Skip to Main Content
This Date in NHL History

April 15: Octopus tradition begins for Red Wings

Plus: Hull scores 24th game-winning playoff goal; Selanne sets rookie mark with 132 points

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1952: The tradition of throwing an octopus onto the ice begins when the Detroit Red Wings become the first team to win the Stanley Cup without losing a playoff game by defeating the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 in Game 4 of the Final.

Metro Prystai scores two goals and Terry Sawchuk earns his fifth career postseason shutout, helping the Red Wings finish 8-0 in the 1952 playoffs.

Brothers Pete and Jerry Cusimano, store owners in Detroit's Eastern Market, make history when they toss an octopus onto the ice at Olympia Stadium. Each tentacle symbolizes one of the eight victories needed to win the Cup during the Original Six era.

The tradition has continued, even though the number of victories needed to win the Cup has grown to 16.

Video: 1952 Cup Final, Gm4: Detroit's octopus toss begins



1937: The Red Wings become the first U.S.-based team to win the Stanley Cup in back-to-back years when they defeat the New York Rangers 3-0 to win the fifth and deciding game of the Final. Goalie Earl Robertson, called up from the minor leagues after Normie Smith is injured earlier in the playoffs, earns his second straight shutout after New York wins two of the first three games. Robertson has never played an NHL game before his call-up and never plays again for the Red Wings; he spends the next five seasons with the New York Americans. Among Robertson's saves is one on New York's Alex Shibicky, who is awarded the first penalty shot in Stanley Cup Final history by referee Mickey Ion.


1975: The Vancouver Canucks get the first playoff win in their history by defeating the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 at the Forum in Game 2 of their Stanley Cup Quarterfinal series. Garry Monahan scores the winning goal and Bob Dailey has two assists. The win evens the series at 1-1, but the Canadiens win the next three games.


1977: Rick MacLeish rallies the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-3 overtime victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 3 of the Quarterfinals at Maple Leaf Gardens. With the Flyers less than a minute from going down 3-0 in the best-of-7 series, MacLeish scores the tying goal at 19:22 of the third period, then gets the winner at 2:55 of overtime; he becomes the first NHL player to score a last-minute tying goal and an overtime goal in the same playoff game. After losing the first two games at home, the Flyers rally to win the series in six games.

On the same night, Clark Gillies of the New York Islanders sets a playoff record with his fourth consecutive game-winning goal. It comes in New York's 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Memorial Auditorium in Game 3 of their Quarterfinal series.


1989: The Los Angeles Kings end the Edmonton Oilers' hopes for a three-peat with a 6-3 victory in Game 7 of the Smythe Division Semifinals at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Bernie Nicholls scores twice and has two assists as the Kings, and Wayne Gretzky caps the win against his former team by scoring his second goal of the game with 1:35 remaining in the third period. It's the third straight win for the Kings after they lose three of the first four games to the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs.


1991: Frank Pietrangelo is flawless in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 4-0 victory against the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of the Patrick Division Semifinals. With starter Tom Barrasso injured, Pietrangelo wins Game 6 in New Jersey before earning the only playoff shutout of his NHL career in the deciding game at the Civic Center. Jiri Hrdina scores twice, including the game-winner, to become the first player in NHL history whose first two postseason goals come in the seventh game of the same playoff series.

Video: Memories: Pietrangelo makes 'The Save'


1993: Teemu Selanne of the Winnipeg Jets completes the greatest rookie season in NHL history by scoring his 76th goal and contributing an assist in a 3-0 victory against the Edmonton Oilers at Winnipeg Arena. Selanne's 76 goals and 132 points set NHL rookie records that still stand. He shares the 1992-93 League lead in goals with Alexander Mogilny of the Sabres, who scores twice in a 7-4 loss to the Flyers.

Video: Teemu Selanne scored record 76 goals as rookie

On the same night, Jeremy Roenick becomes the second player in Chicago Blackhawks history to have back-to-back 50-goal seasons. He joins Bobby Hull scores No. 50 at 1:29 of the second period in Chicago's 3-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.


1998: Jaromir Jagr scores his 300th NHL goal and has two assists for the Penguins in a 5-1 win against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning. With three points, Jagr becomes the first (and only) 100-point scorer during the 1997-98 NHL season.


2004: Brett Hull of the Red Wings scores the 24th playoff game-winning goal of his career, tying the record set by Gretzky, in a 4-1 win against the Nashville Predators at Joe Louis Arena in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Hull's goal at 6:22 of the first period is the next-to-last of the 103 he scores in the playoffs. He and Gretzky still share the playoff record for game-winners.

Video: Brett Hull fourth leading goal-scorer in NHL


2012: The Flyers become the first team in NHL history to score eight goals in consecutive playoff games when they defeat the Penguins 8-4 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Wells Fargo Center. The win comes two nights after an 8-5 win at Consol Energy Center. Matt Read, Max Talbot and Daniel Briere each scores two goals for the Flyers, who go on to win the series in six games.


2018: The Penguins tie the playoff record for fastest two goals by one team when they score twice in five seconds during the second period of a 5-1 win against the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. Evgeni Malkin scores at 6:48 and Brian Dumoulin beats goalie Brian Elliott at 6:53. The Penguins tie the mark set by the Red Wings in Game 5 of the 1965 Semifinals.


2019: The Carolina Hurricanes win their first home playoff game in 10 years by defeating the Washington Capitals 5-0 at PNC Arena in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round. Warren Foegele and Dougie Hamilton each scores twice for Carolina, which hasn't hosted a postseason game since Game 4 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Hurricanes get their first playoff win at PNC Arena since Game 4 of the 2009 conference semifinal against the Boston Bruins.

On the same night, Cale Makar caps a whirlwind three days by scoring in his NHL debut to help the Colorado Avalanche defeat the Calgary Flames 6-2 at Pepsi Center in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round. Makar wins the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in U.S. college hockey on Friday, plays for the University of Massachusetts in the NCAA Championship game on Saturday, signs with the Avalanche after the game and scores the game-winning goal against his hometown team in his NHL debut. Makar is the first defenseman and seventh player in NHL history to score a goal while making his League debut in a playoff game.

View More