Wednesday, March 27, 2013
The 1993-94 NHL season concluded with a record number of shutouts, as the various goaltenders combined for 99 regular season shutouts, led by Patrick Roy, Dominik Hasek and Ed Belfour with 7 apiece.
Hasek and the Sabres finished sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 43-32-9 record for 95 points and drew the New Jersey Devils, who finished with the second best record in the conference at 106 points, but were seeded third behind the division winning New York Rangers (112 points) and Pittsburgh Penguins (101).
The Sabres were led by Dale Hawerchuk's 33 goals and 86 points, followed by Russian Alexander Mogilny's 32 goals and 79 points. No other Sabre reached 60 points that season. Hasek played in 58 games during his second season in Buffalo, up from 28 the year before, as he split time with Stanley Cup champion Grant Fuhr in the Sabres net. Hasek's 30 wins were good for 6th place in the NHL that season.
The Devils were led in scoring by defenseman Scott Stevens 78 points from 18 goals and 60 assists. The forwards were led by Stephane Richer's 72 points from 36 goals and 36 assists. John MacLean led the club in goals with 37 on his way to 70 points.
That season's Calder Trophy winner Martin Brodeur led the Devils goaltenders with 47 games played and 27 wins, dividing his time with Chris Terreri, who won 20 of his 44 games played.
Brodeur with the Calder Trophy
The Sabres won the opening game of their playoff series on April 17, 1994 when Hasek blanked the Devils 2-0 in New Jersey. Hasek made 30 saves in the contest to make Todd Simon's power play goal late in the first period stand up until Mogilny sealed the game with an empty net goal with nine seconds remaining.
Two nights later the Devils evened the series by winning 2-1 when Stevens scored at 13:39 of the third period to restore the New Jersey lead after Mogilny had tied the game for Buffalo at the 38 second mark of the third period. Brodeur finished with 23 saves to Hasek's 30 to get the first playoff win of his career.
The series then shifted to Buffalo on April 21st where the Devils repeated their 2-1 victory of Game 2. Richer opened the scoring at 19:01 of the first period and Tommy Albelin scored the vital second Devils goal at 15;43 of the second. Brodeur allowed a power play goal to Mogilny on the power play at 4:08 of the third period to make it a tense final 16 minutes, which included killing off a penalty at 11:54, but the Devils held on behind Brodeur's 29 saves compared to Hasek's 24.
Game 4 on the 23rd saw the two teams combine for as many goals as they had scored in the previous three games combined. The Devils opened the scoring at 9:11 of the first period on the power play, but Buffalo took the lead with two goals within 34 seconds later in the period. The teams traded goals within the first four minutes of the second period to make the score 3-2 for Buffalo, but MacLean tied the game after two periods with a power play goal at 18:36.
Just 30 seconds into the third period Wayne Presley gave the Sabres a lead they would not lose and Rob Ray took some pressure off with his goal for Buffalo at 11:35. The game finished at 5-3 in favor of the Sabres with Hasek making 20 stops to 25 for Brodeur.
Tied at 2 games apiece, the series moved back to New Jersey on April 25th. After Buffalo took a 3-1 lead at the 4:52 mark of the second period, the Devils scored four straight goals over the final 32 minutes to win going away 5-3. Brodeur was credited with 17 saves, while Hasek recorded 30 in the loss.
With the Sabres season now on the brink, they returned home to The Aud on this date in 1994 with no margin for error. The first period passed by scoreless despite three powerplays for Buffalo and two for New Jersey. At the conclusion of the first period, the Sabres held an 11-9 edge in shots on goal.
The second period saw five penalties, two against Buffalo and three for the Devils, including Ken Daneyko's second and third of the game. Despite the number of penalties, neither goalie gave an inch, with Brodeur stopping 10 shots and Hasek 14.
The third period was a close fought battle, with 9 shots for Buffalo to New Jersey's 8. A late penalty on Bobby Carpenter of New Jersey provided the only power play of the period. When Buffalo failed to convert, regulation ended scoreless with a 31-30 edge in shots for the Devils.
The Devils held the edge in play in the first overtime, winning the battle in shots on goal 10-6 with each team getting one power play. Still, the game continued on to a second overtime period as Hasek and Broduer continued to match saves.
A late Buffalo penalty in the first overtime carried over into the second overtime, but still New Jersey could not solve Hasek despite outshooting them 11-8. The remainder of the second overtime passed with no additional penalties as the scoreless game marched on to a third overtime.
Despite no power plays, the Devils took it to the Sabres in the third overtime by putting 14 shots on Hasek to only 5 for the Sabres. Brodeur had to endure one power play for Buffalo, which came at the 12:10 mark. The Sabres man advantage passed without a goal, as did the remainder of the period in this now epic battle.
The first minutes of the fourth overtime saw Hasek turn away 4 Devils shots before center Dave Hannan scored when he pounced on a loose puck and launched a backhander past Brodeur at 5:41 to give Buffalo a 1-0 win after 125:43 of scoreless play to force a Game 7 in New Jersey. It was only the seventh goal Hannan had scored all season, as he had totaled just 6 goals in 83 regular season games.
The final four saves Hasek made in the fourth overtime gave him an even 70 for the game, which set an all-time NHL record for Most Saves by a Goaltender in a Shutout, which still stands today. At the time, it was the 6th longest game in NHL history and still ranks in the top ten.
New Jersey would return home to host Game 7, which they would win 2-1 as Hasek saved 44 of the 46 Devils shots, while the Sabres only managed 18 shots for the entire game, less than the Devils had in the third period alone. Buffalo scored first at 6:00 of the first period on a power play, but it would be their final goal of the series. New Jersey evened the score at 9:53, also on the power play. Claude Lemieux's fourth goal of the series at 13:49 proved to be the difference in this epic battle between two of the finest goaltenders of their generation.
Today's featured jersey is a 1993-94 Buffalo Sabres Dominik Hasek jersey as worn during his record setting 70 save shutout of the New Jersey Devils during Game 6 of their first round playoff matchup on this date in 1994.
Today's video selection is a review of the Sabres and Devils playoff series of 1994, with commentary by Don Cherry and annoying music by some evil musician with a synthesizer and way, way too much caffeine.
This second clip features excitable Sabres announcer Rick Jeanneret's call of Hannan's goal to win Game 6, which included his famous reference to vanished union leader Jimmy Hoffa.
For those of you with three hours to spare, here is a link to the full game on You Tube.