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This Date in NHL History

April 13: Tonelli keeps dynasty alive for Islanders

Plus: Kings upset Oilers; Ovechkin becomes second 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 said. "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 Bob Nystrom says. "I deked and I was just about to put the puck into the net when 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 Stanley Cup 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 won 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 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 Bill Cook's overtime goal 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 Rangers' third championship since entering the League 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 Canadiend, their longest drought in the 20th century.


1974: The Chicago 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 30 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 goals, three on the power play, during the second period of a 6-5 victory against the New York 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 since the 1969-70 Montreal Canadiens to miss the playoffs. New Jersey's loss also assures the Tampa Bay Lightning of a playoff berth for the first time in their four-year history.


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.

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