THIS DATE IN HISTORY: April 15:
1952: The tradition of throwing an octopus onto the ice begins when the Detroit Red Wings become the first team to win the Stanley Cup without losing a playoff game by defeating the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 in Game 4 of the Final. Metro Prystai scores two goals and Terry Sawchuk earns his fifth career playoff shutout, helping the Red Wings finish 8-0 in the 1952 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Brothers Pete and Jerry Cusimano, store owners in Detroit's Eastern Market, make history when they toss an octopus onto the ice at Olympia Stadium. Each tentacle symbolizes one of the eight victories needed to win the Cup during the Original Six era. The tradition continues to this day, even though the number of victories needed to win the Cup has grown to 16.
1937: The Red Wings become the first U.S.-based team to win the Stanley Cup in back-to-back years when they defeat the New York Rangers 3-0 to win the fifth and deciding game of the Final. Goaltender Earl Robertson, called up from the minor leagues after Norm Smith was injured earlier in the playoffs, earns his second straight shutout after New York wins two of the first three games. Robertson has never played an NHL game before his call-up, and he never plays again for the Red Wings; he spends the next five seasons with the New York Americans.
1977: Rick MacLeish rallies the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-3 overtime victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 3 of the Quarterfinals at Maple Leaf Gardens. With the Flyers less than a minute from going down 3-0 in the best-of-7 series, MacLeish scores the tying goal at 19:22 of the third period, then gets the winner at 2:55 of overtime; he becomes the first NHL player to score a last-minute tying goal and an overtime goal in the same playoff game. After losing the first two games at home, the Flyers rally to win the series in six games.
1989: The Los Angeles Kings end the Edmonton Oilers' hopes for a three-peat with a 6-3 victory in Game 7 of the Smythe Division Semifinals at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Bernie Nicholls scores twice and has two assists as the Kings, and Wayne Gretzky caps the win against his former team by scoring his second goal of the game with 1:35 remaining in the third period. It's the third straight win for the Kings after they lose three of the first four games to the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs.
1991: Backup goaltender Frank Pietrangelo is flawless in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 4-0 victory against the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of the Patrick Division Semifinals. With starter Tom Barrasso injured, Pietrangelo wins Game 6 in New Jersey before earning the only playoff shutout of his career in the deciding game at the Civic Center. Jiri Hrdina scores twice, including the game-winner, to become the first player in NHL history whose first two postseason goals come in the seventh game of the same playoff series.
1993: Teemu Selanne of the Winnipeg Jets completes the greatest rookie season in NHL history by scoring his 76th goal and contributing an assist in a 3-0 victory against the Edmonton Oilers at Winnipeg Arena. Selanne's 76 goals and 132 points set NHL rookie records that still stand. He shares the 1992-93 League lead in goals with Alexander Mogilny of the Buffalo Sabres, who scores twice in a 7-4 loss to the Flyers.
2004: Brett Hull of the Red Wings scores the 24th playoff game-winning goal of his career, tying the record set by Wayne Gretzky, in a 4-1 win against the Nashville Predators at Joe Louis Arena in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Hull's goal at 6:22 of the first period is the next-to-last of the 103 he scores in the playoffs. He and Gretzky still share the playoff record for game-winners.
2012: The Flyers become the first team in NHL history to score eight goals in consecutive playoff games when they defeat the Penguins 8-4 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Wells Fargo Center. The win comes two nights after an 8-5 win at Consol Energy Center. Matt Read, Max Talbot and Daniel Briere each score two goals and Jaromir Jagr has three assists for the Flyers, who go on to win the series in six games.
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