This Day In Hockey – April 2
Matt Pepper looks back at memorable moments from this day in hockey.
April 02, 1967
Boston rookie Bobby Orr completed his first NHL season with 13 goals, 28 assists, 41 points, and 102 penalty minutes, as the Bruins lost 5-2 to Toronto. Boston finished in sixth place, out of the playoffs.
Matt: In recent memory, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin eclipsed 100 point seasons, but neither of them were defenseman. Orr was a prodigy.
April 02, 1972
Bobby Hull scored his final goal as a member of the Chicago Black Hawks, #604 in a 6-1 win over Detroit at Chicago Stadium. It was his 50th goal of the season, and Hull became the first player to score 50 or more goals five times in his career.
Matt: Hull left the ‘Hawks and went to the upstart WHA after this. The World Hockey Association was paying more for Hockey players than the NHL was at the time. Hull joined the Winnipeg Jets and was then known as the “Golden Jet”.
April 02, 1977
Montreal’s Guy Lafleur and Bob Gainey each had a goal and three assists as the Canadiens extended their NHL-record home undefeated streak to 34 games (28-0-6), with an 11-0 win over the Washington Capitals. Ken Dryden got his 36th career shutout.
Matt: An undefeated streak of 34 home games is ridiculous in any era. LaFleur was a Rockstar in Montreal (still is), and Bob Gainey was the consummate two – way player.
April 02, 1980
Edmonton rookie Wayne Gretzky became the first teenager to score 50 goals in a season, when the 19-year-old first year NHL player scored for the Oilers in a 1-1 tie against the Minnesota North Stars, at Northlands Coliseum.
Matt: I wasn’t shocked at this stat. 50 goals for Gretzky is a normal 80’s season, but the stat that jumps out to me is that this game was a 1 – 1 tie in 1980.
April 02, 1981
Capitals’ Mike Gartner extended his team-record point scoring streak to 17 straight games as Washington won 3-2 at Boston. Gartner scored 17 goals, 9 assists for a total of 26 points during the 17 game streak.
Matt: Mike Gartner was one of the fastest players in the league, well into the twilight of his career. Prolific scorer who scored 30 or more for 15 straight seasons until the league lockout. On a personal level, I met Mike Gartner once when his son played in Chatham for a Hockey tournament. Have not met a nicer former NHL player.
April 02, 1988
Mario Lemieux scored four goals, including the winner at 4:02 of overtime to lead the Penguins to a 7-6 win at Washington. It was the 12th hat trick of Lemieux’s NHL career.
Matt: Mario was the “next” great player after Gretzky to enter the league. This is his fourth year in the league and he recorded his 12th hat trick.
April 02, 1989
Mario Lemieux scored his 84th and 85th goals of the year (including the game winner in overtime) as Pittsburgh won 6-5 at Philadelphia. The two goals gave Lemieux 300 in his career.
Matt: Did I mention he was the next great player after Gretzky? With his size, hands, and great footwork for his size, he was difficult to contain, particularly in this era. 300 Goals in 5 years.
April 02, 1989
Clint Malarchuk returned to action for the first time since his neck injury and helped the Sabres to a 4-2 win over the Quebec Nordiques at the Aud.
Matt: The Malarchuk injury is difficult to watch. Big moment with him returning from a near death accident. Also of note, the Aud. was one of the loudest buildings in the entire NHL with boards that was sound throughout the building.
April 02, 1989
Devils’ Kirk Muller scored a goal and added three assists as New Jersey won 7-4 over the visiting Capitals.
Matt: One of the best roleplayers of his day, Muller was an excellent addition to every team he played on. A very strong playoff performer when spring hit.
April 02, 1993
Pierre Turgeon became the fourth player in Islanders history to score 50 goals in a season, and rookie Vladimir Malakhov had a goal and two assists as the Isles won 3-2 in overtime against the Rangers, at Madison Square Garden.
Matt: Turgeon was one of the best players of the early 90’s. Dominant offensive player on the ice who could ruin a goaltenders day with an excellent shot or tape – to – tape passes to linemates.
April 02, 1994
Goaltender Bill Ranford played in his 400th NHL game and made 38 saves to lead the Oilers to a 5-3 win over the Kings at Los Angeles.
Matt: Ranford was one of the best goalies from the late 80’s up until the mid 90’s. He’s four years removed here from stealing wins against the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup with the Oilers.
April 02, 1994
San Jose Sharks beat Vancouver 7-4, for their 77th point of the season (with a record of 31-33-15), which gave them a 53-point improvement over the previous season, the biggest turnaround by any team in NHL history.
Matt: Expansion was much different in 1994 than it is in the current era. Any team coming into the league had a tough road with a lack of star players that they could add to their team. San Jose went from being a laughing stock, to one of the best teams of the last decade.
April 02, 2000
Carolina’s Arturs Irbe set a franchise record with his 32nd win over the year, a 1-0 sin over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. Irbe broke the single season record of 31 victories set by Mike Liut in 1986-87. It was also his 24th career shutout.
Matt: Irbe was quietly one of the best goaltenders of this era. He put Carolina on the Hockey map early into their time away from Hartford. One of the unique masks of this era of goaltenders.
April, 2, 2001
Mike Modano scored to become the first player in Dallas Stars franchise history to get 30 (or more) goals eight seasons with the team, during a 4-4 tie against the visiting Calgary Flames.
Matt: One of the best American players in the history of the country, Modano was dominant while the Stars were in both Minnesota and Dallas. One of the best first step players, he could blow past the opposition and fire a shot off the wing that fooled goaltenders.
April 02, 2001
Colorado’s Joe Sakic scored his 11th career hat trick as the Avalanche clinched the President’s Trophy with a 5-3 victory against the visiting Edmonton Oilers.
Matt: Arguably the best release in the history of the game. Sakic could let the puck go with a wrist shot that very few other players could even come close to doing. Sakic was such a dominant player both in league player and internationally for Canada.
April 02, 2003
Nikolai Khabibulin set a team record with his 30th win of the season, and extended his career-best unbeaten streak to 16 games (12-0-4) as the Lightning won 2-1 over the visiting Montreal Canadiens.
Matt: Khabibulin was coming into his own during this era. While he had a strong season in 2003, it wasn’t until 2004 that he backstopped the Lightning to their first (and only) Stanley Cup.