THIS DATE IN HISTORY: June 4
1980: At age 52, Gordie Howe retires again, this time for good.
Howe’s first retirement, from the Detroit Red Wings after the 1970-71 season, lasts two years before he joins the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association, where he plays with sons Mark Howe and Marty Howe. All three Howes move to the New England Whalers in 1977, and Mr. Hockey returns to the NHL (with his sons) two years later when the franchise is one of four WHA teams that are admitted to the League.
Howe plays all 80 regular-season games for the now-Hartford Whalers in 1979-80, finishing with 41 points (15 goals, 26 assists). He scores a goal and has an assist in Hartford’s three-game loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the Preliminary Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Howe retires as the NHL’s all-time leader in games played (1,767), goals (801), assists (1,049), and points (1,850). Wayne Gretzky breaks Howe’s three scoring records, but his games-played mark still stands.
1996: Patrick Roy passes Billy Smith to become the NHL’s all-time leader in playoff games by a goalie when he appears in No. 133 and helps the Colorado Avalanche defeat the Florida Panthers 3-1 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at McNichols Arena. Roy makes 25 saves, allowing only a first-period goal to Tom Fitzgerald, and the Avalanche score three times in a span of 3:49 in the second period.
1998: The Washington Capitals advance to the Cup Final for the first time since entering the League in 1974 when Joe Juneau scores at 6:24 of overtime for a 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final at Marine Midland Arena. Sabres goaltender Dominik Hasek stops a stuff attempt by Brian Bellows, but Juneau controls the loose puck and sends it under Hasek’s glove. The Capitals tie the game 2-2 on Peter Bondra’s power-play goal with 5:59 remaining in the third period.
1999: Mike Keane scores twice in 4:05 span of the second period to help the Dallas Stars to a 4-1 victory against the Avalanche in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final at Reunion Arena. Ed Belfour makes 18 saves, allowing a third-period goal to Colorado’s Joe Sakic after Dallas builds a 4-0 lead. The win puts the Stars into the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1991, when the franchise was the Minnesota North Stars.
2008: Nicklas Lidstrom becomes the first European-born captain to hoist the Stanley Cup when the Detroit Red Wings defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in Game 6 of the Final at Mellon Arena to win the Cup for the fourth time since 1997. Henrik Zetterberg scores what proves to be the Cup-winning goal and wins the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. At age 46, Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios becomes the oldest player ever to win the Cup.
2011: Alexandre Burrows scores 11 seconds into overtime to give the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 victory against the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of the Final at Rogers Arena and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. Burrows matches the second-fastest overtime goal in Stanley Cup Playoff history, equaling J.P. Parise of the New York Islanders in 1975. Forward Mark Recchi’s second-period power-play goal gives Boston a 2-1 lead and puts the 43-year-old into the record book as the oldest player to score a goal in the Final.
2014: Justin Williams scores 4:36 into overtime to give the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 win against the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Final at Staples Center. Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi puts the puck on the stick of Kings center Mike Richards, who finds Williams alone in the slot for a shot that beat goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to the stick side. It’s the eighth goal of the 2014 playoffs for Williams; they’ve all come in Kings victories.
2016: The San Jose Sharks win a Stanley Cup Final game for the first time in their 25-year history when rookie Joonas Donskoi scores at 12:18 of overtime for a 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 at SAP Center. Donskoi becomes the sixth rookie to score an overtime goal in the Final when he circles the net and beats goaltender Matt Murray over the shoulder to the short side. San Jose goaltender Martin Jones gives Donskoi the chance to be the overtime hero by making 40 saves.