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This Date in NHL History

April 5: Rangers edge Canadiens for playoff berth

Plus: Orr first defenseman to lead League in scoring; Brodeur sets single-season wins record for goalies

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: April 5

1970: The New York Rangers pass the Montreal Canadiens for fourth place and the final Stanley Cup Playoff berth in the East Division on one of the wildest season-ending days in NHL history.

The Rangers enter their season finale against the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden needing not only a win and a Montreal loss to the Chicago Blackhawks that night, but also having to outscore the Canadiens by at least five goals (under the rules then in effect, the first tiebreaker for teams with identical records is goals scored).

Incredibly, the Rangers score nine goals before the midway point of the third period. Coach Emile Francis even pulls goaltender Ed Giacomin four times in the final minutes in an effort to get more; instead, New York gives up two empty-net goals but finishes with a 9-5 win.

Montreal can still make the playoffs with a win, a tie or by scoring five goals against Chicago. But when a 3-2 deficit becomes 5-2 in the third period, the Canadiens pull goalie Rogie Vachon. The strategy backfires; the Blackhawks score five empty-net goals and win 10-2. It's the only season between 1948-49 and 1994-95 that the Canadiens miss the playoffs.

 

MORE MOMENTS:

1919: The death of Canadiens star Joe Hall during an influenza epidemic brings an end to the Stanley Cup Final between Montreal and the Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. The best-of-5 series ends 2-2, and the Cup is not awarded.

 

1932: Busher Jackson of the Toronto Maple Leafs becomes the first player to score three goals in one period of a playoff game. He gets a hat trick in the second period of a 6-4 win against the Rangers in Game 1 of the Final at Madison Square Garden.

 

1955: Ted Lindsay ties Stanley Cup Final records with four goals in a game and three in a period, helping the Red Wings to a 7-1 victory against the Canadiens at Olympia Stadium in Game 2. Lindsay scores once in Detroit's four-goal first period and three more times in the second period. He's the first player to score four goals in a Final game since the NHL takes control of the Cup in 1926.

Video: 'Terrible Ted' Lindsay took on all comers for Detroit

 

1970: Bobby Orr has a second-period assist in the Boston Bruins' final game of the season, a 3-1 home win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, to become the first defenseman to lead the NHL in scoring. Orr finishes with 120 points (33 goals, 87 assists) in 76 games.

 

1980: Marcel Dionne wins his only NHL scoring title with two assists in the Los Angeles Kings' 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Dionne finishes the season with 53 goals and 137 points. Edmonton Oilers' Wayne Gretzky also has 137 points, but Dionne wins the Art Ross Trophy because he scores two more goals.

 

1991: Rookie Jaromir Jagr scores at 8:52 of overtime to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 5-4 win against the New Jersey Devils in Game 2 of the Patrick Division Semifinals. It is Jagr's first of 78 playoff goals.

Video: Jaromir Jagr second on NHL points list

 

1997: Penguins star Mario Lemieux announces he will retire after the end of the 1996-97 season. The news comes after months of speculation; at the time of his announcement, Lemieux leads the NHL in scoring with 117 points. He returns to the Penguins in December 2000 and doesn't retire for good until 2006.

 

2007: Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils sets an NHL record with his 48th win of the season, a 3-2 road victory against the Philadelphia Flyers. Brodeur breaks the mark set by Bernie Parent of the Flyers in 1973-74.

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