This Day In Hockey – April 3
Matt Pepper looks back at memorable moments from this day in hockey. April 03.
April 03, 1971
Gordie Howe scored his final goal as a member of the Detroit Red Wings, in a 4-1 win over Chicago. His 25 years of regular season play with Detroit included 786 goals, 1,023 assists, for 1,809 points.
Matt: Howe was cementing his legacy as one of the games greatest by this time, but his career ended up not being over. After a short retirement as a Wings employee, he moved on to the WHA and a new era of fans got to see his unique brand of hockey. He ended up returning to the NHL with Hartford after the WHA merger with the NHL.
April 03, 1993
Mark Recchi scored his 50th goal of the season and added two assists to lead the Flyers to a 6-2 win over Tampa Bay at the Spectrum.
Matt: Mark Recchi was such a well-rounded offensive player. Always a great player maker, but for the first half of his career was an excellent goal scorer.
April 03, 1993
Toronto Maple Leafs set a franchise record with their 42nd win of the season, a 1-0 win over the Devils, at Maple Leaf Gardens. Felix Potvin recorded the second shutout of his rookie season.
Matt: The Leafs were one of the best teams in the NHL during this period and Potvin was one of the best goaltenders in the game at this time. Heart breaking playoff ending in the 93 Conference finals for the Buds.
April 03, 1995
Dave Taylor’s #18 jersey was retired in a pre-game ceremony before the L.A. Kings 7-2 win over the Oilers, at the Forum. Tony Granato scored his 5th career hat trick in the second period.
Matt: Dave Taylor was one of the original stars of the Kings franchise. An effect player who was tough as nails.
April 03, 1997
Mario Lemieux scored his 611th career NHL goal in a 5-5 Penguins’ tie against the Hartford Whalers, to move past Bobby Hull into sixth place, all-time in NHL goals.
Matt: Mario’s career totals in comparison to games played is astounding. With his injuries and illness’ in his career by this time, scoring over 600 goals is remarkable. Mario was a special player.
April 03, 1997
Ron Tugnutt recorded his second shutout in two days (and the 4th of his career) as the Senators won 4-0 over the visiting Washington Capitals. Tugnutt became the first Sens’ goalie to get back-to-back shutouts.
Matt: Tugnutt was one of the pillars of the Sens in this era that helped them get into the playoffs. He had a quietly stellar career outside of his record save performance in Quebec years earlier.
April 03, 2000
Brett Hull scored his 610th career goal to tie his father, Bobby, for 9th place on the NHL career list in the Stars 2-2 tie against the visiting Calgary Flames.
Matt: The Golden Brett was very much like his father in being one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history. Hull was one of the best players to find seams and blast one – timers on the powerplay.
April 03, 2001
Ron Tugnutt tied a modern NHL record for most victories by an expansion team goaltender, with his 21st win of the season, when the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the visiting Detroit Red Wings 2-1.
Matt: History should be kinder to Tugnett. He spent a lot of time on expansion teams and teams that weren’t near the top of the NHL. To me, he is one of the best goaltenders who doesn’t get a lot of attention.
April 03, 2002
Steven Reinprecht scored his first career hat trick and added an assist as the Avalanche recorded a 6-0 victory over Atlanta. Patrick Roy recorded his 61st career shutout.
Matt: This is a definite trivia question in who had a hat trick during Roy’s 61st shutout. While Reinprecht didn’t have a lengthy career, this I’m sure is memorable for him and Av’s fans.
April 03, 2002
Detroit’s Luc Robitaille scored to give him 30 goals on the season for the 12th time in his NHL career. The milestone came in a 1-1 Red Wings’ tie at Anaheim.
Matt: Lucky Luc always found himself with the puck on the wing. (No pun intended) To me, he will always be known as a King, but had a lot of success with the winged wheel, including a Stanley Cup.
April 03, 2003
Ottawa Senators clinched the Eastern Conference Championship for the first time in the franchise’s 10-year history with a 5-1 win over the Capitals at Washington.
Matt: Ottawa had so many terrible seasons at the beginning of their franchise, that they ended up becoming one of the best teams of the 2000’s. With great drafting and coaching, they got very close to becoming a Stanley Cup Champion….but, it was not to be.