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Today in Hockey History: May 25 – Hockey Writers – Hockey History

May 25th is one of the most memorable days in the history of the National Hockey League. Not only did the bold prediction come true, but three Stanley Cup champions were crowned. The THW time machine is warmed up and ready to take us back in time to relive all the best moments from this historic date.

Mark Messier Backs Up His Claim

“We’re going to win tonight.” That was a famous quote from New York Rangers captain Mark Messier before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New Jersey Devils. On May 25, 1994, he bravely backed up his prediction and led his team to a 4-2 road victory to force a seventh and final game.

The Devils took a 2-0 lead into the second period before Messier put the Rangers on their back. He assisted on Alex Kovalev’s goal and cut in before the end of the middle frame. In the third period, Messier scored three goals, including a late empty netter to seal the deal.

The Rangers won Game 7 to advance to the Stanley Cup finals, where they took on the Vancouver Canucks, who won the Western Conference the night before. Messier and the Rangers had one memorable seven-game streak on deck before reaching the promised land.

Flame On

The Calgary Flames won their first ever Stanley Cup on May 25, 1989, beating the Montreal Canadiens 4-2, in Game 6 of the Final. In his final NHL game, captain Lanny McDonald put the Flames up 2-1 early in the second half. Doug Gilmour added two goals in the third period to close out the championship game.

Head coach Terry Crisp became the 12th man to win the Stanley Cup as a player and coach. Flames defenseman Al MacInnis won the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable player in the postseason. He scored seven goals and 31 points in 22 postseason games. This was only the third time the Canadiens allowed another team to raise the Stanley Cup in their building.

The Flames returned to the championship series 15 years later. On May 25, 2004, they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Jarome Iginla’s stoppage time goal in the second half was the game winner. Defenseman Andrew Ference added a goal and an assist in the win.

Champions Are Crowned

The Canadiens won their third straight championship on May 25, 1978, beating the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Defenseman Brad Park opened the scoring to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead, but it was all Canadiens from then on. Mario Tremblay scored twice with Steve Shutt, and Rejean Houle also added goals. Montreal blueliner Larry Robinson took home the Conn Smythe Trophy for scoring four goals and 21 points during the game.

Robinson won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1978. (THW Archives)

The Pittsburgh Penguins won their first championship in franchise history on May 25, 1991, with an 8-0 thrashing of the Minnesota North Stars in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Goaltender Tom Barrasso made 39 saves to earn his first shutout. Mario Lemieux had a goal and three assists and took home the Conn Smythe Trophy for finishing the playoffs with 16 goals and 44 points in 23 games.

Additional Biography of Patrick Roy

On May 25, 1996, Patrick Roy won his 81st playoff game, passing Ken Dryden for second all-time. The milestone came from the Colorado Avalanche’s 4-2 victory over the visiting Detroit Red Wings in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. At the time, Roy trailed only Billy Smith of the New York Islanders, who had 88 playoff wins. He currently holds the record with 151 wins, 38 more than anyone else.

Six years later, on May 25, 2002, Roy broke the NHL record for most playoff games played by one player. In his 237th postseason game, he led the Avalanche to another victory over the Red Wings, this time 3-2, in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. During that time, he surpassed Messier in most playoff games played. He retired with 247 playoff games, the most of any NHL goaltender. Overall, he is third all-time, only behind Nicklas Lidstrom (263) and Chris Chelios (266).

Odds & Ends

Wayne Gretzky made his magic on May 25, 1985. He scored a first-period hat trick in the Edmonton Oilers’ 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. Defenseman Paul Coffey had assists on all three of Gretzky’s goals and one on Mike Krushelnyski’s game-winning tally in the second half. Goaltender Grant Fuhr made 27 saves to give the Oilers a 2-1 series lead.

Wayne Gretzky #99 of the Edmonton Oilers
Gretzky had a big night on this day in 1985. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

On May 25, 1993, Glenn Anderson scored a goal at 19:20 of overtime to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win over the visiting Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Campbell Finals. Veteran defenseman Bob Rouse had three assists in the win.

Colorado-based COMSAT Entertainment agreed in principle to purchase the Quebec Nordiques on May 25, 1995, and move the team to Denver. The Nordiques will make an official announcement on July 1, 1995.

The Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabers 3-2 in overtime on May 25, 1998, in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Todd Krygier scored in overtime after the Sabers’ Matthew Barnaby tied the game with 57 seconds left in regulation. Bill Clinton was in the building to become the first sitting US President to ever attend an NHL game.

Curtis Joseph recorded the 15th playoff shutout of his career on May 25. 2002, as the Maple Leafs avoided elimination with a 1-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Darcy Tucker’s power play tally late in the first half was the only goal of the game.

The Anaheim Ducks avoided a major collapse on May 25, 2015, in their 5-4 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The Ducks built a 3-0 lead and were up 4-2 with less than two minutes to play. The captain of the Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews, scored two goals, the goalkeeper pulled one of the attackers to force overtime. Matt Beleskey gave the Ducks a 3-2 lead 45 seconds into overtime. This was their last win of the season as the Blackhawks won the next two contests to clinch the conference championship.

A year later, the San Jose Sharks advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history with a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final. Longtime teammates Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are both headed to the championship series for the first time in their careers. Their combined total of 2,478 games played was the most of any teammate making the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in NHL history.

Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks
Thornton finally reached the Stanley Cup Finals on May 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

Chris Kunitz was the hero for the Penguins on May 25, 2017, in their 3-2 overtime victory over the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. After not scoring a single goal in the playoffs thus far, Kunitz scored the Penguins’ first goal of the game and the game-winner in the second overtime to send Pittsburgh to the Stanley Cup Final for the second consecutive season.

Joe Thornton (41 years, 327 days) became the oldest player to score a point in a Maple Leafs game on this day in 2021 when he deflected off Jason Spezza to make it 3-0 to put his team up 3 -1 for the first time. -round series against the Canadiens. Before that, Ron Francis and Allan Stanley held the record for 41 years, 62 days. Jack Campbell also recorded a shutout in that game to become the fourth goaltender in franchise history to do so against the Canadiens and the first since Johnny Bower in Game 2 of the 1967 Stanley Cup Final.

On May 25, 2023, Joe Pavelski scored a goal in overtime to help the Stars avoid elimination in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. It was his 73rd playoff goal to pass Alex Ovechkin for most among active players. And, at 38 years, 318 days, he became the oldest player to score an overtime goal in a playoff game.

happy Birthday to you

There is a group of 26 current and former NHL players born on this day. This list includes Nick Fotiu (72), Robert Picard (67), Ric Nattress (62), David Shaw (60), Kyle Brodziak (40), Matt Murray (30), Joel Kellman (30), Matt Benning (30) , David Pastrnak (28), Janne Kuokkanen (25), and Mikey Anderson (25).

*Originally created by Greg Boysen

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