This date in National Hockey League history has seen its fair share of memorable moments. From Stanley Cup Final drama to coaching changes and trades, May 30 has provided us with a little bit of everything.
The Kurri-Berube Connection
On May 30, 1985, the Edmonton Oilers won their second straight championship by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 8-3, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. The win was their fourth straight after they dropped the opening game of the series.
Jari Kurri scored his 19th goal of the playoffs to tie Reggie Leach of the Flyers for the most scored in a single playoff year. It is a record they both still share today. However, Kurri did not win the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable player of the playoffs. That honor went to Wayne Gretzky, as he set a pair of playoff records with 30 assists and 47 points in just 18 games. He broke his own record with 31 assists in 1987 and his points record has yet to be broken.
Exactly six years later, on May 30, 1991, Kurri was traded twice in the same day. First, he was traded to Philadelphia, along with Dave Brown and Corey Foster, in exchange for Scott Mellanby and Craig Berube. The Flyers then traded Kurri and Jeff Chychrun to the Los Angeles Kings for Steve Kasper and Steve Duchesne.
Berube, now the head coach of the St. Louis Blues, made his mark on this date too. On May 30, 1998, he scored the game-winning goal in the Washington Capitals’ 2-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres, in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. It was Berube’s first career playoff goal in 12 NHL seasons. He scored just three in 89 career postseason games. Goaltender Olie Kolzig made 30 saves to record his fourth shutout of the 1998 postseason.
Penguins Win A Pair
The Pittsburgh Penguins won two Stanley Cup Final games on this date, 24 years apart. On May 30, 1992, Tom Barrasso earned his second career playoff shutout to lead the Penguins to a 1-0 win at the Chicago Blackhawks, in Game 3 of the Final. This was the Penguins’ 10th straight playoff win. Kevin Stevens scored the only goal of the game, late in the first period, to give the Penguins a 3-0 lead in the series.
Fast forward to May 30, 2016, and the Penguins are right back in the Final. Nick Bonino scored with just 2:33 left in regulation to give them a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks, in the opening game of the series. Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary scored just 62 seconds apart to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead in the first period. Tomas Hertl scored the first Sharks goal ever in the Stanley Cup Final, early in the middle frame, before Patrick Marleau evened up the score just before the second intermission.
50/50 For Devils
The New Jersey Devils opened up two Stanley Finals on this date, with mixed results. On May 30, 2000, they beat the Dallas Stars 7-3, in Game 1 of the Final. Defenseman Ken Daneyko, who had played in every postseason game in Devils’ history at that point, gave his team a 2-1 early in the second period. It was the veteran’s fifth and final playoff goal of his career and his first since 1995.
A dozen years later, the Devils were once again hosting the first game of the Final, this time, against the Kings. Colin Fraser gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. Defenseman Anton Volchenkov tied the game late in the second stanza. In overtime, Anze Kopitar was sprung free on a breakaway by Justin Williams and beat Martin Brodeur to give the Kings their NHL-record ninth straight road playoff win.
Odds & Ends
On May 30, 1968, the Blues announced that 34-year-old Coach Scotty Bowman was being given the additional title of general manager, replacing Lynn Patrick. He would hold on to the job for a little over three years before a disagreement with ownership led to his resignation following the 1970-71 season.
Don Cherry was named coach of the Colorado Rockies, on May 30, 1979, just one week after he was fired by the Boston Bruins. Although the hiring and the “Come to the fights and watch a Rockies game break out!” slogan sparked some life into the franchise, it did very little to improve the product on the ice. The outspoken Cherry was fired after going 19-48-13 during the 1979-80 season, his final one ever behind an NHL bench.
Bryan Watson was named as the Oilers’ new head coach on May 30, 1980. However, after just four wins in the first 18 games of the season, general manager Glen Sather named himself head coach and demoted Watson to assistant coach. Sather remained behind the bench through the 1988-89 season, winning four Stanley Cups.
Chris Drury was the hero again, on May 30, 1999, for the Colorado Avalanche. He scored the game-winning goal in the 7-5 win over the Dallas Stars, in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. Drury tied an NHL rookie record with his fourth game-winning goal of the postseason, equaling the mark set by Claude Lemieux in 1986. He also scored the overtime winner in Game 3 of the series, just two days earlier.
Goaltender Patrick Roy made history in the win, as well. He made 25 saves to become the first goaltender in NHL history to win at least 40 games with two different franchises.
On May 30, 2018, the Capitals won their first-ever Stanley Cup Final game in franchise history. They beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 to even up the championship series at one win apiece. After James Neal gives the Golden Knights an early 1-0 lead, the Capitals get three straight goals from Lars Eller, Alex Ovechkin and Brook Orpik. Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore cuts the lead to 3-2 just before the second intermission.
Late in the third period, Alex Tuch thought he had the game-tying goal on his stick, but Braden Holtby and his paddle had a different idea.
This was the Capitals first win in six Stanley Cup Final games after getting swept by the Detroit Red Wings in 1998 and losing Game 1 to the Golden Knights.
Happy Birthday to You
May 30 is not the most exciting day when it comes to NHL birthdays. There are just 19 current and former players to be born on this date. The group includes Gilles Villemure (80), Greg Joly (66), Jiri Slegr (49) and Scott Laughton (26).