On April 12 in NYR history: Adam Graves gets goal #52

Adam Graves #9 of the New York Rangers . Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport
Adam Graves #9 of the New York Rangers . Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport /
What happened on April 12 in the history of the New York Rangers

On his date in 1994, Adam Graves scored his last goal of the 1993-94 season, finishing with a total of 52, the most in franchise history.  It came in the second to last game of the regular season, a 3-2 in over Buffalo.   Not only that, but Graves did it on his birthday. The goal ended a drought that lasted almost three weeks from the game in Edmonton on March 23 when Graves tied and passed Vic Hadfield‘s club record of 50 goals.  Believe it or not, Graves had not scored in eight straight games until he notched goals number 52.

Graves record stood for 12 years until Jaromir Jagr scored 54 goals in 2005-06, a franchise record that still stands.  Of the Original Six teams, the Rangers have had the fewest 50 goals seasons with three.

The Rangers also have had only three players who have scored 50 goals, the fewest in the NHL, though Chris Kreider is on the verge of making it four.  Toronto was tied with the Rangers with only three players who have scored 50 goals though Rick Vaive did it three times, but Auston Matthews has already hit the number, the fourth player in Toronto franchise history.

So, Toronto already has and the Rangers are about join the Blackhawks with four players who have scored  50 goals.

67 years between shutouts

On this date in 2017, Henrik Lundqvist shut out the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 67 years.  He made 31 saves in a 2-0 blanking of Montreal at the Bell Centre.

The last time it had happened was on April 6, 1950 when  Chuck Rayner shut out the Canadiens 3-0 at the Montreal Forum.

The Rangers had shut out the Canadiens in the playoffs, but it had been done at Madison Square Garden.  In 1986 John Vanbiesbrouck shut them out for the Rangers’ only win in the Wales  Conference Finals.  The most memorable win was Lundqvist’s 1-0 shutout in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2014.

However, blanking the Canadiens in Montreal is an accomplishment and today was the day in 2017.

Today’s birthdays

32 NHL players have been born on April 12 including four who played for the Rangers.  One has the distinction of making “This Day in Rangers History” on his birthday.

Adam Graves was born on this date in 1968 in Toronto, Ontario.   Drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 1986, he was traded to Edmonton where he formed the “kid line” with  Joe Murphy and Martin Gelinas.

In 1991 he was signed to an offer sheet by the Rangers, one of the best offer sheetin signings in NHL history.  An arbitrator awarded the Oilers forward Troy Mallette as compensation and Graves went on to become one of most beloved Rangers of all time.  He played 772 games for the Rangers, scoring 280 goals in 10 seasons.

Roman Hamrlik was born on this date in 1974 in  Zlin, Czechoslovakia. Well named for a defenseman, Hamrlik played 20 years in the NHL for seven years.  He was the first overall pick in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning. He actually ended his career as a Ranger, playing only 12 games after being claimed on waivers from Washington.   The 38 -year-old also played in two playoff games that spring and retired after the Rangers were eliminated.

Krzysztof Oliwa was born on this date in 1973 in Tychy, Poland.  A physical left winger, he was nicknamed “The Polish Hammer” and is the only Polish player to have won the Stanley Cup, winning with the Devils in 2000.   He was traded to the Rangers in 2002 by the Penguins and played nine scoreless games in New York before being flipped to Boston in another deal.  He is one of three players of Polish descent to play for the Rangers, the others being Joe Jerwa and Wojtek Wolski.

Tim Sweeney was born in 1967 in Boston, Massachusetts. A star at Boston College,  Sweeney was a left winger who signed with the Rangers as a free agent in 1997 and played one season in New York. He scored 11 goals and totaled 29 points in 56 games in the 1997-98 season.  He retired after spending the next season in the AHL.

The numbers

Only seven regular season games, but the Rangers have an excellent points percentage.  Even better is the Rangers’ record in the playoffs as they have played 11 playoff games on April 12 and have won them all!

Games: 7
Regulation wins: 4
Regulation losses: 2
Overtime losses: 1
Points percentage: .643

Playoffs games: 11
Wins: 10
Losses: 0
Overtime wins: 1
Winning percentage: 100%

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