, with 11.
One year later, on June 5, 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Calgary Flames 3-2, in double overtime, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final. After Brad Richards scored a pair of the power-play goals in the second period, Martin St. Louis forces a seventh and final game with a goal just 33 seconds into the second overtime.
Happy Birthday to You
June 5 is the birth date of 22 players who have suited up in at least one NHL. Among the most recognizable names are Martin Gelinas (50), Greg Zanon (40), Mike Fisher (40), Dave Bolland (34), Cam Atkinson (31), Radko Gudas (30) and Kale Clague (22).