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, Toronto and Pittsburgh, where there has been plenty of winning over the decades. Plus, if you are a fan of shutouts and coaching milestones, 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 historical moments, being one of the “Original Six” 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.
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 Bruins.
Four years later, Gordie Howe picked up two assists in the regular-season finale, a 4-1 victory over the visiting Maple Leafs. He finished the season with 44 goals and led the league with 89 points winning the Art Ross Trophy for the fifth time in his career. Howe won 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).
Frank Mahovlich scored the 300th and 301st goals of his NHL career on March 24, 1968, as the Red Wings won 5-3 over the Bruins. He became the 11th player in NHL history to score 300 career goals. This came 11 years to the day when he scored his first NHL goal as a member of the Maple Leafs against the Red Wings.
Paul Coffey scored twice in the third period to give him 350 career goals on March 24, 1995, in a 3-2 loss at the Calgary Flames.
Finally, on March 24, 2001, Vyacheslav Koslov scored his 200th career NHL goal and Igor Larionov picked up his 400th career assist in the Red Wings 6-0 win at the New York Rangers.
Toronto Maple Leafs Have a Memorable Date
Rick Vaive became the first 50-goal scorer in Maple Leafs history on March 24, 1982, when he scored in a 4-3 win against the St. Louis Blues.
Two rookie records were broken a year later, on March 24, 1983, during the Maple Leafs 7-4 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers. Walt Poddubny scored his 28th goal of the season to break Howie Meeker’s record for first-year players. Gus Bodnar’s rookie-record for points was broken too when Peter Ihnacak picked up his 63rd point.
On March 24, 1994, Dave Andreychuk reached the 50-goal mark when he scored in a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Curtis Joseph became just the second goaltender in Toronto history to record three straight 30-win seasons on March 24, 2001, as the Maple Leafs beat the visiting Flyers 5-3.
Pittsburgh Penguins Make Their Own History
March 24 has been kind to the Penguins over the years as well. In 1971, Duane Rupp became the first defenseman in team history to score a hat trick during an 8-2 win over the visiting Red Wings. Syl Apps set a team record with four assists in one period, while Jean Pronovost had two goals and three assists.
Five years later, Pronovost became the first Penguins player to score 50 goals in a season and Pierre Larouche recorded the first 100-point season in franchise history. Their milestones 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. Lemieux’s linemate, Kevin Stevens, scored his 50th goal, becoming the first player in NHL history with 50 goals and 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 franchise’s history and leads with 55. Ryan Miller is second with 28 shutouts in a Sabres uniform.
Tommy Salo became the Edmonton Oilers’ all-time leader in career shutouts on March 24, 2002, when he picked up his 15th in a 2-0 win over at the Vancouver Canucks. He broke the mark of 14 held by Joseph. He still is their all-time shutouts leader with 23.
Head Coaching Milestones
Toe Blake of the Montreal Canadiens became just the second head coach in history to win 500 career NHL games, on March 24, 1968, with victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. At the time, Dick Irvin was the all-time leader with 690 career wins.
Marc Crawford earned his 200th career coaching victory on March 24, 2000, when the Canucks beat the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 8-1. Peter Schaefer was the offensive hero with two goals and two assists during a four-goal second period.
Bruce Boudreau became the 26th and most recent head coach to win 500 NHL games on March 24, 2018, when the Minnesota Wild defeat the Nashville Predators 4-1. He needed just 837 games to hit this milestone. Only the legendary Scotty Bowman won 500 games faster, doing it in 825 games.
A year later, Barry Trotz became the fourth man in NHL history to coach 1,600 games, joining Bowman, Joel Quenneville and Al Arbour. Robin Lehner makes 31 saves for his fifth shutout of the season to lead the New York Islanders to a 2-0 win over the visiting Arizona Coyotes.
Odds & Ends
Ken Hodge scored his 100th point of the season on March 24, 1974, with an assist in the Boston Bruins 6-3 win over the Canadiens. He became just the third player in NHL history to record more than one 100-point season, joining his teammates Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr.
On that same night, Rod Gilbert scored twice to become the first player to score 300 goals as a member of the Rangers. He became the 19th 300-goal scorer in NHL history during a 5-3 win over the visiting Sabres.
Esposito set an NHL record with his 29th career hat trick on March 24, 1978, when the Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals 11-4. He also had an assist as he broke the previous record held by his former linemate with the Blackhawks, Bobby Hull.
One year later, Guy Lafleur became the seventh player in Canadiens’ franchise history to score 350 career goals in a 3-1 win over the visiting Capitals.
Rangers’ rookie defenseman Brian Leetch scored his first NHL goal and added two assists in the first period on March 24, 1988, to help New York to a 6-1 win over the Oilers.
Gretzky extended his NHL-record assist streak to 23 straight games on March 24, 1991, in the Los Angeles Kings’ 4-3 overtime win in Edmonton. He put up 48 assists during this 23-game run.
Eric Lindros scored the third hat trick of his rookie season on March 24, 1993, to lead the Flyers to a 5-4 win over at Rangers. His 35th goal of the season broke a franchise rookie-record set by Brian Propp in 1979-80.
Al MacInnis scored twice in the Blues’ 5-1 road win against the Tampa Bay Lightning to become the fifth defenseman in NHL history with 300 goals. St. Louis set a team single-season record with their 48th victory. One year later, MacInnis became the first defenseman in Blues history to score 100 goals and he added two assists in a 5-2 win over the visiting Blackhawks.
Andreychuk had another memory on March 24, 2003, when he scored his 20th goal of the season for the 18th time in his career. He also added an assist as the Lightning clinched their first playoff berth in seven years with a 4-1 victory at the San Jose Sharks.
Happy Birthday to You
A total of 20 players who have dressed in at least one NHL game were born on this date. The most successful of the March 24 birthday boys are Pat Price (66), Doug Jarvis (66), Phillippe Boucher (48), Ron Hainsey (40), P.A. Parenteau (38) and Ty Smith (21).
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.