THIS DATE IN NHL HISTORY: April 4
1921: The Ottawa Senators become the first NHL team to win the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons when they defeat the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association 2-1 in the decisive fifth game of the Final. Jack Darragh scores twice for the Senators.
1944: Maurice Richard makes his debut in the Stanley Cup Final and has an assist on the game-winning goal in the Montreal Canadiens’ 5-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1. He finishes with five goals and seven points in Montreal’s four-game sweep.
1971: The final night of the 1970-71 season is a memorable one for two NHL legends.
Jean Beliveau plays the 1,125th and final regular-season game of his career, all with Montreal, in a 7-2 road loss to the Boston Bruins. Beliveau retires after helping the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup.
Gordie Howe appears in his 1,687th regular-season game, all with the Detroit Red Wings, in the New York Rangers’ 6-0 victory at Madison Square Garden. Howe also retires and is elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972. However, he comes back to play six seasons in the World Hockey Association before returning to the NHL in 1979-80, when he plays 80 regular-season and three playoff games for the Hartford Whalers, then retires for good.
1973: The Chicago Blackhawks become the first team in NHL history to have two players score three goals in the same playoff game. Pit Martin and Dick Redmond each get hat tricks in a 7-1 win against the St. Louis Blues at Chicago Stadium. Stan Mikita has five assists.
1979: Montreal’s Ken Dryden becomes the first goaltender to win 30 or more games in each of his first seven NHL seasons. Dryden gets his 30th and final win of the 1978-79 season in the Canadiens’ 4-1 victory against the Red Wings at the Forum. He retires a few weeks later after helping the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup for the fourth consecutive year.
1987: Denis Potvin of the New York Islanders scores two goals in a 6-6 tie against the Buffalo Sabres at Nassau Coliseum to become the first defenseman (and 21st player) in NHL history to score 1,000 career points. The milestone comes when he scores the game-tying goal with 17 seconds left in the third period. Potvin retires after the 1987-88 season with 1,052 points, the most by a defenseman at the time.
1990: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Larry Robinson takes the ice in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for an 18th consecutive season, an NHL record. The visiting Kings defeat the Calgary Flames 5-3 in the opener of their Smythe Division Semifinal series. Robinson, a member of six Stanley Cup-winning teams during his 17 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, adds two more years to his streak. He finishes his career in 1992 having never missed the playoffs during his 20 seasons in the NHL. Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom equals Robinson’s record run in 2012, his final NHL season.
2003: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Marc Denis sets a single-season record for minutes played in a 5-5 tie against the visiting Red Wings. Denis finishes the game with 4,451 minutes, surpassing the mark of 4,443 set by Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils in 1995-96. He finishes the season having played 4,510:55 but Brodeur regains the record in 2003-04 and establishes the current record of 4,696:33 in 2006-07.
2004: Brad Fast makes the only NHL game of his career one to remember.
Not only does the 24-year-old Carolina Hurricanes defenseman score a goal, he gets what proves to be the last game-tying goal in NHL history. Fast scores at 17:34 of the third period to give the Hurricanes a 6-6 tie with the Florida Panthers at Office Depot Center.
Fast, recalled from Lowell of the American Hockey League for Carolina’s season finale, takes a pass from Rod Brind’Amour and shoots it past Florida goaltender Roberto Luongo to get the Hurricanes even after they’ve blown a 4-0 lead.
With the adoption of the shootout after the 2004-05 season is cancelled by a lockout, Fast’s goal stands as the last tying goal in NHL history.