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This Day in Hockey History – April 6

Today in hockey history, a player who was overlooked comes up big, a team wastes no time in making some managerial changes, Gordie Howe scores the final goal of his 28-season NHL career, an incompetent team, a team makes it into the playoffs for the first time, and competent team that set a record for being great.

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April 6, 1952 – Montreal’s Paul Masnick, after being recalled from Cincinnati, scored the overtime winner in his first game of the season – double overtime to be exact, in the Canadiens semi-finals series against the Bruins (a 3-2 win). Maybe they should have called him up sooner.

April 6, 1969 – Toronto fired its GM/head coach Punch Imlach was fired just *minutes* after the Leafs were swept by the Bruins. Imlach’s biggest mistake was probably signing and starting a 44-year-old goaltender, Johhny Bower, who incidently set a record by being the oldest goaltender to appear in a playoff game (44 years, four months, 28 days).

April 6, 1980 – Gordie Howe, playing in his first and only NHL season not with the Red Wings (he played a few WHA games with the Houston Aeros and the New England Whalers), scored the final goal of his illustrious career; his 801st came in a 5-3 Whalers won over, ironically, the Red Wings. His 801 was a record at the time, but has since been passed by Gretzky, who scored 894.

April 6, 1985 – In a 7-4 loss against the Capitals, the Pittsburgh Penguins became the first team in NHL history to lose 50 games for three straight seasons. In those three years, they had two #1 overall picks and one #2 pick, although they traded one of their first overall picks. Their #1 pick in the 1984 draft? Mario Lemieux, who Pittsburgh was able to draft because they admittedly tanked to get Mario with the threat of the franchise folding.

April 6, 1988 – The New Jersey Devils appeared in the team’s first playoff game and the franchise’s first since 1978 when they were the Colorado Rockies. They lost 4-3 in overtime to the Islanders, though.

April 6, 2003 – The Colorado Avalanche beat the Blues 2-1 to become the first team in NHL history to win nine-straight division championships, which included two Cups (’96 and ’01).


Source: Hockey Hall of Fame

Scott Finger
Scott is the former managing editor at Hooked on Hockey Magazine. He loves hockey, writing, and writing about hockey. He graduated from Roger Williams University in 2011 with a useless degree in Media Communications (concentrating in Journalism). Being a New York Rangers fan (and NY Giants and Mets fan) living in Boston is very uncomfortable for him, and it'll be awkward trying to celebrate a Rangers Cup win in the streets when they inevitably win sometime in the next 100 years. He also likes long walks on the beach.
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