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This Date in NHL History

Sept. 28: Paul Henderson's goal wins Summit Series

Plus: Rangers acquire Frank Boucher in trade; North Stars sign Dino Ciccarelli

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1972: Paul Henderson scores one of the most famous goals in hockey history to give Canada a 6-5 victory against the Soviet Union in the eighth and final game of the Summit Series in Moscow.

Canada rallies from three one-goal deficits, but the Soviets score twice to take a 5-3 lead after two periods. Goals by Phil Esposito and Yvan Cournoyer get Canada even at 5-5 with 7:04 remaining. With time running out, the Soviets are preparing to claim victory in the series, which would end 3-3-2, by virtue of having scored one more goal.

But Esposito picked up an errant pass from Cournoyer and poked the puck toward goaltender Vladislav Tretiak, who made an easy save. However, no one picked up Henderson, who crashed into the end boards after being tripped. He got to the front of the net, shoveled the puck at Tretiak and then flipped the rebound into the net for a 6-5 lead.

When the final buzzer sounds, Canada has its third straight victory and wins the series 4-3-1.

The series is a watershed moment for hockey. The Soviets' speed and skill announces to the world that they don't have to take a back seat to the NHL, or anyone else. But Canada teaches them a few lessons about heart, desire and the role of emotion.

"[Legendary Soviet coach Anatoli] Tarasov said, 'We can skate with the Canadians. Our skill level is there. We can shoot as well as they do. The one advantage they have is their spirit,'" Henderson said. "I believe that's what the separation was. We were able to dig down and do something that they weren't able to beat."



1926: The New York Rangers, preparing for their first NHL season, acquire center Frank Boucher in a trade with Vancouver of the Western Hockey League for $15,000. Boucher becomes one of the Rangers' first stars, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 1928 and 1933. He also wins the Lady Byng Trophy so often (seven times in a span of eight years) that Lady Byng, the donor of the trophy, gives him the original trophy and donates a new one.


1929: The NHL makes a major change to the way the game is played by allowing forward passing in all three zones. Prior to the rule change, teams are not permitted to make forward passes in the attacking zone. The rule change provides a major boost to offense around the League.


1979: The Minnesota North Stars sign forward Dino Ciccarelli, who goes undrafted after fracturing his leg during his final season of junior hockey with the London Knights. Ciccarelli sets an NHL playoff record for rookies by scoring 14 goals in 19 games in 1981. He finishes his career with 608 regular-season goals and is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.

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