What happened on April 29 in the history of the New York Rangers
Today marks the anniversary of one of the most thrilling games in New York Rangers history. In a game that the Blueshirt faithful will never forget, Pete Stemkowski scored in triple overtime of Game Six of the Stanley Cup Semifinals.
It happened on April 29, 1971 in a game that started at 7:30pm and finished two minutes to midnight, after four hours and 23 minutes of hard fought hockey. The goal came on a rebound of a shot by Ted Irvine just 1:29 into the third overtime. Tony Esposito made the stop, but the rebound came right to Stemkowski
It was thrilling spring for Ranger fans as the team had won their Quarter-FInal series against Toronto on an overtime goal by Bob Nevin. It was the team’s first win in a Stanley Cup series since the lost the Stanley Cup Final in 1950, a 21 year drought.
Chicago and New York exchanged wins for the first five games of this series and the two teams went into Madison Square Garden with the Rangers trailing three games to two. Chicago jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Dennis Hull and Chico Maki, but the Rangers clawed back to tie on a second period goal by Rod Gilbert and a third period tally by Jean Ratelle. That set it up for Peter Stemkowski to be the hero.
The Rangers’ happiness was short lived as the dropped Game Seven 4-2 in Chicago three days later.
Bobby Hull, New York Ranger
On April 29 in 1959, the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins began a 26 day tour of Europe, playing 23 games in an effort to expand interest in hockey. The played games in 10 cities in six different countries.
So, how did Bobby Hull get involved? It turned out that Andy Bathgate was unavailable to go on the trip and the organizers recruited Hull, to fill in for Bathgate. Hull wasn’t a star yet, only 20 years old and a veteran of two NHL seasons peaking at 18 goals.
Hull credits the European tour as what turned him into the offensive force that he became as he was able to take advantage of the big European rinks. The next season he won the first of his three Art Ross scoring trophies.
Unfortunately for the Blueshirts, Bobby Hull in a Ranger uniform was shortlived and he returned to Chicago. In a side note, Hull did attempt a comeback in 1981 with the Rangers, playing five preseason games before deciding to hang it up.
Oh no, J.G. Pageau
J.G. Pageau has a reputation as a Ranger killer and it comes mostly from a playoff game on this date in 2017 when he scored four goals to spur the Ottawa Senators to a 6-5 win over the Rangers.
Pageau scored in the first period, but did the most damage in the third period when he scored twice in the last 3:19 to pull the Senators even. He then notched his fourth goal in the second overtime period for the win.
The win gave Ottawa a 2-0 series lead and though the Rangers knotted it a 2-2, the Senators won games five and six to take the series. Pageau scored two more goals in the series for a team leading total of six goals.
31 NHL players have been born on April 29 with six former Rangers, one who was one of the team’s best undrafted free agent signings and one prospect who hopes to skate at the Garden someday.
Hunter Skinner was born on this date in 2001 in Pinckney, Michigan. Drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Skinner signed his Entry Level Contract and is now toiling on the blueline for the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Dan Girardi was born on this date in 1984 in Welland, Ontario. He was signed by the Rangers in 2006 as an undrafted free agent and went on to play 11 years in New York as the greatest shot blocking defenseman in franchise history.
Bruce Driver was a defenseman who played his entire 15 year NHL career with the Devils and the Rangers. A Stanley Cup champion with the Devils in 1995, he signed with the Rangers after winning the Cup and finished his career as a Blueshirt, playing three years in New York.
Brandon Dubinsky was born on this date in 1986 in Anchorage, Alaska. A center, he was a fan favorite who played six seasons with the Rangers before being traded to Columbus in the Rick Nash deal in 2012. He has been with the Blue Jackets ever since, though hampered by injuries.
Benn Ferriero was born on this date in 1987 in Essex, Massachusetts. The right winger came to the Rangers via Pittsburgh and played four games for the Blueshirts in 2013. He was then traded to Vancouver.
John McIntyre was a center who was born on April 29, 1969 in Ravenswood, Ontario. McIntyre played 351 games for four different teams, including 11 games with the Rangers in 1992.
Mel Pearson was a left winger born on this date in 1938 in Flin Flon, Manitoba. He played parts of four seasons with the Rangers spending most of those years in the AHL. He scored two goals in 36 games and eventually ended up playing in the WHA.
April 29 is a forgettable day in team history. Only two wins in seven playoffs games (though one was a great one) and a loss in the only regular season game played on this date. That was a 4-0 shutout to the Islanders last season.
Playoffs games: 7
Overtime wins: 2
Overtime losses: 1
Winning percentage: 28%
Regular season games: 1
Regulation wins: 0
Regulation losses: 1
Points percentage: .000