On June 9 in Rangers history: They never make it easy, do they?

What happened on June 9 in the history of the New York Rangers

On this date in 1994, the New York Rangers took to the ice at Madison Square Garden preparing to win their first Stanley Cup in 54 years.  The mood at the arena was euphoric as the Blueshirts were coming home with a 3-1 lead in a series that they had dominated.

After Vancouver Canucks goalie Kirk McLean had stolen game one in overtime, the Rangers had won three straight, outscoring the Canucks 12-4 in the process.  There was absolutely no doubt that 54 years of frustration were going to end.

But it didn’t.  The Canucks won 6-3, sending the game back to Vancouver for Game Six. As everyone said that night, the Rangers never make anything easy.

It was a wild game, scoreless until 8:10 of the second period when the Canucks took a 1-0 lead on a Jeff Brown goal.   That 1-0 lead held until the third period when both teams combined to score eight times.  It tied the NHL record for most goals scored in one period of a FInal, set by Montreal and Chicago in 1973.

Vancouver scored twice to take a 3-0 lead with just over 17 mnutes left in the game. The Rangers came charging back with three goals in under six minutes to tie the score, but just 29 seconds after the tying goal, the Canucks scored to take the lead that they would never relinquish.   They would score three goals in three and a half minutes to take a commanding 6-3 lead, led b y Pavel Bure who had two goals and one assist along with seven shots on goal.

The game was a mess for the Blueshirts.  Jeff Beukeboom was ejected in the first period for instigating a fight with Sergio Momesso.  That came seconds after Esa Tikkanen had scored only to have the goal waved off as offside, an iffy call.  The Blueshirts also couldn’t take advantage of a five minute power play in the second period when Geoff Courtnall was give a major for elbowing.

A commanding lead for the Kings

On June 9, 2014, the Rangers played a must-win game at Madison Square Garden and lost to the Kings 3-0, dropping them into an 0-3 hole in the Final and virtually assuring the Kings of their second Stanley Cup in three years.

The Rangers outshot the Kings 32-15, but couldn’t get a puck past Jonathan Quick, who posted the first visiting shutout in the Final since Gerry Cheevers in 1972.  The Blueshirts failed on six power plays, making them 0-14 in the series.

This was the only game in the Final that was not decided by one goal with three games  being decided in overtime.

Firsts in the draft

The beginning of June marks the time for the NHL Amateur and Entry Drafts and there were several firsts on June 9.

In 1982, the Rangers drafted their first Russian player, 29 year old forward Sergei Kapustin. He starred for years with Spartak in Moscow and for the Russian National Team and is in the Russian Hockey Hall of Fame.  The Rangers drafted him, thinking he might defect to the United States, but that didn’t happen and no Russian players were allowed to come to the NHL until 1989.

The first Russian to play in New York was Sergei Nemchinov who made his debut in 1991.

In 1984, they drafted their first Danish player, 18 year old forward, Heinz Ehlers.  Ehlers never came to the USA and ended up playing 20 years in Europe, mostly in the Swedish Hockey League.  The only Dane to play for the Rangers was Nicklas Jensen who played seven games in New York in 2016-17.

Today’s birthdays

20 NHL players have been born on June 9, but not a single New York Ranger can call this date his birthday.

The numbers

Playoff games: 2
Wins: 0
Losses: 2
Winning percentage:  0%