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This Day in Hockey History – May 4

Today in hockey history, the league does some work to pave way for the Original Six Era of the NHL, a Stanley Cup is won, a playoff record for defenseman is set by the guy you’re probably thinking of, a playoff blowout, two records (one all-time and one team) are set by one team’s victory, great news for one city as they officially acquire an NHL team, and one of the most grueling games in league history.

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May 4, 1926 – The NHL Board of Governors purchased the contracts of all players in the Western Hockey League for a mere $258,000 as a part of the merger. Most of the former players from the Portland Rosebuds (yes, that was their name) were sold to the expansion Chicago Black Hawks and the players from the Victoria Cougars were sold to another expansion team, the Detroit Red Wings.

May 4, 1969 – The Canadiens beat the Blues 2-1 in Game 4 of the Finals to complete the sweep and win the Cup. Serge Savard won the Conn Smythe to become the first defenseman to win the award in its five-year existence.

May 4, 1972 – Bobby Orr scored a goal to set a new record for career goals by a defenseman with 17. And it only took Orr 47 games to break the record set by Red Kelly, with the mark coming in a 5-2 Bruins loss against the Rangers. The Bruins would win the Cup that year and Orr would become the second defenseman with the Conn Smythe.

May 4, 1985 – The Oilers blew out the Black Hawks 11-2 in Game 1 of the conference finals. Gretzky had a goal and three assists.

May 4, 1997 – In a 2-0 Rangers shutout over the Devils in Game 2 of the conference semis, two records were set: Mark Messier broke Larry Robinson’s record for playoff appearances with his 228th game, and Mike Richter became the Rangers all-time leader in playoff shutouts with eight, passing Dave Kerr. Messier would eventually be passed by Chris Chelios (266) and a goalie – Patrick Roy (247).

May 4, 1998 – The Nashville Predators officially became the NHL’s 27th franchise when their final terms and conditions were completed by the league, and they started play the following season. The first head coach named was Barry Trotz. The current head coach is Barry Trotz, 15 years later.

May 4, 2000 – The Flyers and Penguins battled to the third-longest playoff game in NHL history. It took five overtimes and a total of 152 minutes and one second for their Game 4 of the conference semis to be decided…that’s more than two and a half regulation games. The winners? The Flyers, with Captain Keith Primeau as the goal-scoring hero. It was just the third goal of the game, as Philly won 2-1. The Flyers had 72 shots and the Penguins 58 (Pittsburgh’s Alexi Kovalev led both teams with 10 and had their only goal). Jaromir Jagr (a forward) led Pittsburgh with time on ice with 59:08 and Dan McGillis led Philadelphia with 61:05 – that’s more than an entire game! The game was the longest in 64 years. I couldn’t imagine battling for that long and coming up with nothing, especially since the Flyers would win in six.


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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