THIS DATE IN HISTORY: April 23
1950: In the first Game 7 of the Final to be decided in overtime, Pete Babando scores at 8:31 of the second overtime to give the Detroit Red Wings a 4-3 victory against the New York Rangers at Olympia Stadium.
Detroit’s Jim McFadden ties the game with 4:03 remaining in the third period, and each team has plenty of chances before Babando beats Rangers goaltender Chuck Rayner for the Cup-winning goal.
“I was playing with Gerry Couture and George Gee, who took the faceoff,” Babando told to the Hockey News years later. “Usually George had me stand behind him. But this time, he moved me to the right and told me he was going to pull it that way. I had to take one stride and get it on my backhand. I let the shot go, and it went in.”
No other Game 7 in the history of the Final has reached a second overtime.
1964: Defenseman Bobby Baun scores one of the most famous goals in Stanley Cup Playoff history when he beats Detroit goaltender Terry Sawchuk 1:43 into overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 victory in Game 6 of the Final at the Olympia. Legend has it that Baun scored the goal with a broken ankle, though he says in 2011 that it was actually a broken leg. Baun is injured blocking a shot by Gordie Howe midway through the third period and starts overtime in the dressing room getting treatment. A few seconds into his first shift of OT, he gets a pass from Bob Pulford and takes what he later calls a “triple-flutter blast with the follow-up” from just inside the blue line that hits the stick of Detroit defenseman Bill Gadsby and floats past Sawchuk for the win.
1985: Michel Goulet scores three goals and Dale Hunter gets the winner at 18:36 of overtime to give the Quebec Nordiques a 7-6 win against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 of the Adams Division Final at the Colisee. Goulet scores once in each period, then gets the primary assist on Hunter’s game-winner.
1992: Scotty Bowman becomes the NHL’s all-time leader in playoff coaching victories when the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Washington Capitals 6-4 in Game 3 of the Patrick Division Semifinals at the Civic Arena. It’s Bowman’s 115th postseason victory, moving him past Al Arbour. Mario Lemieux powers the Penguins with three goals and three assists. He also ties a playoff single-period record with four points, scoring twice and setting up goals by Joe Mullen and Jaromir Jagr in the second.
1997: Wayne Gretzky sets an NHL record with his ninth playoff hat trick when he scores three goals in a span of 6:23 during the second period, powering the New York Rangers to a 3-2 victory against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Gretzky ties the game 1-1 by scoring a power-play goal at 3:07 and puts the Rangers ahead 2-1 when he beats John Vanbiesbrouck with a slap shot at 6:46, finishing off a 2-on-1 break. His third goal, which proves to be the game-winner, comes when he takes a low slap shot that goes through a screen and past Vanbiesbrouck at 9:30.
On the same night, Lemieux scores on a breakaway against the Philadelphia Flyers in his last home game before beginning cancer treatment. The Penguins win Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals 4-1 at the Civic Arena but lose the series in five games.
2002: Brent Johnson of the St. Louis Blues becomes the first goaltender in NHL history to earn a shutout in each of his first three career playoff victories. Johnson makes 27 saves in a 1-0 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Pavol Demitra scores the game’s only goal at 18:43 of the second period.
2012: The Phoenix Coyotes clinch their first playoff series victory since moving to Arizona in 1996 by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 at United Center in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Mike Smith makes 39 saves to give the franchise its first series win since 1987, when the then Winnipeg Jets defeat the Calgary Flames in the Smythe Division Semifinals. Game 6 is the only one in the series not decided in overtime.