On April 4 in NYR history: A Vezina Trophy for Eddie & Gilles

What happened on April 4 in the history of the New York Rangers

On this date in 1971, the New York Rangers shut out the Detroit Red Wings 6-0 in the last game of the season.  Ed Giacomin was in net and with the shutout, he won the Vezina Trophy for the Rangers as he and Gilles Villemure shared the award given to the team that allowed the fewest goals in the regular season.

The Blueshirts allowed only 177 goals for  a 2.27 Goals Against Average (GAA).   The Chicago Black Hawks were second with a 2.36 GAA, allowing 184 goals.  The Rangers had allowed four fewer goals than Chicago going into the final game of the season and Giacomin’s shutout gave them the title, resoundingly.

It was the second and last Vezina Trophy won by the Rangers under the old rules that gave the award to the team that allowed the fewest goals.  Dave Kerr had won the award in 1940.

Beginning in 1981, the Vezina was awarded to the best goalie as voted by NHL general managers.   The William Jennings Trophy replaced the Vezina as the award for fewest goals.

Under the new format, Henrik Lundqvist and John Vanbiesbrouck have won the Vezina while the Rangers have never won the Jennings Trophy, making the 1970-71 team the last Rangers squad to allow the fewest goals in a season.

On another note, this game was recognized as Gordie Howe’s 1,687th and final NHL game.  No one knew that he would come back with the Houston Aeros of the WHA three years later when presented an opportunity to play with his sons Mark and Marty.

8 shots in one period

On this date in 2008, Brendan Shanahan had eight shots on goal in the second period of a 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders. He tied Jaromir Jagr’s franchise record for shots in one period, a statistic the NHL began tracking in 1997-98.   Jagr had accomplished the feat in January 2008.

First playoff loss

On this date in 1927, the Rangers lost the first playoff game in their history.  It was a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden and gave the Bruins the victory in their Semi-Finals series.  The Bruins lost in the Final to the Ottawa Senators.

In their inaugural season in the NHL the Rangers made the playoffs and tied their first game with Boston before losing the second game on April 4.

The last tie

This is not a New York Rangers milestone, but one that belongs to the NHL.  In 2004 on April 4, the last tie game was played in the NHL, a 6-6 tie between Carolina and Florida.  Beginning in 2005-06, after the lockout, the NHL adopted the skills competition known as the shootout.
The Rangers have played 6,541 games since 1926-27 with 808 ending in ties. Their last tie was a 2-2 tie in Montreal on January 17, 2004.

Today’s birthdays

28 NHL players have been born on April 4 with two Rangers sharing that birthday, both netminders. 
Kevin Weekes was born on this date in 1975 in Toronto, Ontario.  He played 11 years in the NHL, including two seasons with the Rangers.  He is best known as the last starting goalie for the Ranges before Henrik Lundqvist and for the fact that he is one of the few players who has played for the Rangers, Islanders and Devils.
Signed as a free agent, Weekes began the 2005-06 season as the number one goalie, starting three of the first four games.  When the Swedish rookie got his chance to start, Lundqvist allowed only 10 goals in his next seven games and won the starting job for good. 
Magnus Hellberg was a Swedish goalie born on this date in 1991 in Uppsala, Sweden.  He was traded to the Rangers from Nashville in 2015 and spent two years in the Blueshirts system, playig in three games in the NHL.  He won his only start as the two other appearances were in relief.   He then signed to play in the KHL and is notable as Igor Shesterkin’s goaltending partner with SKA in the KHL for two seasons.

The numbers

The Rangers have a good regular season, but haven’t seen much success in the playoffs on April 4.

Games: 22
Regulation wins: 10
Regulation losses: 9
Ties: 1
Shootout wins: 1
Shootout losses: 1
Points percentage: .545
Playoffs games: 8
Wins: 3
Losses: 3
Overtime losses: 2
Winning percentage: 38%