May 14 has been a very busy day in the history of the National Hockey League. Between historic comebacks, series-clinching wins, broken records and awards being handed out, this date has seen a little bit of everything.
3-0? No Problem
The 2010 Philadelphia Flyers were a team many had written before we hit May 14 on the calendar. They lost the first three games of Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Boston Bruins, but never gave up. Simone Gagne’s overtime goal in Game 4 kept the season alive for the Flyers and they won the next two games to force a seventh and final game back in Boston.
The Flyers had to climb out of another 3-0 hole, as the Bruins built up a three-goal lead in the first period, with a goal from Michael Ryder and a pair of strikes from Milan Lucic. James van Riemsdyk got the Flyers on the board just before the first intermission.
Scott Hartnell and Daniel Briere scored in the second period to even up the score. Gagne’s power-play goal, with seven minutes to play, was the only goal in the third period and turned out to be the series clincher. Before his game-winner in Game 4, Gagne had no goals in the postseason, but he scored four during the Flyers’ epic four-game comeback.
The Flyers joined the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders as the only teams to win a seven-game series after losing the first three contests. The Los Angeles Kings repeat this feat in 2014.
A Memorable Date for Lemaire
Jacques Lemaire and the Montreal Canadiens finished off one of the most successful seasons in NHL history on May 14, 1977. Lemaire’s overtime goal capped off a four-game sweep of the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final. The Canadiens had an NHL-record 132 points in the regular season before winning 12 of its 15 playoff games. They were rarely challenged that season as they outscored their opponents 441-194 in 95 total games.
Fast forward to May 14, 2003, and Lemaire is behind the bench for the Minnesota Wild, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. He made history on this date by becoming the first person in the NHL to coach 100 Stanley Cup playoff games after playing in 100 of them. Unfortunately, his Wild lose 4-0 to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere tied a postseason record with his third straight shutout as the Wild were left still searching for their first goal of the series.
More Islanders Memories
On May 14, 1981, the New York Islanders grab a 2-0 lead over the Minnesota North Stars with a 6-3 win, in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Defenseman Denis Potvin led the way with two goals and two assists.
The Islanders pulled off a big upset on May 14, 1993, as they ended the two-year championship reign of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Game 7 of the Patrick Division Final heads to overtime after Ron Francis and Rick Tocchet both score in the final four minutes of regulation to tie the score at 3-3.
In overtime, David Volek finishes off a 2-on-1 rush to put the Islanders into the Wales Conference Final.
It was Volek’s second tally of the night after having zero goals in the Islanders’ previous 12 playoff games. This was the last postseason series the Islanders would win until 2016.
On May 14, 1995, Dale Hunter scored twice to become the Washington Capitals’ all-time leader in playoff points with 62. He broke Mike Ridley’s record in a 6-5 overtime loss at Pittsburgh, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. His 72 playoff points have since been surpassed by both Nicklas Backstrom (106) and Alex Ovechkin (126).
A year later, Brett Hull had a goal and an assist to become the St. Louis Blues’ all-time leader in career playoff points, passing Bernie Federko who had 101 playoff points. The Blues lost 4-2 to the visiting Detroit Red Wings, in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals. He remains the all-time franchise leader with 117 playoff points. Hull’s record is safe for a while as Jaden Schwartz is the active player with the most playoff points, with 50.
Dominik Hasek made 24 saves on May 14, 1999, to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-0 victory against the Bruins, in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. It was his fifth career playoff shutout, breaking the previous team record of four held by Bob Sauve. He would add a sixth postseason shutout before leaving Buffalo, which is still the most in franchise history.
On May 14, 2008, Mike Modano scored a goal in the Dallas Stars’ 3-1 win over the Red Wings, in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. The tally made him the highest-scoring American-born player in Stanley Cup history with 145 points, one more than Chris Chelios. He still holds the record with 146 points, but Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks is closing in with 123 points.
May 14, 1995, hosted a pair of final games, both in Boston and in Quebec City. Boston-native Bill Guerin scored a goal and assisted on the game-winner in the New Jersey Devils’ 3-2 victory over the Bruins, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. This was the final NHL game to ever be played at the old Boston Garden. Adam Oates of the Bruins scored the last goal in the historic building.
On that same night, Quebec Nordiques beat the visiting New York Rangers 4-2, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. It was the final NHL game played in Quebec City as the Nordiques relocated and became the Colorado Avalanche following the season’s conclusion.
Maple Leafs Move On
The Maple Leafs had a pair of series-clinching wins on this date. On May 14, 1994, Wendel Clark scored two goals and added an assist as the Maple Leafs won 4-2 over the San Jose Sharks, in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals. They advanced to the Western Conference Final, where they lost in five games to the Vancouver Canucks.
On May 14, 2002, Alexander Mogilny scored twice in the Maple Leafs 3-0 win against the visiting Ottawa Senators, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Curtis Joseph earned his 14th career playoff shutout. He retired with 16, which is the third-most behind Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy. The Maple Leafs wound up losing the Eastern Conference Finals, in six games, to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Odds & Ends
Montreal Canadiens donated the Vezina Memorial Trophy to the NHL in memory of Georges Vezina on May 14, 1927. The first winner was the man you replaced Vezina in net with the Canadiens, George Hainsworth. From 1946 until 1981, the Vezina Trophy was awarded to the goaltender with the best goals-against average in the league. The William Jennings Trophy is now awarded for this feat, as the Vezina Trophy is once again given to the goaltender voted as the best by the NHL general managers.
On May 14, 1934, Tommy Gorman was named manager of the Montreal Maroons. The move came three weeks after he resigned from the Chicago Blackhawks, after leading them to the Stanley Cup. The Maroons would go on to win the Stanley Cup in 1935.
Jean Beliveau was named the winner of the Hart Trophy for the second time in his career, on May 14, 1964, for being the league’s most valuable player. Beliveau scored 28 goals and 78 points in 68 games to take home the award.
Paul Coffey made history on May 14, 1985, by scoring a goal and adding five assists in the Edmonton Oilers’ 10-5 win versus the Blackhawks, in Game 5 of the Campbell Conference Final. His six points are the most ever scored by a defenseman in a Stanley Cup playoff game. Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri each score twice in the offensive barrage.
The Stanley Cup Final between the Canadiens and Calgary Flames began on May 14, 1989. Flames defenseman Al MacInnis was the difference-maker as his two goals led Calgary to a 3-2 Game 1 win.
On May 14, 2011, 41-one-year goaltender Dwayne Roloson picks up his eighth straight win as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Bruins 5-2, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. He tied Jacques Plante’s record for the most consecutive playoff wins by a goaltender over the age of 40.
Happy Birthday to You
While today’s list of birthday boys is relatively short, at just 18 current and former players, it is still rather impressive. The most notable players are Pierre Plante (69), Danny Gare (66), Steve Tambellini (62), Rick Vaive (61), Alain Vigneault (59), Jordan Szwarz (29), Louis Belpedio (24), Morgan Frost (21), Jack Hughes (19) and the late Hall of Fame goaltender, Gump Worsley.