THIS DATE IN NHL HISTORY: May 1
1965: Jean Beliveau becomes the first winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Beliveau wins the brand-new trophy after scoring the first of the Montreal Canadiens’ four first-period goals in a 4-0 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Final at the Forum.
Beliveau sets a record for the fastest Cup-winning goal when he beats Glenn Hall 14 seconds after the opening faceoff. He assists on a goal by Dick Duff less than five minutes later, and Yvan Cournoyer and Henri Richard score late in the period. Beliveau finishes the playoffs with 16 points (eight goals, eight assists). Gump Worsley makes 20 saves to become the second goaltender to have a shutout in Game 7 of the Final. The Canadiens win their first championship since 1960.
1980: The New York Islanders set a playoff record by winning their seventh consecutive road game when Bob Nystrom scores at 1:20 of double overtime for a 2-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Memorial Auditorium in Game 2 of the Semifinals. Billy Smith makes 41 saves before Nystrom scores the third of his four career overtime goals to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.
1992: For the first time in their history, the New York Rangers win a Game 7. Adam Graves scores two goals and sets up two others in an 8-4 victory against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden in their Patrick Division Semifinal series. The Rangers also get two goals and an assist from Mark Messier and 33 saves by John Vanbiesbrouck. It’s the first time the Rangers play a Game 7 at home after going 0-4 as the road team.
1993: Nikolai Borschevsky scores at 2:35 of overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the Norris Division Semifinals at Joe Louis Arena. The Maple Leafs trail 2-1 and 3-2, but force overtime when Doug Gilmour scores with 2:43 remaining in the third period. Borschevsky then beats Tim Cheveldae to become the second player in NHL history to score his first playoff goal in overtime of a Game 7.
1995: The Montreal Canadiens are assured of a non-playoff season for the first time in 25 years when they lose 2-0 to the Sabres at Memorial Auditorium. Goaltender Dominik Hasek makes 32 saves and Richard Smehlik and Alex Mogilny score goals to eliminate Montreal from the playoff race. It’s the first time since 1970 that Montreal will not take part in the postseason.
2008: Johan Franzen scores three goals in Detroit’s 8-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center, giving him an NHL-record nine goals in a four-game series. Franzen also breaks the Red Wings record for goals in a series of any length, set by Gordie Howe in 1949 (eight goals in seven games). He matches Colorado’s total goals in the Western Conference Quarterfinal series and becomes the first player with two hat tricks in a series since Jari Kurri of the Edmonton Oilers in 1985.
2009: The Detroit Red Wings make history in a 3-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks at Joe Louis Arena in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. It’s the 18th consecutive time the Red Wings have started a series at home, a playoff record. Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom has two assists before scoring the winning goal with 49.1 seconds remaining in the third period. Detroit becomes the first NHL team to win consecutive games in one playoff year by scoring tiebreaking, game-winning goals in the last minute of the third period.