March 22 has seen quite a bit of hockey history over the years. One of the league’s oldest franchises did plenty on this date. In addition, one of the greatest goaltenders of all-time hit two personal milestones and the league witnessed one of scariest plays to ever occur on this date.
Bruins Own the Day
The Boston Bruins have had a long and storied history as one of the NHL’s “Original 6” teams. Some of the biggest names to ever wear the B’s sweater made their mark on the game on this date.
Goaltenders playing an entire season was a very common practice during the first few decades of the league. While the backup goaltender position has become an important one in today’s game, it was pretty much obsolete for many years.
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On March 22, 1964, Bruins goaltender Eddie Johnston became the last goaltender in NHL history to ever play every minute of every game in a season. He started his 70th straight game in the season’s final contest against the Chicago Blackhawks and lost 4-3. It was a very long season for Johnston as he finished the season with an 18-40-12 record with a 3.01 goals-against average (GAA) for the last-place Bruins.
Six years later, Hall of Fame defenseman Bobby Orr had two goals and a pair of assists in a 5-0 victory over the Minnesota North Stars. The two goals made him the first blueliner in NHL history to score 30 goals in a single season. His two helpers gave him 78, which broke the previous single-season league record set by his teammate Phil Esposito the previous season.
Johnny Buyck also made history versus the North Stars that evening by becoming the first player to score 300 goals as a member of the Bruins.
Orr wasn’t done on March 22. In 1975, he scored three goals in an 8-2 win over the Washington Capitals. It was the ninth and final hat trick Orr’s career, the most by any defenseman in league history.
Roy Shines on March 22
Patrick Roy had one of the greatest careers of any NHL goaltender and he accomplished a pair of remarkable feats on this date. On March 22, 1989, while playing for the Montreal Canadiens, he shutout the Quebec Nordiques 8-0 to extend his unbeaten streak on home ice to 26 games. He went 24-0-2 during the streak and the win broke Bill Durnan’s team record (for unbeaten streak at home) of 22-0-3 set during the 1943-44 season.
Roy made more history exactly 14 years later when he was in net for the Colorado Avalanche’s 8-1 victory over the visiting Blackhawks. With the win, he became the first goaltender in NHL history to put together 13 seasons with at least 30 wins.
Malarchuk Survives Scariest Play in NHL History
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Clint Malarchuk became infamous on March 22, 1989, during a game against the St. Louis Blues. Steve Tuttle of the Blues and Uwe Krupp of the Sabres both drove hard to the net. The heavy contact caused Tuttle’s skate to hit Malarchuk in the neck partially slicing his jugular.
The spirited game quickly turned into a scene from a grotesque horror movie as blood began to gush onto the ice. The sight caused players on the rink and fans in the stands to become physically ill. Somehow, Malarchuk was able to skate off under his own power.
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His life was saved by the quick action of Buffalo’s trainer, Jim Pizzutelli, who served as a combat medic for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He lost 1.5 liters of blood and needed 300 stitches to close the wound. He returned to the ice just 10 days later.
Caloun Makes Rookie History
The name of Jan Caloun may not ring a bell for many readers, but on March 22, 1996, he made quite the mark on the game. Playing in just his third NHL game, he scored the game-tying goal in the San Jose Sharks’ 2-1 overtime win versus the Calgary Flames.
The goal was the fourth of his young career on just his fourth shot. He would finally be stopped in overtime to start his tenure with four goals on five shots for a .800 shooting percentage. After being held off the scoreboard in his next game, he scored in back-to-back games to bring his total to six goals in as many games. He finished up the season with eight goals and 11 points on 11 games.
The quick start to his career did not translate to long-term success. Caloun would only appear in 13 more NHL games, two with the Sharks and 11 with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and scored zero goals with just three assists.
He did have 43 goals and 86 points in 66 games for the Kentucky Thoroughblades of the American Hockey League during the 1996-97 season before heading back home to his native Czech Republic.
Happy Birthday to You
Hall of Famer Dave Keon is celebrating his 80th birthday today. He spent 18 seasons in the NHL, 15 with the Toronto Maple Leafs. After four seasons in the WHA, he returned to the NHL when the Hartford Whalers joined the league in 1979.
Keon had 365 goals and 858 points in 1,062 games for the Maple Leafs between 1960 and 1975. He won the 1961 Calder Trophy after scoring 20 goals and 45 points in his rookie season. He won the 1967 Conn Smythe Trophy in his fourth and final Stanley Cup win in Toronto. The Maple Leafs named him the greatest player in team history during their centennial season of 2016-17.
Other players celebrating birthdays today include Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (38) and defenseman Tom Poti (43) who played 824 total games for the Oilers, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Capitals.