One of the greatest goaltenders to ever play the game set a record that will likely never be broken on this date. A hockey legend won his first and only scoring title and an American-born player scored 100 points for the first time in National Hockey League history.
Tony O Sets the Bar High
Tony Esposito was one of the best goaltenders of his generation. During his Hall of Fame career, which spanned from 1968 to 1984, he won 423 games to go along with his 2.93 goals-against average (GAA) and .906 SV%. He was a five-time All-Star and took home three Vezina Trophies for being the league’s top goaltender.
After playing 13 games with the Montreal Canadiens during the 1968-69 season, he was claimed by the Chicago Blackhawks in the Intra-League Draft. On March 26, 1970, Esposito shutout the Detroit Red Wings to pick up his 14th shutout of the season, breaking Harry Lumley’s “modern” record for most shutouts in a season.
He finished the season with 15 shutouts, which is the record for the most by a rookie goaltender, on his way to winning the Calder Trophy as the rookie of the year and his first Vezina
He finished his career with 76 shutouts, the seventh-most in NHL history. Since then, three goaltenders have passed him up and he sits tied for 10th all-time with another former Blackhawk, Eddie Belfour.
Exactly 10 years later, on March 26, 1980, Esposito was in net for the Blackhawks’ 7-2 win at the Quebec Nordiques, the franchise’s first-ever win in Quebec City. The victory was his 30th of the season, making him the first goaltender to ever have eight 30-win seasons.
Lindsay’s Best Season Includes Record
The Red Wings have produced some of the biggest names and best players in NHL history over the decades. Ted Lindsay is right near the top of that list with 335 goals and 728 points in 862 games with Detroit. He was a big part of four Stanley Cup wins during the 1950s.
The first of those championships came in 1950 following a spectacular regular season for Lindsay. On March 26, 1950, he picked up his league-leading 55th assist during a 5-4 loss to the Blackhawks in the regular-season finale.
The assist broke the single-season record for assists that was previously held by Elmer Lach of the Canadiens. Lindsay won his first and only Art Ross Trophy for leading the league with 78 points. His linemates, Sid Abel and Gordie Howe finished second and third in scoring in the NHL. They weren’t called the Production Line by accident.
Broten Makes More U.S. Hockey History
On March 26, 1986, Neal Broten made NHL history in the Minnesota North Stars 6-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. With his two assists, Broten became the first American-born player to ever score 100 points in a season.
He finished the season with a career-high 105 points, the only 100-point season of his career. His 923 career points are the 12th most in NHL history by a player born in the United States.
Carson Continues Early Success
On March 28, 1988, Jimmy Carson scored a hat trick to help lead the Los Angeles Kings in a 9-5 win over the Blackhawks. His second goal of the game made him the second-youngest player all-time to score 50 goals in a season. His four-point night gave him 100 points on the season.
Carson finished the 1987-88 season with 55 goals and 107 points. In August of 1988, he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in the historic deal that brought Wayne Gretzky to the Kings. He had 49 goals and 100 points in his first season with the Oilers but never reached that plateau again.
He eventually demanded a trade out of Edmonton as was sent to Red Wings. He was traded two more times in his career, back to Los Angeles and to the Vancouver Canucks, before signing with the Hartford Whalers as a free agent. After scoring 141 goals and 286 points in his first three NHL seasons, he had just 134 goals and 275 points over the next seven seasons.
Happy Birthday to You
There have been 27 NHL players who were born on March 26. The most notable names include Jimmy Howard (36), Trevor Kidd (48), Connor Murphy (27), Michael Peca (46), Luke Richardson (51), Ulf Samuelsson (56), Brady Skjei (26) and Andrei Svechnikov (20).