THIS DATE IN HISTORY: April 21
1951: Defenseman Bill Barilko scores the Stanley Cup-winning goal at 2:53 of overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 3-2 victory against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of the Final at Maple Leaf Gardens. The goal caps the only Stanley Cup series where every game ends in overtime and gives Toronto its ninth Stanley Cup championship, at the time the most of any NHL team.
Barilko, a rugged 24-year-old defensive defenseman whose lifelong dream has been to play for the Maple Leafs, shoots as he races across the Montreal blue line; he falls to the ice after releasing the shot, which goes past Canadiens goaltender Gerry McNeil and makes Barilko an unlikely hero.
Unfortunately, Barilko doesn’t get to enjoy the Cup victory or his hero status for very long. During the offseason, Barilko goes on a fishing trip and the light plane he’s in crashes in northern Ontario; the wreckage isn’t found until 1962.
1988: Wayne Gretzky scores a shorthanded goal at 7:54 of overtime to give the Edmonton Oilers a 5-4 win at the Calgary Flames in Game 2 of the Smythe Division Final. With Mark Messier in the penalty box, Gretzky beats Mike Vernon for the third shorthanded OT goal in Stanley Cup Playoff history; it comes 10 days after Brent Sutter of the New York Islanders scores the second one against the New Jersey Devils.
1996: The first home playoff game in Tampa Bay Lightning history draws an NHL-record crowd of 25,945 to the Thunderdome in St. Petersburg, Florida. The big crowd gets to celebrate when Alexander Selivanov scores at 2:13 of overtime to give the Lightning a 5-4 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Tampa Bay becomes the first team in NHL history to earn each of its first two playoff victories in overtime.
1999: Steve Yzerman sets a Detroit Red Wings record for playoff hat tricks when he scores three goals in a 5-3 win against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Yzerman scores once in each period, completing his fourth playoff hat trick with 1:18 remaining in the third. Yzerman had been tied for the Red Wings record with Norm Ullman.
2000: Peter Forsberg scores the winning goal to give the Colorado Avalanche a series-clinching 2-1 victory against the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals at Pepsi Center. Forsberg breaks a 1-1 tie when he beats Sean Burke at 5:43 of the third period. It’s the 10th straight playoff series loss for the Coyotes franchise since 1987, when it was known as the Winnipeg Jets.
2008: Carey Price makes 25 saves and the Canadiens defeat the Boston Bruins 5-0 in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. Andrei Kostitsyn has two goals and Sergei Kostitsyn wraps up the scoring with 7.3 seconds remaining. It’s the first time brothers each score a goal in a Game 7.
2014: Darcy Kuemper of the Minnesota Wild makes his first playoff start one for the record books. Kuemper finishes with 22 saves in a 1-0 overtime win against the Avalanche in Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round Series at Xcel Energy Center. A highlight-reel goal by Mikael Granlund makes Kuemper the first goaltender in 78 years to earn a 1-0 win in overtime in his first playoff start. The only other goaltender to do it is Normie Smith of the Red Wings, who defeats the Montreal Maroons 1-0 on March 24, 1936 in the longest game in Stanley Cup history.