Feb. 28 is far from the busiest date in National Hockey League history, but it has given us some great memories, especially for fans in the Big Apple. Also, this date was important to one of the greatest European players to ever skate in the league. The THW time machine is warmed up and ready to take a look back at the best moments from this day.
Teemu Selanne’s Big Day
Selanne, known as the Finnish Flash, had two big moments on this date during his Hall of Fame career. On Feb. 28, 1993, he became the third rookie in NHL history to score 50 goals when he scored four times in the Winnipeg Jets’ 7-6 win over the Minnesota North Stars. He had a hat trick through the first two periods to give him 50 goals, then added a fourth for No. 51 in the final frame. He finished the 1992-93 season with a rookie-record of 76 goals that still stands to this day.
Four years later, on Feb. 28, 1997, now with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Selanne scored his 200th career goal during a 4-1 road win at the Washington Capitals. With this goal, he became the first player to score against 25 teams in one season. He retired in 2014 with 684 career goals, breaking Jari Kurri’s record of 601 for the most goals scored by a Finnish-born player.
Record-Setting Date for New York Rangers
On Feb. 28, 1929, the Rangers handed the Chicago Blackhawks their record eighth-straight shutout in a 0-0 tie. John Roach, who dueled with Charlie Gardiner, set a franchise record with his 13th shutout of the season.
The Rangers and Blackhawks got together again on Feb. 28, 1962, and Andy Bathgate scored his fourth career hat trick in a 6-1 win. His three goals made him the first player in team history – and 10th overall – to score 250 goals.
The Rangers tied a team record – set in 1980 – with five power-play goals on Feb. 28, 1983, during a 9-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mike Rogers led the scoring with two goals and two assists.
Mike Richter became the sixth goaltender in franchise history to record 100 victories on Feb. 28, 1994, as the Rangers beat the visiting Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. They were the first team to win 40 games during the 1993-94 season, which, of course, ended with their first Stanley Cup win since 1940.
Brian Leetch scored the 200th goal of his NHL career, on Feb. 28, 2001, in a 4-2 home win over the Florida Panthers. He was the first and still the only defenseman in team history to score 200 career goals. One year later, he became just the third player to ever play in 1,000 games for the Rangers, as they lost 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Leetch, Harry Howell and Rod Gilbert are still the only players to dress in 1,000 games in New York.
An Eventful Night in 1998
A very memorable evening, on Feb. 28, 1998, began at Madison Square Garden. Eric Lindros celebrated his 25th birthday by scoring the game-winning goal, in the Flyers’ 3-1 victory over the Rangers, to became the fifth-fastest player in NHL history to score 500 career points.
A former Ranger, Mark Messier, scored two goals to become just the fourth player in league history to score 1,600 career points. Pavel set an NHL record by scoring his third penalty-shot goal of the season as the Vancouver Canucks beat the visiting Ottawa Senators 6-4.
Finally, defenseman Steve Duchesne scored his 200th NHL goal as the St. Louis Blues earned a 5-2 road win at the Los Angeles Kings. He scored 227 goals and 752 points, in 1,113 games, during his 16-season NHL career. He broke into the league with the Kings then spent time with the Flyers, Quebec Nordiques, Blues and Senators. His final three seasons were spent with the Detroit Red Wings and he capped off his career by winning the Stanley Cup in 2002.
Odds & Ends
The United States won their first-ever Olympic gold medal, on Feb. 28, 1960, by beating Czechoslovakia 9-4 in Squaw Valley, CA. The Americans were trailing 4-3 after 40 minutes before exploding for six third-period goals. Roger Christian scored three times in the final frame, with his brother Bill assisting on two of his goals. Bill’s son, Dave Christian, was a big part of the United States’ next gold medal win, the famous “Miracle on Ice” in 1980.
Bobby Orr picked up two assists to reach 500 in his career, on Feb. 28, 1974, during the Boston Bruins’ 8-1 blowout of the Red Wings. 36-year-old rookie goaltender Ross Brooks tied an NHL record with his 14th straight win.
Guy Lafleur scored his 11th career hat trick and added three assists, on Feb. 28, 1978, in a 9-3 Montreal Canadiens’ win over Detroit. The four-point night gave him 100 for the fourth straight season.
Patrik Sundstrom set a Canucks’ team record with his seventh game-winning goal of the season on Feb. 28, 1984, as Vancouver beat the Capitals 3-2.
The Kings and Edmonton Oilers set an NHL record for most penalties in a game on Feb. 28, 1990, as they combined for 86 total infractions. The Kings won the game, which saw a combined 356 penalty minutes, 4-2. The Oilers’ 45 penalties were the most ever called against one team. Marty McSorley of the Kings led the way with 37 penalty minutes, while Steve Smith picked up 34 for the Oilers.
One year later, on Feb. 28, 1991, Dave Andreychuk scored a goal for his 600th NHL point as the Buffalo Sabres won 5-1 at the Nordiques.
Ray Ferraro played in his 1,000th career game on Feb. 28, 1999, a Kings’ 1-0 loss to the Dallas Stars. Los Angeles became the first team ever to have four different players hit the 1000-game plateau in the same season as Doug Bodger, Russ Courtnall and Garry Galley also accomplished this feat in 1998-99.
Adam Oates scored his 300th NHL goal, the game-winner, on Feb. 28, 2000, to lead the Capitals to a 3-2 victory at the New York Islanders.
Mike Modano became the first player in Stars’ franchise history to record nine 30-goal seasons on Feb. 28, 2002, when he scored a power-play goal with just one second remaining in overtime for a 4-3 win at the Canucks.
Joe Sakic scored his 25th goal of the season for the 13th time in his career on this date in 2004. Alex Tanguay led the scoring with a goal and three assists as the Colorado Avalanche lost 5-4 in overtime at the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Barry Trotz became the sixth head coach to win 700 regular-season NHL games on Feb. 28, 2017, as the Capitals beat the Rangers 4-1. Marcus Johansson was the offensive hero by scoring a pair of goals. Trotz joined Scotty Bowman, Joel Quenneville, Al Arbour, Ken Hitchcock and Lindy Ruff as a member of the 700-win club.
John Tavares played his first game at the Islanders on Feb. 28, 2019, after signing a huge contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs the previous offseason. In addition to hearing it from his former fan base all night, he was held without a point as the Islanders rolled to a 6-1 win. The Islanders drafted Tavares with the first overall pick back in 2009. He scored 272 goals and 621 points during his nine seasons with the team.
On that same night, the Bruins hosted the Lightning in the first game to feature both teams on a point streak of 14 games or more. The Bruins won the game 4-1 to extend their streak to 15 games (11-0-4), while the Bolts’ 10-game winning streak and 14-game point streak were snapped.
Happy Birthday to You
Lindros, who turns 48 today, is not the only Hall of Famer born on Feb. 28. The late Joe Malone, a star for the Canadiens in the first few seasons of NHL, was born on this date in 1890. Other notable names from other 29 NHLers celebrating birthdays today include Shawn McEachern (52), Ryan VandenBussche (48), Oscar Dansk (27), Jakub Vrana (25), Rhett Gardner (25) and Givani Smith (23).