Series Winner - April 27th, 1990
John Druce was just a young hockey player that no one had really heard of in 1990. He spent part of the regular season in the AHL with the Baltimore Skipjacks. He was then brought up to the big leagues, playing in 45 games, tallying eight goals and three assists. He was primarily a role player, he wasn’t expected to score all that much.
But that role entirely changed for Druce in the 1990 playoffs. Druce went on an absolute tear for the Capitals, scoring three goals in the first series versus the New Jersey Devils, and added nine more in the second against the New York Rangers. But none of them were as important as his game winner in Game five overtime.
John Tucker fed the puck from the corner to Geoff Courtnall. Courtnall carried the puck along the boards and pushed it back to Tucker, who fired it to center at the streaking Druce, who tipped it in over John Vanbiesbrouck. It was as simple as that, and it gave the Capitals their first Patrick Division Title.
And John Druce went on to have a mediocre career. He had a few good years in Washington, but bounced around Winnipeg, Los Angles and Philadelphia where he was less than stellar. He never had a postseason even remotely close to his 1990 campaign, where he had 14 goals in 15 games. In fact, in his next 37 career postseason games, he only recorded three goals.
And that’s what makes hockey so special. A man who was never heavily relied on was able to lead his team when everyone least expected it. And while Druce didn’t leave many great memories around the NHL, he did have one big one in DC.