by Chris Huston
Sixteen teams began their quest for the coveted Stanley Cup on Wednesday and Thursday (April 16-17) as the puck officially dropped on the 2014 NHL playoffs.
There's nothing like the drama and intensity of playoff hockey. Here's a video retrospective of some of the more memorable moments in NHL playoff lore:
Bobby Baun's Heroics
Midway through the third period of game six of the 1964 Stanley Cup finals between Toronto and Detroit, Maple Leafs defenseman Bobby Baun broke a bone in his ankle after deflecting a shot by Gordie Howe. He was carried off the ice in tremendous pain but, in one of the most courageous and famous moments in hockey history, Baun returned to the lineup in overtime. He ended up scoring the winning goal to send the series to a decisive seventh game, which Toronto won.
Bobby Orr's Leap
Orr's overtime goal in 1970 against the St. Louis Blues gave the Boston Bruins their first Stanley Cup title since 1941. As dramatic as that moment was, people still tend to recall what happened after. His subsequent celebration -- a flying horizontal leap -- was captured by photographer Ray Lussier and went on to become perhaps the most iconic hockey image of all time.
The Fog Game
The unusual heat of upstate New York in May 1975 combined with a lack of an air conditioning system in the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium to create a soupy fog during portions of game three of that year's Stanley Cup finals between the Sabres and Flyers. The game saw stoppages of play while rink employees skated around the arena ice carrying bed sheets in an attempt to dissipate the fog. Players, officials, and the puck were invisible to many spectators. The fog began to form just minutes after a bat made its way into the arena. It flew above and around the players for the majority of the game until Sabres center Jim Lorentz killed it with his stick.
The Own Goal
Edmonton and Calgary were tied at 2-2 in game seven of the 1986 Smythe Division final when, with 14:46 remaining in the third period, Oilers rookie defenseman Steve Smith picked up the puck behind his own net and tried to clear it out of the zone. Instead, the puck ricocheted off goalie Grant Fuhr and into the Oilers net. Edmonton never recovered and went on to lose the series, sending the Flames to the Stanley Cup finals.
Super Mario's Eight Points
Game five of the 1989 NHL division finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers witnessed perhaps the greatest performance by an individual player in NHL history. The Penguins’ Mario Lemieux scored five goals and had three assists as his eight-point night capped a wild 10-7 win over the Flyers. Gretzky's High Stick
Toronto fans are still upset over the missed-call by referee Kerry Fraser in game six of the 1993 conference finals between the Maple Leafs and the Los Angeles Kings. They should be. Wayne Gretzky clearly high-sticked the Leafs Doug Gilmour in overtime, but eluded proper punishment at the hands of Fraser. The Great One should have been in the penalty box but instead scored the overtime winner moments later to push the series to its seventh game. The Kings won that one to advance to the Stanley Cup final against the Montreal Canadiens. Messier's Prediction Some consider Mark Messier's 1994 vow that the New York Rangers would win game six of the 1994 Eastern Conference final against the New Jersey Devils to be the benchmark for sports guarantees. "We're going to go in and win Game 6," he said. "We've done that all year, we've won all the games we've had to win.” The Rangers trailed in that game six, 2-1, and were about to be eliminated, but Messier back up his words with a third-period hat-trick to send the series to a seventh game at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers won that one and went on to win the Stanley Cup that year, too.Bourque Caps His Career With The Cup
Ray Bourque's 23-year career ended in storybook fashion as he led the Colorado Avalanche to the Stanley Cup in 2001. Bourque waited longer to win his first Cup than any other Cup-winning player in the 108-year history of the trophy, playing 1,612 regular season and 214 playoff games before finally taking home the prize. The image of him holding aloft the Cup is among the most cherished images in hockey history.
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