May 25: Messier guarantees victory, delivers for Rangers
Plus: McDonald ends career as champion with Flames; Penguins win Cup for first timeby John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor
THIS DATE IN HISTORY: May 25
1994: Mark Messier delivers on his guarantee that the New York Rangers will defeat the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final, scoring three goals in a 4-2 victory at Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Messier tells reporters the Rangers, down 3-2 in the best-of-7 series, will force a Game 7. His words are splashed on the front pages of newspapers all around the New York area.
With the Rangers down 2-0 late in the second period, Messier sets up Alex Kovalev before intermission to cut the Devils' lead to 2-1. He ties the game early in the third period, puts New York ahead 3-2 with 7:48 remaining and caps his performance by shooting the puck the length of the ice into an empty net.
"I felt that [guaranteeing a win] would be a great way to let my players know that I believed we could go in there and win Game 6, because we had beaten them six times during the regular season -- three times in their building," Messier says.
1978: The Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup for the third consecutive season by defeating the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 6 of the Final. After defenseman Brad Park scores a power-play goal 4:05 into the game to give the packed house at Boston Garden some hope, Steve Shutt and Mario Tremblay score in a span of 2:19 to give Montreal a 2-1 lead. Tremblay and Rejean Houle score late in the second period to make it 4-1. Ken Dryden finishes with 15 saves. Montreal defenseman Larry Robinson wins the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
1985: Wayne Gretzky scores three goals in the first period and the Edmonton Oilers hold on for a 4-3 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 3 of the Final at Northlands Coliseum. Defenseman Paul Coffey assists on all three of Gretzky's goals, as well as a second-period power-play goal by Mike Krushelnyski that proves to be the game-winner when the Flyers rally in the third period. Mark Howe and Brian Propp score to make it a one-goal game with 5:34 remaining, but Grant Fuhr finishes with 27 saves to give the Oilers a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.
Video: Wayne Gretzky all-time leader in goals, points
1989: Lanny McDonald finishes his career as a Stanley Cup champion when the Calgary Flames defeat the Canadiens 4-2 in Game 6 of the Final at the Forum. McDonald scores at 4:24 of the second period to put the Flames ahead 2-1, and Doug Gilmour scores twice in the third to seal the first championship in Flames history. It's the only time that the Canadiens lose the last game of the Final in their own building.
Video: 1989 Cup Final, Gm6: McDonald leads Flames to Cup win
1991: The Pittsburgh Penguins put an exclamation point on the first championship in their history by defeating the Minnesota North Stars 8-0 in Game 6 of the Final at Met Center. Mario Lemieux scores one goal and has three assists, and Tom Barrasso makes 39 saves for the first playoff shutout of his NHL career. Lemieux is awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy after scoring 16 goals and finishing with 44 points in 23 playoff games.
1998: Bill Clinton becomes the first sitting U.S. president to attend an NHL game. He's at MCI Center to see the Washington Capitals defeat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 in overtime in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final. Buffalo forces overtime when Matthew Barnaby scores a power-play goal with 57 seconds remaining in the third period to make it 2-2. But Todd Krygier scores 3:01 into OT to even the best-of-7 series at one win apiece.
2002: Patrick Roy sets an NHL record for most career playoff games. He makes 31 saves in his 237th postseason appearance to help the Colorado Avalanche defeat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final at Pepsi Center. Roy breaks the mark of 236 postseason games that had been held by Messier.
Video: Patrick Roy won Stanley Cup four times, three Vezinas
2015: Matt Beleskey scores 45 seconds into overtime, giving the Anaheim Ducks a 5-4 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. The Ducks lead 3-0 after one period and 4-2 with less than two minutes remaining in the third, but Chicago's Jonathan Toews scores twice with goalie Corey Crawford on the bench for an extra attacker, forcing the overtime. Beleskey's goal gives Anaheim a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.
2016: The San Jose Sharks advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since entering the NHL in 1991 by defeating the St. Louis Blues 5-2 at SAP Center in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final. Joel Ward scores two goals and Martin Jones made 23 saves for the Sharks. It's the first trip to the Final for longtime Sharks forwards Patrick Marleau (1,411 games) and Joe Thornton (1,347); their combined total of 2,478 NHL regular-season games played is the most by two teammates each making the Cup Final for the first time.
2017: The defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in double overtime to win Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final and advance to the Cup Final. Forward Chris Kunitz, who hasn't scored a goal during the playoffs, opens the scoring midway through the second period and gets the game-winner at 5:09 of the second overtime.