What happened on April 23 in the history of the New York Rangers
On this date in 1950, the New York Rangers lost Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Final, a devastating 4-3 loss in double overtime. Pete Babando of the Detroit Red Wings scored the deciding goal 8:31 into the second overtime period, giving the Cup to the favored Red Wings.
Detroit had finished first and the Rangers fourth in the regular season and the Wings were overwhelming favorites going into the series. That was compounded by the fact that the last four games of the series were played in Detroit because the circus had taken over Madison Square Garden.
For the second straight game, the Blueshirts jumped out to a two goal lead, but as they had in Game Six, they blew the lead. The Rangers took the lead on a goal by Buddy O’Connor in the second period, but it was tied once again and the teams played a scoreless third period.
This was the Rangers sixth trip to the Final which they had won three times before. They wouldn’t make another trip to the Stanley Cup Final until 1972.
Gretzky’s playoff hat trick
Wayne Gretzky might have been past his prime when he joined the Rangers in 1996 at 36 years old and he might have scored only 25 goals that season, but he did lead the league in assists with 72.
His brilliance resurfaced in the playoffs as he helped the Blueshirts to the Conference Finals, scoring 10 goals and 20 points in 15 games. On this date he scored the ninth Stanley Cup Playoffs hat trick of his career, scoring all three goals in a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden.
It was Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals, giving the Blueshirts a 3-1 lead in the series. They would win the next game for the chance to face the New Jersey Devils in the Semi-Finals.
Gretzky would have one more hat trick that spring in his final trip to the playoffs.
28 NHL players have been born on April 23, but only two have played for the New York Rangers.
Ryan Hollweg was born on this date in 1983 in Downey, California. He was a center, drafted in the eighth round of the 2001 NHL Draft. He was a tough player who played three full seasons in New York,leading the team in penalty minutes in 2006-07.
That season, he played on a checking line with Blair Betts and Colton Orr and it was with that line that he became most famous. After hitting the Islanders Chris Simon into the boards, Simon retaliated by hitting Hollweg in the jaw with his stick. Simon was suspended for 25 games as a result, one of the longest suspensions in NHL history. Hollweg was later traded to Toronto and he ended his career playing three games in Phoenix.
Derek Armstrong was born on this date in 1973 in Toronto, Ontario. Drafted by the Islanders, he played parts of several seasons for the Isles and Senators before being signed as a free agent by the Rangers in 1998. He couldn’t crack the lineup, spending most of four seasons in Hartford. He played seven games in three seasons in New York before finishing his career in Europe.
The Rangers have played only three regular season games on April 23 and they have lost twice. They have won five of 12 playoff games on this date.
Playoffs games: 12
Overtime wins: 1
Overtime losses: 1
Winning percentage: 42%
Regular season games: 3
Regulation wins: 1
Regulation losses: 2
Points percentage: .333