Greg Boysen The Hockey Writers
Today in Hockey History, May 27
There have been a lot of National Hockey League memories throughout the years on May 27. A storybook championship run continued, back-to-back champions were crowned with multiple records being broken along the way.
Matteau Becomes A Folk Hero
Stephane Matteau began the 1993-94 season with the Chicago Blackhawks and ended it becoming a playoff legend for the New York Rangers. Matteau was acquired by the Rangers just before the NHL trade deadline, along with Brian Noonan, in exchange for Tony Amonte.
After scoring four goals and seven points in his 12 regular-season games, Matteau proved his worth during the magical 1994 postseason on Broadway. After already scoring in double-overtime of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final to beat the New Jersey Devils, he struck again in the second overtime of the deciding Game 7.
The Devils did their best to spoil the party when Valeri Zelepukin tied the game at 1-1 with just 7.7 seconds left in regulation. Just over four minutes into the second overtime, Matteau scores the final goal of the epic series leading to his Hall of Fame-worthy call by Rangers radio play-by-play man Howie Rose.
The win sent the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1979, where they had another memorable seven-game series against the Vancouver Canucks.
Not All Bad News for Devils
While the sting of losing the 1994 Eastern Conference Final to the rival Rangers can still be felt by Devils fans, May 27 has given them a reason to smile. In fact, the Devils officially became a thing on this date.
On May 27, 1982, the Colorado Rockies franchise was sold to Dr. John McMullen, who moved the team to New Jersey, where they became known as the Devils. They made their New Jersey debut on October 5, 1982, with a 3-3 tie versus the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Brendan Byrne Arena.
Martin Brodeur led the Devils to a 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks, on May 27, 2003, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. The team in front of him made things easy as the Ducks only had 16 shots on goal. Brodeur became just the second goaltender in NHL history to post a shutout in all four rounds of the playoffs. This was his first of three shutouts versus the Ducks in the series.
Flying High in ‘95
May 27, 1995 was a busy day for records and firsts in Stanley Cup playoff history. Paul Coffey became the highest-scoring defenseman in postseason history during the Detroit Red Wings 6-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks, in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Coffey’s goal and assist puts him ahead of New York Islanders’ Hall of Famer Denis Potvin, with 166 career playoff points.
The win completed a four-game sweep of the Sharks and helped Scotty Bowman break a record of his own. This was the 46th playoff series win of his career, breaking a tie with the legendary Toe Blake for the most all-time by any NHL head coach.
Later that evening, the Red Wings learned who they would play in the Western Conference Final when the Chicago Blackhawks swept the Canucks with a 4-3 overtime win, in Game 4 of their semifinal series. Chris Chelios became the first defenseman in playoff history to get two straight overtime game-winning goals when he scored at 5:35 of overtime to end the series.
More Playoff Firsts & Records
On May 27, 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightning evened up the Stanley Cup Final with 4-1 Game 2 win over the Calgary Flames. Brad Richards scored his sixth game-winning goal of the postseason, tying the record for the most in a single playoff that was shared by Joe Sakic and Joe Nieuwendyk. He also had an assist in the victory.
Two years later, the Edmonton Oilers became the first eight-seeded team to reach the Stanley Cup final. The historic win game with a 2-1 victory over the Ducks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. Raffi Torres scored the game-winning goal as the Oilers moved on to take on the Carolina Hurricanes.
The championship run of the Boston Bruins continued on May 27, 2011, when they punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final. Nathan Horton had the only goal in a 1-0 win over the Lightning, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. Horton became the first player in league history to score the game-winning goal in two Game 7s in the same playoff year. He scored an overtime goal in Game 7 of their first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens.
On May 27, 2014, the Canadiens kept their season alive with a 7-4 victory against the Rangers, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final. Rene Bourque struck twice to become the first player in Montreal to score a hat trick when the team was facing elimination in 69 years. The last player to do so was Maurice Richard in 1945.
Odds & Ends
The Kings was picked as the name of the new Los Angeles franchise in the NHL, on May 27, 1996, scheduled to begin play in October 1967.
Goaltender Eddie Johnston was traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the St. Louis Blues, on May 27, 1974, in exchange for Gary Sabourin. Nine years later, Johnston was named the general manager of the Penguins. He is now a coach in the 3ICE 3-on-3 professional league, started by his son E.J., which is debuting in June 2019.
On May 27, 1975, the Philadelphia Flyers won their second straight championship by beating the Buffalo Sabres 2-0, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Bob Kelly scored the game-winning goal as Bernie Parent picks up the sixth and final playoff shutout of his career. He also wins the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable player of the postseason, becoming the first player to ever do so in back-to-back seasons.
The Canucks traded goaltender goalie Murray Bannerman to the Blackhawks, on May 27, 1978, to complete a from November 11, 1977 that sent Jim Pappin to Vancouver. Bannerman went on to win 107 games in six seasons with the Blackhawks.
A Wendel Clark scored a hat trick was not enough, on May 27, 1993, as the Maple Leafs lost 5-4 in overtime, at the Kings, in Game 6 of the Campbell Conference Final. After being left off the scoresheet in regulation, Wayne Gretzky forces a Game 7 by scoring a power-play goal just 1:41 into overtime.
Marc Crawford resigned as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche, on May 27, 1988, after four seasons with the franchise, including a Stanley Cup win in 1996. He is eventually replaced by Bob Hartley who leads the Avalanche to the 2001 Stanley Cup.
Happy Birthday to You
There are 23 current and former NHL players who were born on May 27. The most notable players among the lot are Ed Van Impe (80), Ray Sheppard (54), Richard Park (44), Marcus Kruger (30), Nic Dowd (30), Chris Wagner (29) and Ashton Sautner (26).
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