THIS DATE IN HISTORY: May 29
1993: Wayne Gretzky carries the Los Angeles Kings into the Stanley Cup Final for the first time with a record-setting performance.
Gretzky sets an NHL record with his eighth playoff hat trick, scoring three goals to help the Kings to a 5-4 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the Campbell Conference Final at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Gretzky scores once in each period. He completes his hat trick by scoring with 3:14 remaining in the third, circling behind the net and backhanding the puck off the skate of Toronto defenseman Dave Ellett and past goaltender Felix Potvin. It comes 37 seconds after Mike Donnelly's goal puts the Kings ahead 4-3. Gretzky's third goal proves to be the game-winner when Ellett scores with 1:07 remaining.
"I've played 14 years, and I did not want to be remembered as the guy who didn't play well in the semifinals versus Toronto," Gretzky, a native of Brantford, Ontario, says with a smile. "This isn't pressure. It's fun to play in a game like this. It's what kids dream about, playing for the Stanley Cup."
Gretzky believes the Toronto media has written him off and uses that as inspiration. He's booed when he takes the ice for Game 7 but is showered with praise afterward.
"The greatest player in the world beat us tonight," Toronto general manager Cliff Fletcher says. "It was a great, great effort."
Video: Wayne Gretzky all-time leader in goals, points
1996: Joe Sakic scores two goals and sets up another to help the Colorado Avalanche defeat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 at McNichols Arena and win the Western Conference Final in six games. Sakic puts the Avalanche ahead 2-1 with a power-play goal 5:55 into the second period, and Mike Ricci and Peter Forsberg score before the period ends. Patrick Roy makes 23 saves in his 132nd playoff game, tying Billy Smith's NHL career record for playoff appearances by a goaltender. The loss ends the season for the Red Wings after they set an NHL regular-season record with 62 victories.
Video: Joe Sakic captained Avalanche to two Stanley Cup wins
2001: Roy becomes the first goaltender in NHL history to start 100 consecutive playoff games for one team when he takes the ice for the Avalanche against the New Jersey Devils in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at Pepsi Center. Roy makes 18 saves but the Devils win 2-1 to tie the best-of-7 series 1-1.
Video: Patrick Roy won Stanley Cup four times, three Vezinas
2013: Defenseman Brent Seabrook scores 3:35 into overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 2-1 victory against Detroit in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals at United Center. It's the fourth time in NHL history that a defenseman scores an overtime goal in a Game 7. The Blackhawks rally from down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series to win for the first time in franchise history; they are the 25th team in NHL history to do so.
2014: The New York Rangers advance to the Cup Final for the first time since 1994 by defeating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 at Madison Square Garden to win the Eastern Conference Final in six games. Dominic Moore scores late in the second period and Henrik Lundqvist makes 18 saves for the shutout. It's Lundqvist's 42nd win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, moving him past Mike Richter for the most in Rangers history.
2015: The Tampa Bay Lightning return to the Cup Final for the first time since 2004 when they defeat the Rangers 2-0 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden. Ben Bishop makes 22 saves for Tampa Bay, and Alex Killorn breaks a scoreless tie when he beats Henrik Lundqvist 1:54 into the third period.
2017: Jake Guentzel's goal with 3:17 remaining in the third period breaks a tie and the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Nashville Predators 5-3 at PPG Paints Arena in Game 1 of the Cup Final. The defending champion Penguins score three goals late in the first period to take a 3-0 lead. But the Predators, in their first trip to the Final since entering the NHL in 1998, score three straight goals and tie the game when Frederick Gaudreau beats Matt Murray at 13:29 of the third period. Nick Bonino's empty-net goal seals the win. Pittsburgh scores five times on 12 shots on goal and goes without a shot in the second period.
Video: NSH@PIT, Gm1: Guentzel snipes late go-ahead goal