On April 17 in NYR history: The one playoff penalty shot goal

NEW YORK - CIRCA 1978: Anders Hedberg #15 of the New York Rangers looks on during an NHL Hockey game circa 1978 at Madison Square Garden in the Manhattan borough of New York City. Hedberg's playing career went from 1967-85. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - CIRCA 1978: Anders Hedberg #15 of the New York Rangers looks on during an NHL Hockey game circa 1978 at Madison Square Garden in the Manhattan borough of New York City. Hedberg's playing career went from 1967-85. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

What happened on April 17 in the history of the New York Rangers

Penalty shots in the playoffs are a rarity.  Penalty shots by a New York Ranger in a playoff game are even rarer. There have been 83 penalty shots in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and only two by the Rangers.

On this date in 1981, Anders Hedberg scored the only playoff penalty shot goal in franchise history in a 6-4 win over the St. Louis Blues. In 1937 Alex Shibicky had the first penalty shot awarded in Stanley Cup Final history, but failed to score.

The Rangers were tied with the Blues in the third period when Hedberg was awarded the penalty shot by referee Dave Newell after Hedberg was tripped on a breakaway by defenseman Jack Brownschidle.   Hedberg beat Mike Liut between the legs on the shot, giving the Rangers a 4-3 lead.  It was the only penalty shot of Hedberg’s career.

While the Rangers have taken only two penalty shots in playoff history, they have had to defend against six with the most famous the Mike Richter save on Pavel Bure in the 1994 Stanley Cup Final.

An ugly playoff record

On this date in 1983, the New York Islanders tied an NHL record against the Rangers when they scored three shorthanded goals in one game.  The Boston Bruins has set the record two years earlier in a game against the Minnesota North Stars.

The good news is the Rangers actually won the game 7-6, the third game of the Patrick Division Finals.  It was a wild one with the Rangers almost blowing a 7-2 lead.  Denis Potvin scored on a power play with the goalie pulled and 43 seconds left in the game to make the score 7-6.  Mike Bossy of the Islanders then actually tied the score, putting the puck past Ed Mio,  but referee Bruce Hood had lost sight of the puck before it went into the net and had blown the whistle. It’s a ridiculous rule,but it benefited the Rangers in this game.

The Rangers and Islanders actually tied an NHL record as Eddie Johnstone also scored a shorthanded goal for the Rangers giving them the record  (four) for most goals by both teams in a playoff game. That record still stands.

The Rangers won the next Game Four to tie the series at two games apiece, but they lost  the last two as the Islanders eliminated the Rangers from the playoffs for the third straight year.

The Rangers have scored two shorthanded goals in a game eight times in their playoff history.

A shutout streak for Shesterkin

On this date last season, Igor Shesterkin establish a Rangers franchise record for the longest shutout streak against one team in a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils.  He had shut out the Devils for two straight games  and kept New Jersey off the scoresheet until Michael McLeod scored 12:37 into the second period.

It gave him a streak of 199:33, the longest in franchise history.  It was 86 seconds longer than the previous record of 198:07 established by Dave Kerr against the Montreal Canadiens in 1939-40.

A birthday hat trick

On this date in 2021, in the same game that Shesterkin established the shutout streak,  Pavel Buchnevich became the first Ranger to get a hat trick on his birthday.  He was the 14th NHL player to accomplish the feat.  He scored twice in the first period and got his third with 1:41 left in the game as the Rangers beat the Devils 6-3.

Today’s birthdays

24 NHL players have been born on April 17 including two former Rangers.

Pavel Buchnevich was born on this date in 1995 in Cherepovets, in the Russian Federation.  He played five seasons with the Blueshirts, after he was a third round selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.  He was traded to the St. Louis Blues in 2021 in a move to clear salary cap.

Dennis Hextall was born on this date in 1943 in n Poplar Point, Manitoba. Though he played only 13 games for the Rangers in the 1968-69 season, he did have a 12 year NHL career with six different teams.  He has Rangers hockey in his blood, being the son of Hall of Famer and lifelong Ranger great Bryan Hextall.  Dennis and his brother Bryan both had brief careers with the Rangers, unable to follow in the footsteps of their father.   Dennis Hextall is the uncle of current Penguins GM Ron Hextall.

The numbers

Last year was the first time the Rangers have played a regular season game on April 17 thanks to COVID-19 and they won so they are perfect. They have an excellent record on this date in playoff games, winning seven of 10.

Playoffs games: 10
Wins: 6
Losses: 3
Overtime wins: 1
Winning percentage: 70%

Regular season games: 1
Regulation wins: 1
Regulation losses: 0
Points percentage: 1.000

Notes on a holiday weekend. light. More