Today’s date in National Hockey League history has been all about things happening for the first time, both in the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs. The greatest player of them all had one of the biggest first in league history. Let’s take our daily trip back in time to relive all the top moments from March 25.
Gretzky Does the Unthinkable
On March 25, 1982, Wayne Gretzky accomplished something many thought could never be done; score 200 points in a season. He entered the game against the Calgary Flames with 199 points. Early in the first period, he assisted on Pat Hughes’ goal to become the first player ever to hit the 200-point plateau.
Gretzky was far from done that evening as he picked up another assist later in the first period. He set another NHL record in the second period by scoring two shorthanded goals just 27 seconds apart.
The Great One finished the season with 212 points. He scored 196 points the following season before having three straight seasons with over 200 points. He scored 205 in 1983-84, 208 in 1984-85 and a record 215 in 1985-86. He remains the only player to score 200 points in a single season. Mario Lemieux was the closest ever to hit that mark when he scored 199 points during the 1988-89 season.
Stanley Cup Playoff Firsts
Bernie Morris scored six times on March 25, 1917, to lead the Seattle Metropolitans to a 9-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. The Metropolitans, members of the old Pacific Coach Hockey Association, became the first team based in the United States to win the Stanley Cup.
On March 25, 1924, the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Calgary Tigers 3-0 to win the Stanley Cup. Legendary goaltender Georges Vezina picked up the shutout as the Canadiens won their first Stanley Cup since the formation of the NHL in 1917.
Nick Metz made Stanley Cup Playoff history on March 25, 1941. He picked up three assists during the second period of the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-2 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. He became the first player to have three assists in a postseason game. Metz also scored a goal for good measure.
Two years later, Harvey “Busher” Jackson scored the first shorthanded overtime goal in Stanley Cup playoff history. The historic goal game 3:20 into overtime and gave the Bruins a 3-2 win in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals over the Canadiens.
On March 25, 1954, Dickie Moore had a huge night for the Canadiens in their 8-1 win over the Bruins. Moore scored two goals and picked up four assists to become the first player to have six points in a Stanley Cup Playoff game. That record stood for 29 years until Gretzky scored four goals and seven points against the Flames in 1983. Lemieux and Patrik Sundstrom share the record for the most points in a playoff game with eight.
On March 25, 1951, Alex Delvecchio played in his first NHL game as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Canadiens 5-0. He became one of the greatest players in franchise history by scoring 456 goals and 1,281 points in 1,550 games. He was part of three Stanley Cup-winning teams and won the Lady Bing Trophy three times. With the win that night, the Red Wings became the first team to reach 100 points in a season. Much later in his career, on this date in 1972, Delvecchio became the third player in NHL history to reach 1,200 points with a goal and an assist for the Red Wings in a 5-3 loss at the St. Louis Blues.
The Canadiens’ 8-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on March 25, 1980, saw a pair of NHL firsts. Steve Schutt became the first player to score a goal against 20 teams in one season with his first-period tally. Also, Pierre Laroche scored a pair of goals to hit 50 on the season and become the first player in league history to score 50 goals for two different teams. He scored 53 goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 1975-76 season.
On March 25, 1995, Scotty Bowman became the first coach in NHL history to win 900 regular-season games when he led the Red Wings over the Vancouver Canucks. He finished his legendary career with 1,244 wins, which is still the all-time record. Current Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville is the only other coach to win 900 games as he is second all-time with 945 wins and counting.
A Big Date for the Hulls
Bobby Hull has a statue sitting outside the United Center in Chicago. You don’t get immortalized in bronze unless you accomplished some incredible things during your playing career. On March 25, 1962, Hull became the third player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season with a goal against the New York Rangers. He joined Maurice Richard and Bernie Geoffrion as the only players to have 50-goal seasons.
Hull made more history a decade later with a goal in the old Boston Garden. He tied the game with just 2:26 remained to join Gordie Howe as the only two players to score 600 goals. Since then, 18 more players have joined the 600-goal club.
On March 25, 1994, Bobby’s son, Brett Hull, became a 50-goal scorer for the fifth consecutive season when he scored three times for the Blues in a 5-3 win against the visiting Dallas Stars. He completed the 21st hat trick of his career just 23 seconds after scoring goal No. 50 on the season.
Odds & Ends
Barry Pederson became the fifth rookie in NHL history to score 40 goals on March 25, 1982, as the Boston Bruins won 5-1 over the visiting Buffalo Sabres. This was their seventh straight over the Sabres at Boston Garden.
Luc Robitaille had a goal and an assist on March 25, 1987, to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 6-1 win at the Red Wings. This gave him 77 points, breaking the franchise’s single-season rookie record for scoring set by Larry Murphy during the 1980-81 season.
A year later, Mario Lemieux scored two goals added three assists in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 5-2 win over the Canadiens. This gave him 155 points, moving him past Phil Esposito for the highest single-season total by any player in NHL history, except Gretzky.
Pavel Bure of the Florida Panthers scored twice on March 25, 2000, as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Canadiens 4-2. This gave him and his brother Valeri, who was with the Calgary Flames, 89 combined goals, breaking the single-season record for siblings set by Bobby and Dennis Hull. The Bure brothers finished the season with 93 total goals, 58 for Pavel, with Valeri scoring 35. In that same game, Viktor Kozlov set a team record for most assists in a season, with his 50th.
Staying in Florida, on March 25, 2004, Roberto Luongo made 42 saves for the Panthers in a 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes to give him an NHL-record 2,219 for the season. He broke the record of 2,214 saves set by Felix Potvin of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1996-97.
Brad Marchand tied the NHL single-season record for overtime goals on March 25, 2018, when he scored 28 seconds into OT to give the Bruins a 2-1 victory at the Minnesota Wild. This was his fifth overtime goal of the season, putting him in a four-way with Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning (2011-12), Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks (2015-16) and Alex Galchenyuk of the Canadiens (2016-17).
John Tavares scored four goals for the Maple Leafs on March 25, 2019, in a 7-5 home win over the Panthers. The first four-goal goal of his NHL career gave 45 goals for the season, breaking Eddie Olczyk’s record of 42, set in 1987-88, for the most goals by any player in his first season with Toronto.
Happy Birthday to You
There are 26 players who played in at least one NHL game born on this date. The most notable of the group are Jean Potvin (72), Pat Hughes (66), Ken Wregget (57), Andrei Nikolishin (48), Lance Bouma (31), Brendan Gaunce (27), J.C. Beaudin (24) and the late Bill Barilko.
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.