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This Date in Playoff History: April 17

by Adam Schwartz
1958: Canadiens right wing Maurice "Rocket" Richard, who still holds the franchise record with 82 playoff goals, scored the game-winning goal for the Canadiens at 5:45 of overtime to give Montreal a 3-2 win against the Bruins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final in Montreal giving the Canadiens a 3-2 series lead. The Canadiens went back to Boston three nights later to clinch the series and their third of five consecutive Cups with a 5-3 win.

1969: The Blues beat the Kings 3-2 in their second-round series for their sixth-consecutive win in the playoff season. St. Louis would win eight consecutive games before running into the East Division champion Canadiens and being swept in four games in the Stanley Cup Final. The Western Division, which was comprised of six teams that were in just their second season at the time, was won by St. Louis for the first three seasons, but they couldn't muster one win in any game of the three Stanley Cup Finals.

1977: Flyers forward Reggie Leach scored with just 50 seconds left in the first overtime period in Game 4 of their first-round series against the Maple Leafs. After losing the first two games of the series in Philadelphia, things were looking bleak for the Flyers, but they were able to win the next two games in overtime and the two after that giving them a six-game series victory. The Flyers fate was sealed in the next round, however, when they lost the first two games in overtime to the Bruins, who proceeded to sweep the Flyers in four games.

1983: The Oilers beat the Flames, 10-2, in Game 3 of their second-round series against the Flames and score 10 goals in a playoff game for the first time in franchise history. The win gave Edmonton a 3-0 series lead and even though the Flames won the next game, 6-5, Edmonton won the series in five games. After beating Calgary, the Oilers swept Chicago in four games, but were then swept in the first Stanley Cup Final in playoff history in a series Wayne Gretzky would point to as a major learning experience for his young Edmonton team. The next season Edmonton would win the first of five Cups in a seven season span.

1996: The Panthers win their first playoff game in franchise history defeating the Bruins 6-3 in Florida. Florida got two goals from James Sheppard and the game-winning goal from Jason Woolley, which was just his second career playoff goal at the time. Florida, which was the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, made a memorable Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1996 defeating the Bruins in five games and both the Flyers and Penguins in seven games, before being swept by the Avalanche in the Final.

1997: Devils goalie Martin Brodeur accomplished a rare feat by scoring an empty-net goal against in New Jersey's 5-2 win against the Canadiens in Game 1 of New Jersey's five-game victory against the Canadiens. The win was also Brodeur's 25th career playoff victory and the first against the team he grew up idolizing as a kid growing up in Quebec. After advancing to the second round New Jersey, which had won the first Cup in franchise history just two years earlier, was eliminated for the second time in four seasons by the Rangers in five games. 

2000: The Senators play and win their first home playoff game against their interprovincial rival Maple Leafs in Game 3 of their first-round series. With the win Ottawa cut Toronto's series lead to 2-1 and would tie the series the next game in Ottawa, but Toronto wouldn't lose again winning the series in six games. Toronto, whose leading point-scorer in the playoffs was a 36-year-old Steve Thomas, went on to take the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Devils to six games in the next round. 

2002: Canucks center Henrik Sedin, who is generally known as the playmaker between him and his twin-brother Daniel, scored the game-winning goal against Dominik Hasek 13:59 into overtime of Game 1 of their first-round series against the Red Wings. The goal was Henrik's first of his playoff career. After winning that game, the Canucks proceeded to win Game 2 in Detroit to put the heavily favored Red Wings on the ropes, but that was the last game Vancouver would win that playoff season as Detroit rebounded winning the series in six games and went on to win their third Cup in six seasons.

2004: The Avalanche beat the Stars 5-1 in Game 5 of their first-round series with the Stars eliminating Dallas. Colorado featured a high-powered offense of Joe Sakic, Milan Hejduk, Alex Tanguay and a healthy Peter Forsberg, but was unable to get past the Sharks in the second round. Two years later the Avalanche beat the Stars in five games again, but again, didn't get any further than the second round, this time being swept by the Ducks.

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