Today’s trip through the history of the game takes to some of the most storied cities in the National Hockey League. We will make stops in Detroit, Montreal, Chicago and Pittsburgh where there has been plenty of winning over the decades. Plus, if you are a fan of shutouts, then March 24 is a good day for you.
Motown March Madness
The Detroit Red Wings have been a part of some of the league’s most historic moments being the “Original 6” franchises. On March 24, 1936, they played in and won the longest game in NHL history. Mud Bruneteau scored 16:30 into the sixth overtime to beat the Montreal Maroons 1-0 in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Semifinal series.
The 21-year-old rookie had just two goals in 24 regular-season games, but he found the back of the net at 2:25 a.m. after 116:30 of game time. There were no official shot totals kept back then, but Red Wings goaltender Normie Smith reportedly made 92 saves and lost 12 pounds during the marathon contest.
Related – Do You Know Your Red Wings Trivia?
This game remains the longest game in league history. The only other game to ever go into a sixth overtime saw the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 1-0 on April 3, 1933. Ken Doraty had the game-winning goal 104:46 after the opening faceoff.
On March 24, 1953, goaltender Terry Sawchuk tied an NHL record with his third straight playoff shutout as he led the Red Wings to a 7-0 win over the Boston Bruins.
Four years later, Gordie Howe picks up two assists in the regular-season finale, a 4-1 victory over the visiting Maple Leafs. He finishes the season with 44 goals and leads the league with 89 points winning the fifth Art Ross Trophy for the fifth time in his career.
Howe would win a sixth and final Ross Trophy for being the league’s leading point scorer in 1963. He is one of only three players to win it at least six times with the other two being Mario Lemieux (6) and Wayne Gretzky (10).
Penguins Make Their Own History
March 24 has been kind to the Pittsburgh Penguins as well. On this date in 1976, Jean Pronovost became the first Penguins player to score 50 goals in a season and Pierre Larouche the first Penguin to record 100 points in a season. Their points came in a 5-5 tie with the Bruins at the Civic Arena.
On March 24, 1992, the Penguins lost 4-3 to the Red Wings at the old Joe Louis Arena. In the defeat, Lemieux scored his 40th goal of the season which was the 1,000th point of his career. He is the 36th player in NHL history to score 1,000 points and only Gretzky did it faster than his 513 games.
In that same game, Lemieux’s linemate, Kevin Stevens, scored his 50th goal of the season. With the tally, he became the first player in league history to score 50 goals and pick up 200 penalty minutes in the same season.
March 24 was a big date for NHL goaltenders throughout the decades. In 1920, Clint Benedict of the original Ottawa Senators recorded the first of his 15 career playoff shutouts, with a 3-0 win over the Seattle Metropolitans, in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. The 15 shutouts were a league record until Patrick Roy broke it in 2001.
On March 24, 1928, the Canadiens became the first team in NHL history to end a season with consecutive shutouts, as George Hainsworth had his 13th of the year in a 4-0 win over Ottawa. The next team to end a season with consecutive shutouts would be the Maple Leafs in 2003-04.
Jacques Plante had most of his success with the Canadiens, but he still had plenty of success after leaving Montreal. On March 24, 1970, Plante recorded his 73rd career shutout in the St. Louis Blues’ 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Three years later, while wearing a Bruins uniform, he picked up the 82nd and final shutout of his career. His 82 shutouts are still good enough for fifth all-time in league history.
Dominik Hasek joined the shutout party on March 24, 1998, when he blanked the Calgary Flames, 2-0. It was his 11th shutout of the season and he became the first goaltender in Buffalo Sabres history to have 30 in his career. He is still the only netminder with more than 30 shutouts in the history of the franchise and leads with 55. Ryan Miller is second with 28 shutouts in a Sabres uniform.
Toe Joins the 500 Club
Toe Blake is a legendary figure in Canadiens’ history. Not only did he have a Hall of Fame career as a left-winger, but he turned out to be a very good coach too. On March 24, 1946, Blake scored twice and added two assists in the Canadiens’ 8-2 win over the Chicago Black Hawks, in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals.
Exactly 22 years later, he became the second coach in history to win 500 career NHL games, with another victory over Chicago. At the time, Dick Irvin was the all-time leader with 690 career wins. Blake is now one of 26 coaches to have won 500 games, with the most recent being Bruce Boudreau, who won his 500th game on March 24, 2018.
Happy Birthday to You
Some of the notable NHL players who are celebrating birthdays today include Ron Hainsey (39), Doug Jarvis (65) and P.A. Parenteau (37). Birthday wishes go out to all of them and all of you are celebrating your big day today!