This Day In Hockey History – April 4

Matt Pepper  looks back at memorable moments from this day in hockey, April 04.

April 04, 1921

Ottawa Senators defeated Vancouver Millionaires 2-1 in the decisive 5th game of their Stanley Cup series. Jack Darragh scored both goals for the Senators, who became the first NHL team to capture back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships.

Matt:  True story, I was going through some old newspaper clippings for my Great Grandma many years ago and it said the Stanley Cup Champion was Ottawa during her birth year.  (1911) I was shocked as I thought Ottawa was a fairly new team. Little did I know they existed during this era of Hockey. (We have Google now, so it helps with these facts)

April 04, 1944

Maurice Richard made his Stanley Cup Finals debut, getting an assist on the game winning goal, in a 5-1 Montreal Canadiens’ victory over Chicago in Game One of the Finals.

Matt:  “The Rocket” was well on his way to be becoming one of the first superstars the National Hockey League had.  Too many stories from historians and fans who saw him play to mention in a couple of sentences.

April 04, 1971

Boston’s Bobby Orr had two assists to finish the 1970-71 season with an NHL-record 102 assists along with two records for NHL defensemen: 37 goals and 139 points. Bruins won 7-2 over the visiting Montreal Canadiens.

April 04, 1971

Phil Esposito scored his seventh hat trick of the season (a record at the time) — goals #74, 75, and 76 — and added an assist, in a 7-2 Bruins’ win over Montreal, in Boston. At the time 76 goals was the most in NHL history.

Matt:  Ridiculous goal total.  Esposito from all accounts would rarely leave the ice, taking 5 minute shifts.  The only thing more astounding than this, is Gretzky smashed this record too. (And a few others eclipsed this total)

April 04, 1982

Doug Wilson scored his 39th goal – a team record for defenseman, as Chicago won 4-3 over the visiting Minnesota North Stars.

Matt:  39 goals for a defenseman is an accomplishment in any era.  Doug Wilson has a solid career, but is known for being the General Manager of the San Jose Sharks, one of the best teams of the 2010’s.  He also has had a lot of success in finding a defenseman for his team. Coincidence? 

Matt:  #4 was the best of his generation and changed the game.  Eclipsing 100 points as a defenseman may never happen again.  (Brian Leetch was the last one to do it)

April 04, 1986

Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky had three assists to give him 214 points and broke his single-season record (212 points set in 1981-82) in a 9-3 Oilers’ loss at Calgary.

Matt:  Even if Ovechkin breaks Gretzky’s goal record, I have a feeling this one (along with many others) will still be standing.  Unless the NHL eliminates the goalie position, I do not see how this record would ever be broken.

April 04, 1990

Los Angeles’ Larry Robinson entered his 18th consecutive year in the Stanley Cup playoffs, to set an NHL post-season record, when the Kings won 5-3 at Calgary, in Game 1 of the Smythe Division Semi-Finals.

Matt:  “Big Bird” doesn’t get talked about enough when it comes to some of the games greatest defenseman.  He had seen it all in Hockey as a player from the 70’s until the 90’s. He seemed to always be a part of winning teams.

April 04, 1991

Vancouver’s Geoff Courtnall scored a hat trick and added an assist as the Canucks won 6-5 at Los Angeles, in Game 1 of the Smythe Division Semi-Finals.

Matt:  Both Courtnall’s were good players in the NHL, but Geoff had a very underrated (and under-the-radar career)  In recent memory, Courtnall has told a lot of the jokes he played on teammates throughout his time in Hockey.’

April 04, 1993

San Jose set an NHL record with their 68th loss of the season, when the second-year Sharks lost to Calgary 4-3 at the Cow Palace in Daly City. The Sharks broke the record of 67 set by the Capitals in 1974-75.

Matt:  In a previous piece, I mentioned how San Jose had been the laughing stock of the league.  This is an indicator that expansion was not fun in those days. Paying fans got to see their team lose 68 times at this point.

April 04, 1997

San Jose’s Tony Granato scored his 7th career hat trick in the Sharks 7-6 win in overtime over the visiting Colorado Avalanche. Owen Nolan set a new team record with his 31st goal of the year, breaking the mark set by Sergei Makarov in 1993-94.

Matt:  San Jose is starting to turn it around by this point.  Granto was always a productive player and this was the emergence of Owen Nolan and what would go on to be a very good career for him.

April 04, 1998

Vancouver’s Pavel Bure became the third player in franchise history to score 250 goals as a member of the Canucks. The milestone came in a 5-3 win against the visiting Dallas Stars.

Matt:  One of my personal favourites, the “Russian Rocket” could get the crowd on their feet with his explosive speed and quick release.  Bure was a dominant force in Vancouver.

April 04, 2002

Tampa Bay’s Dave Andreychuk scored twice to become the 7th player in NHL history to score 20+ goals 17 times in his career, and Nikolai Khabibulin picked up his 150th career win, as the Lighting won 4-2 against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.

Matt:  As good as Khabibulin was, the Lightning really benefitted from Andreychuk’s leadership.  Consummate professional that came and put the work in every game and tough to move him from the paint.

April 04, 2004

Jarome Iginla became the 4th player to score 250 goals as a member of the Calgary Flames; the milestone came in a 2-1 loss to the Mighty Ducks, in Anaheim. It was also his 41st goal of the season, tying him for the NHL lead in goals for 2003-04.

Matt:  Iginla was one of the best power forwards in the history of the NHL and a personal favourite of mine to watch.  Skating and shooting off the wing were reminiscent of one Mark Messier. Iginla is a player that every team wanted and so few had.


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