This date has given us a little bit of everything over the years, including some very late regular-season games as well as Stanley Cup playoff milestones. Also, one of the greatest blueliners in National Hockey League history is celebrating his 50th trip around the sun.
On April 28, 1970, Jacques Plante recorded his 14th and final career postseason shutout. He led the way in the St. Louis Blues’ to a 5-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, in Game 5 of the Western Division Semifinals, with Frank St. Marseille scoring a hat trick. Plante’s 14 shutouts have him tied with Dominik Hasek for the seventh-most in Stanley Cup playoff history.
Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche became the first goaltender to earn 16 shutouts in the playoffs on April 28, 2001. He hit the milestone by blanking the Los Angeles Kings 2-0, in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Roy broke the previous record of 15 shutouts held by Clint Benedict. He retired with 23 playoff shutouts, which was eventually surpassed by Martin Brodeur.
Sergei’s Big Day
Sergei Federov was the only player to score a goal during Game 6 of the Norris Division Semifinals, on April 28, 1992, between the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota North Stars. Goaltenders Tim Cheveldae and Jon Casey got the game into overtime without surrendering a single goal. Late in overtime, Federov appeared to hit the crossbar, but, during the next stoppage of play, the replay showed the puck hitting the back of the net and bouncing right out. He becomes the first player to score a playoff overtime goal awarded after a video review.
Federov scored another game-winning goal, 17 years later, on April 28, 2009. Now a member of the Washington Capitals, the 39-year-old scores with five minutes to play in the third period in 2-1 win over the New York Rangers, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. He became the oldest player to ever score the deciding goal in a Game 7.
Hurricanes Slam the East Coast
The Carolina Hurricanes picked up a pair of big wins on this date. On April 28, 2009, they stun the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Down 2-1 with time running out, Jussi Jokinen quiets the crowd at the Prudential Center by tying the game with just 1:20 remaining on the clock. Eric Staal scores the series-winning goal just 49 seconds later to complete the wild comeback. It was the Hurricanes’ first playoff series win since they hoisted the Stanley Cup three years earlier.
A decade later, Warren Foegele and Nino Niederreiter both score in the opening minute of the third period to lead the Hurricanes past the New York Islanders 2-1, in Game 2 of their second-round series. This pushed their postseason winning streak to four games and marked the second time in franchise history (including the Hartford Whalers) where they won the first two games of a playoff series on the road.
Odds & Ends
On April 28, 1968, Jacques Lemaire scores in overtime to beat the Chicago Blackhawks and send the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup Final. It is their fourth straight trip to the championship series and they swept the Blues to win their 15th Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Game 3 of the Campbell Conference Final, on April 28, 1984, proves to be one of the wildest games in postseason history. The North Stars and Edmonton Oilers set a new playoff-record by scoring seven combined power-play goals. Minnesota scored four times on the man advantage, but it wasn’t enough as they lost 8-5 to the high-powered Edmonton attack.
The Toronto Maple Leafs named Gord Stellick their new general manager on April 28, 1988, replacing Gerry McNamara. At 30 years of age, he became the youngest general manager in NHL history. His tenure with the team only lasts 16 months, as Stellick resigned in August of 1989, citing indifference from owner Harold Ballard.
Teams were still playing regular-season games on April 28, 1995, due to the late start brought on by the 103-day lockout that ended in early January. On this date, Kevin Stevens became the fourth player to score 250 goals as a member of the Penguins. The milestone came as Pittsburgh won 4-1 over the Boston Bruins. Since then, Jaromir Jagr, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have all joined the 250-goal club in Pittsburgh.
On that same night, San Jose Sharks’ goaltender Arturs Irbe played in his 158th career NHL game, the most by a European-born netminder. Irbe picked up his eighth career shutout in beating the Kings 4-0.
April 28, 1996, was a very busy day in the Stanley Cup players. The Red Wings knocked the Winnipeg Jets out of the postseason with a 4-1 victory, in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. The Jets relocated to Arizona shortly after this exit and this was the last NHL game in Winnipeg until October 9, 2011, when the Atlanta Thrashers became the second version of the Jets.
The Capitals were also eliminated from the playoffs on this date. Ken Wregget made 35 saves and Mario Lemieux scored a goal and an assist in the first period in the Penguins’ 3-2, in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Finally, Mike Richter made 27 saves as the Rangers beat the Canadiens, in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series. New York won the series four games to two.
April 28, 1998, was just as eventful as it was two years earlier. Claude Lemieux scored the 19th and game-winning goal of his playoff career (second-most in NHL history) as the Avalanche beat the Oilers 3-1, in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Also, Andrei Zyuzin became just the 4th NHL rookie defenseman to get an overtime playoff goal as the Sharks beat the Dallas Stars 1-0, in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. He is the first player in 75 years to score his first playoff goal in a 1-0 overtime victory. Mike Vernon picked up the sixth and final playoff shutout of his career.
On that same night, Daniel Alfredsson scored the first postseason hat trick in Ottawa Senators franchise history. He scored once in each period of a 4-3 victory over the Devils, in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
On April 28, 2014, Chris Kreider became the first player in league history to score two game-winning goals in the same season in which he made his NHL debut. His second game-winner came in the third period of the Rangers’ 3-1 win over the Capitals, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The Vegas Golden Knights came out on the losing end of a Stanley Cup playoff game for the first time ever on April 28, 2018. After sweeping the Kings in the first round, and beating the Sharks in Game 1 of their second-round series, they lose 4-3 in overtime. They are the only team in league history to win its first five postseason games.
Happy Birthday to You
One of the best defensemen to ever skate in the NHL is celebrating a birthday today as Nicklas Lindstrom turns 50. The Vasteras, Sweden native left his mark on both the Red Wings and the NHL. He played in 1,827 total games (regular season and playoffs combined), the 10th most in league history. He is the sixth-highest scoring defenseman ever with 1,142 points.
Other notable players who were also born on April 28 include Mel Bridgman (65), Ted Donato (51), Roman Polak (34), David Krejci (34), Luke Glendening (31), Joonas Korpisalo (26) and Connor Clifton (25).