On April 2 in NYR history: Finally, Hadfield gets the 1st 50-goal season

Canadian ice hockey player Vic Hadfield of the New York Rangers on the ice during a game, 1960s or early 1970s. (Photo by Melchior DiGiacomo/Getty Images)
Canadian ice hockey player Vic Hadfield of the New York Rangers on the ice during a game, 1960s or early 1970s. (Photo by Melchior DiGiacomo/Getty Images) /

What happened on April 2 in the history of the New York Rangers

On this date in 1972  Vic Hadfield became the first Ranger to reach the 50 goal mark.   He had to score twice in the final game of the season in order to do it. He also did with a heavily bandaged dislocated thumb. He had torn ligaments in his thumb in the previous game.

The Rangers lost the game 6-5  to the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden, but they rebounded from a 4-1 deficit to pull within one goal.  Hadfield scored the second Ranger goal and added the final goal of the Rangers’ regular season with five minutes left in the third period.

The game was a preview of the first round of the playoffs. The two teams would meet in the first round of the playoffs with the Rangers winning in six games.

How rare was a 50 goal season?  Before Hadfield did it, only five players had done it eight times in NHL history.   That season both Phil Esposito and Bobby Hull scored 50 goals along with Hadfield.  It would be 22 years before Adam Graves would become the second Ranger get to those heights.

First playoff game ever

On this date in 1927, the Rangers played the first playoff game in franchise history, in their inaugural season.   The game ended as a 0-0 tie with Rangers goalie Lorne Chabot becoming the first rookie to get a shutout in his playoff debut.

The game was played in Boston with the Bruins winning the next game at Madison Square Garden, 3-1.   The Bruins would go on to lose the Finals to the Ottawa Senators.

Mel “Sudden Death” Hill gets his nickname

On this date in 1939, Mel Hill of the Boston Bruins scored his third sudden death overtime goal in seven games as the Bruins won Game Seven in triple overtime.   Hill was immediately given the moniker “Sudden Death” as he had won the first and second games of the series with overtime goals.

The Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup that season, defeating the Maple Leafs in the Finals in five games.   The triple overtime 2-1 win was the sixth longest game in NHL history.

Today’s birthdays

19 NHL players have been born on April 2 with only one a former Rangers.

Aggie Kukulowicz was a center born on this date in 1933 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.   He played four NHL games for the Rangers over two seasons from 1952-54.  Kukulowicz scored one goal in those four games.  He had a long career in the minor leagues after his brief stint in the NHL.

The numbers

This is one of the worst days for the Rangers when it comes to regular season record with only six wins in 22 games.  Their playoff record on April 2 is even worse.

Games: 22
Regulation wins: 6
Regulation losses: 14
Ties: 1
Overtime losses: 1
Points percentage: .318

Playoffs games: 7
Wins: 2
Losses: 2
Ties: 1
Overtime wins: 1
Overtime losses: 1
Winning percentage: 28%

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