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This Date in NHL History

April 13: Tonelli keeps dynasty alive for Islanders

Plus: Kings upset Oilers; Ovechkin becomes second NHL rookie with 50 goals, 100 points

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1982: John Tonelli rescues the New York Islanders' dynasty.

The 25-year-old forward ties the fifth and deciding game of the Patrick Division Semifinals by scoring with 2:21 remaining in the third period, then gets the series-winning goal 6:19 into overtime for a 4-3 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Coliseum.

The two-time defending champion Islanders win the first two games of the series easily, but lose the next two and trail 3-1 with time running out in the third period of Game 5. However, a penalty to Penguins defenseman Randy Carlyle leads to a power-play goal by defenseman Mike McEwen with 5:27 remaining. The Islanders tie it when a dump-in caroms off the end boards, hops over Carlyle's stick and comes right to Tonelli, who smacks it past a stunned Michel Dion.

"They just dumped it in and it came off the wall," Carlyle says years later. "I went back to get it and it bounced over my stick and [Tonelli] put it in the net. That tied the hockey game."

After the Penguins come close to winning in overtime, Tonelli's goal sets off an eruption of relief at the Coliseum.

"Johnny Tonelli went into the corner and threw it out to me," Islanders forward Bobby Nystrom says. "I deked and I was just about to put the puck into the net when [Penguins forward] Pat Boutette came and pulled me down. I was laying on my back and watched the puck go over me and into the net.

"We really did have a sense of confidence that we were going to win the game in overtime."

With the Penguins vanquished, the Islanders roll through the rest of the playoffs to win their third of four straight Stanley Cup championships. It's the only time during the four Cup runs that they face a win-or-go-home game.



1927: The Ottawa Senators defeat the Boston Bruins 3-1 in Game 4 of the Final at the Ottawa Auditorium to win the Stanley Cup. Cy Denneny scores twice for the Senators, who win the series 2-0 with two ties. It is the fourth championship in eight years for the Senators, and the last; Ottawa drops out of the NHL after the 1933-34 season. It is also the last Final game played in Ottawa until June 2, 2007, when the new edition of the Senators hosts the Anaheim Ducks.


1940: Bryan Hextall Sr. scores at 2:07 of overtime to give the New York Rangers a 3-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Maple Leaf Gardens and a six-game series victory in the Stanley Cup Final. It comes seven years to the day after a goal by Bill Cook at 7:33 of OT gives the Rangers a 1-0 win at Toronto and a Cup-winning victory in Game 4 of what was then a best-of-5 Final. The 1940 Cup was the third championship for the Rangers since entering the NHL in 1926; little did their fans know that the next one wouldn't arrive until 1994. The 54-year drought is still the longest in NHL history.


1944: Toe Blake has four assists before scoring at 9:12 of overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a 5-4 win against the Chicago Blackhawks and a four-game sweep in the Final. It's the first title in 13 years for the Canadiens, their longest drought in the 20th century.


1974: The Blackhawks set a playoff record for fewest shots in a game, managing 10 against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 of the Quarterfinals at the Forum. However, Germain Gagnon scores 40 seconds into the game and Tony Esposito makes 32 saves for a 1-0 victory. The Blackhawks win despite being outshot 23-3 in the final two periods.


1982: The Kings complete one of the great upsets in playoff history when Mario Lessard makes 40 saves in a 7-4 victory against the Edmonton Oilers at Northlands Coliseum in the fifth and deciding game of the Smythe Division Semifinals. The loss eliminates the Oilers after they've finished with the best record in the Western Conference and set an NHL single-season record with 417 goals (92 by Wayne Gretzky) in 80 games.


1985: Tim Kerr of the Philadelphia Flyers sets playoff records by scoring four consecutive goals, three on the power play, during the second period of a 6-5 victory against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in Game 3 of the Patrick Division Semifinals. Kerr turns a 3-2 deficit into a 6-2 lead when he scores at 10:06, 14:58, 16:42 and 18:22; all but the second goal come with the Flyers up a man. Mario Lemieux ties Kerr by scoring four times in a period in 1989, but the three power-play goals in one period remain a playoff record.


1996: The visiting Ottawa Senators defeat the New Jersey Devils 5-2, eliminating the defending Stanley Cup champions from playoff contention. The Devils become the first defending champion to miss the playoffs since the 1969-70 Montreal Canadiens. New Jersey's loss also assures the Tampa Bay Lightning of a playoff berth for the first time in their four-year history.


1997: Lemieux has two assists for the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 7-3 loss at Boston, giving him 122 points for the season and his sixth NHL scoring championship in 12 seasons. It's Lemieux's final regular-season game until he comes out of retirement midway through the 2000-01 season.

On the same night, the Hartford Whalers defeat the Lightning 2-1 at the Civic Center. It's the final NHL game played in Hartford; the Whalers move to North Carolina and are renamed the Carolina Hurricanes.


2002: Two future Hall of Fame defensemen each gets his 700th NHL assist. Chris Chelios reaches the milestone during a 3-2 overtime loss at the St. Louis Blues, and Brian Leetch gets assist No. 700 for the New York Rangers in a 2-1 loss to the Flyers at Philadelphia.


2006: Washington Capitals rookie Alex Ovechkin scores his 50th goal, joining Teemu Selanne as the only players in NHL history to reach 50 goals and 100 points in their first season. The milestone goal comes during the Capitals' 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena. Ovechkin finishes his first NHL season with 52 goals and 106 points.


2017: The Anaheim Ducks defeat the Calgary Flames at Honda Center for the 27th consecutive time by winning 3-2 in the opener of the Western Conference First Round. A goal by Jakob Silfverberg late in the second period breaks a 2-2 tie and John Gibson makes 30 saves for Anaheim, which has 22 regular-season wins and six in the playoffs since its last home loss to the Flames on April 25, 2006, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.


2018: The Vegas Golden Knights win the first playoff overtime game in their history when Erik Haula scores at 15:23 of the second OT for a 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings at T-Mobile Arena. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick makes 54 saves before Haula takes a pass from James Neal and slides the puck into the net for the win, which gives the NHL's newest team a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

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