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This Date in Playoff History: May 18

by Adam Schwartz /
1971: The Canadiens, who had missed the playoffs the previous season, defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Final after trailing the series 3-2. This postseason marked the emergence of Hall-of-Fame goalie Ken Dryden.

1986: Canadiens center Brian Skrudland scored just nine seconds into overtime giving Montreal a 3-2 win in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Flames. With the win, the Habs tied the series at one game apiece. This was Skrudland's rookie season with the Canadiens. Despite his heroics, another Canadiens rookie stole the spotlight as Patrick Roy led the Canadiens to their 22nd Cup in franchise history when they beat the Flames in five games.

1993: Canadiens center Stephane Lebeau scored the game-winning goal at 6:21 of the second overtime period giving Montreal a 4-3 win in Game 2 and a 2-0 series lead in their conference final against the Islanders. The goal was one of just nin goals that Lebeau would score in his playoff career, three of which he would score that season. Montreal would proceed to defeat the Islanders in five games and went on to become the last Canadian team to date to win the Cup by beating the Kings, led by Wayne Gretzky, in five games.

1997: Rangers center Wayne Gretzky scored his second of two playoff hat tricks with the Rangers when he beat Garth Snow three times in a 5-4 win over the Flyers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final, tying the series at 1-1. That game, however, marked the last playoff game that Gretzky would win. The Flyers won the next three games and eliminated the Rangers in five games. Gretzky played two more seasons with the Rangers before retiring, but after 1997 the Rangers didn't make the playoffs for a franchise-record seven seasons.

2000: Flyers right wing Rick Tocchet scored the game-winning goal against Devils goalie Martin Brodeur as Philadelphia beat New Jersey 4-2 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. Philadelphia would win again in Game 4 taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. But New Jersey came back and won the series in seven games after Devils' coach Larry Robinson gave his team a verbal lashing after Game 4, winning two of the final three games in Philadelphia.

Former Avalanche center Stephane Yelle scored the game-winning goal at 4:23 of overtime giving Colorado a 4-3 win and a 3-1 series lead against the Blues in the Western Conference Final. Yelle, widely renowned as a defensive forward and not a goal scorer, had just four goals in 50 games during the regular season and this was his only goal in that playoff season. The Avalanche would beat the Blues in five games and went on to win their second Cup in franchise history when they beat the Devils in seven games after trailing the series 3-2.
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