THIS DATE IN HISTORY: May 15
1926: The NHL adds a second team in New York when a franchise is granted to Madison Square Garden president Tex Rickard. The team soon becomes known throughout the city as “Tex’s Rangers,” and the name “Rangers” sticks. The new franchise joins the one year after the New York Americans make their NHL debut in the 1925-26 season. In addition, the NHL said Chicago and Detroit will have teams for the 1926-27 season provided their home rinks are finished. The Rangers, Chicago and Detroit are placed with Boston and Pittsburgh in the American Division. The Americans, who like the Rangers play their home games at the Garden, join Ottawa, Toronto, the Montreal Canadiens and Montreal Maroons in the Canadian Division.
1967: In a trade that shaped the League for years to come, the Bruins acquire centers Phil Esposito and Fred Stanfield, and forward Ken Hodge, from the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Gilles Marotte, center Pit Martin and goaltender Jack Norris. The trade turns out to be a bonanza for the Bruins. Esposito, a three-time 20-goal scorer in Chicago, becomes one of the most feared scorers in NHL history. Hodge, who finds a home as Esposito’s right wing, scores 289 goals in nine seasons with the Bruins. Stanfield, who can’t get playing time in Chicago, scores 20 or more goals in each of his six seasons in Boston. All three players are part of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1970 and 1972. The only player acquired who goes on to any success in Chicago is Martin, who scores 20 or more goals seven times with the Blackhawks.
1979: A pregame accident turns into a lucky break for goalie Ken Dryden and the Canadiens. Coach Scotty Bowman decides to start backup Michel Larocque in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Rangers after pulling Dryden during a 4-1 loss in Game 1. However, Larocque is felled by a Doug Risebrough shot during warmups, forcing Bowman to play Dryden. The Rangers score twice in the first seven minutes, but Dryden is perfect after that and the Canadiens dominate the rest of the way for a 6-2 win.
1980: Paul Holmgren becomes the first U.S.-born player to score three goals in a Stanley Cup Final game. Holmgren’s hat trick helps the Philadelphia Flyers defeat the New York Islanders 8-3 at the Spectrum in Game 2. Bobby Clarke scored one goal and has three assists. The Flyers even the best-of-7 series 1-1.
1990: Petr Klima scores at 15:13 of the third overtime to give the Edmonton Oilers a series-opening 3-2 victory against the Boston Bruins at Boston Garden to win what is still the longest game in the history of the Stanley Cup Final.
The Oilers score twice in the first period and take a 2-0 lead into the third, but Boston’s Ray Bourque scores early in the period and after a power outage delays the game for 26 minutes, scores the tying goal with 1:29 left.
Neither team can score again until Klima, who’s been benched for long stretches earlier in the game, beats Andy Moog for the victory. The Oilers go on to win the series in five games.
1994: Stephane Richer scores his fourth career Stanley Cup Playoff overtime goal at 15:23 of the second overtime to give the New Jersey Devils a 4-3 win against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. Claude Lemieux gives Richer the chance to be the hero by scoring the tying goal with 43 seconds remaining in the third period. The Devils win the opener of the best-of-7 series after losing all six of their regular-season games against the Rangers.
1995: The visiting Vancouver Canucks set a Stanley Cup Playoff record for the fastest two shorthanded goals by one team, scoring twice in 17 seconds during a 6-5 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Christian Ruuttu scores an unassisted goal at 4:31 and Geoff Courtnall beats Curtis Joseph at 4:48. The Canucks break the record of 24 seconds set by Montreal in 1978. Cliff Ronning scores the game-winner 1:48 into overtime.