Today in Hockey History: June 20

June 20 has only ever seen two games played, but one of them provided a memorable goal for the underdogs and the other tied an NHL postseason record shared by only a few teams. There were also two NHL Entry Drafts on this date, with the same team picking first in both of them. So let’s begin our daily trip back in time to relive all the best moments this date has given us through the years.

Devils Steal Another One

One of the two games played on this date in NHL history saw the Detroit Red Wings host the New Jersey Devils for Game 2 of the 1995 Stanley Cup Final. The Devils proved that their Game 1 upset of the favored Red Wings was no fluke by taking a 2-0 series lead with a 4-2 win.

After a scoreless opening frame, Vyacheslav Kozlov put the Red Wings up 1-0 with a power-play goal in the second period. John MacLean answered just over two minutes later to even up the score heading into the third period.

Sergei Fedorov gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead early in the final stanza, with Kozlov picking up an assist on the play. Scott Niedermayer answered a few minutes later with one of the most memorable goals in franchise history. The defenseman showed off his wheels by going end-to-end and then following up his initial shot to slam home the rebound and tie the game.

Jim Dowd broke the tie with 1:24 left in regulation by getting to a rebound off a Shawn Chambers shot and firing it past Mike Vernon. Stephane Richer iced the game with an empty-net goal a minute later.

Niedermayer picked up assists on the MacLean and Richer goals to finish the night with three points. Martin Brodeur made 16 saves to extend the team’s record with their 10th road win of the postseason. They still share that record with the 2000 Devils, the 2004 Calgary Flames, 2012 Los Angeles Kings, 2018 Washington Capitals, and 2019 St. Louis Blues.

Lightning Strikes Twice

The Tampa Bay Lightning had the first pick of the NHL Entry Draft, on this date, on two separate occasions. On June 20, 1992, the 24 teams in the NHL gathered in Montreal for the Entry Draft, and the Lightning used the first overall pick to select defenseman Roman Hamrlik. He played in nearly six seasons for Tampa Bay before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers, on Dec. 30, 1997, with Paul Comrie for Bryan Marchment, Steve Kelly, and Jason Bonsignore.

Other notable picks from the 1992 NHL Entry Draft include Alexi Yashin (2nd, Ottawa Senators), Darius Kasparaitis (5th, New York Islanders), Sergei Gonchar (14th, Capitals), Valeri Bure (33rd, Montreal Canadiens), Darren McCarty (46th, Red Wings), Kirk Maltby (65th, Oilers), Matthew Barnaby (83rd, Buffalo Sabres), Jere Lehtinen (88th, Minnesota North Stars), Adrian Aucoin (117th, Vancouver Canucks), Ian Laperriere (158th, Blues) and Nikolai Khabibulin (204th, Winnipeg Jets).

The Lightning was first on the clock again, on June 20, 2008, at the Entry Draft in Ottawa. This time, they selected Steven Stamkos, who has scored 439 goals, the most in franchise history, and 866 points in 841 career games with them. He led the NHL in goals with 51 during the 2009-10 season and again in 2011-12 when he scored 61 times.

Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning
Stamkos officially became an NHLer on June 20, 2008. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The 2008 draft class also included Drew Doughty (2nd, Kings), Alex Pietrangelo (4th, Blues), Erik Karlsson (15th, Senators), Jake Gardiner (17th, Anaheim Ducks), John Carlson (27th, Capitals), Jacob Markstrom (31st, Florida Panthers), Jake Allen (34th, Blues), Roman Josi (38th, Nashville Predators), Derek Stepan (51st, New York Rangers), Travis Harmonic (53rd, Islanders), Adam Henrique (82nd, Devils), Braden Holtby (93rd, Capitals), T.J. Brodie (114th, Flames), Gustav Nyquist (121st, Red Wings), Cam Atkinson (157th, Columbus Blue Jackets) and Jason Demers (186th, San Jose Sharks).

Malkin Wins the Big Three

The stars of the NHL gathered in Las Vegas, on June 20, 2012, for the annual awards show. Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins was the biggest winner of the night. After scoring 50 goals and 109 points during the regular season, he won the Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in scoring. He also won the Hart Trophy for being voted as the most valuable player by the hockey writers, and the Ted Lindsay Award, for having the players vote him as the most outstanding player.

Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins
Malkin collected a lot of hardware on this date in 2012. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Other winners that evening included the Calder Trophy (top rookie) going to Gabriel Landeskog, Karlsson winning the Norris Trophy (best defenseman), the Vezina Trophy (best goaltender) going to Henrik Lundqvist (best goaltender), and Ken Hitchcock getting the Jack Adams Award (best coach).

Odds & Ends

On June 20, 1983, the Flames traded veteran defenseman Phil Russell and former first-overall pick (1975) Mel Bridgman to the Devils in exchange for forward Steve Tambellini and defenseman Joel Quenneville. The Devils got the better of the deal as Russell and Bridgman combined for 91 goals and 280 points in 517 games with the team.

Don Maloney was hired as the new head coach of the Jets on June 20, 1986, replacing John Ferguson. He got the Jets into the playoffs in each of his two full seasons behind the bench before being let go midway through the 1988-89 season.

Two years later, on June 20, 1988, the Blues named Brian Sutter as their new head coach. The move came immediately after the 31-year-old announced his retirement following a 12-season career in St. Louis.

He went 153-124-43 in four seasons with the Blues and won the Jack Adams Award in 1991. He eventually also spent time as the head coach of the Boston Bruins, Flames, and Chicago Blackhawks.

Just before the pre-expansion draft trade deadline on June 20, 1993, the Quebec Nordiques traded goaltender Ron Hextall to the Islanders in exchange for fellow netminder Mark Fitzpatrick. The teams also swapped first-round draft picks. The Nordiques selected Jocelyn Thibault with the 10th overall pick while the Islanders took Todd Bertuzzi at number 23.

On June 20, 2021, Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Brayden McNabb became the seventh blueliner to score a goal in the 2021 Playoffs, tying the record shared by the Oilers (1987), Flames (1988), Penguins (1991), Capitals (1994) and Bruins (2019). His goal was the overtime winner which tied the Western Conference Final series against the Canadiens at two apiece.

Happy Birthday to You

A group of 24 current and former NHL players were born on June 20. The most notable birthday boys include Gary Croteau (76), John Ogrondick (63), Joe Corvo (45), Greg Pateryn (32), Nick Cousins (29), Collin Delia (28), Drake Caggiula (28), Michael Dal Colle (26), Sam Bennett (26), William Lockwood (24), and Dante Fabbro (24).

*Originally constructed by Greg Boysen and updated by Matthew Zator

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