One of the greatest defensemen to ever play in the National Hockey League had a handful of big moments on March 27. A legendary run began in Vancouver after a suspension is handed down and the day has been full of NHL and franchise firsts. It is time for our daily trip back through the years to experience all the best moments this date has had to offer.
Ray Bourque Loved Playing on March 27
Bourque had many big moments during his Hall of Fame career and he had a handful of important ones on this date. On March 27, 1980, he set an NHL record for the most points by a rookie defenseman when he picked up his 61st point of the season in a 7-1 Boston Bruins win over the St. Louis Blues. He finished the season with 65 points, but his record only lasted one year because Larry Murphy scored 76 points as a rookie the following season.
Bourque picked up his 1,000th career assist in a 6-3 loss to the New Islanders on March 27, 1997. At the time, he was just the fifth player to ever get 1,000 assists and the first to do so while playing for just one team.
Two years later, Bourque scored his 385th career goal during a 2-2 tie with the San Jose Sharks, with tying him with Paul Coffey as the highest-scoring blueliner in NHL history. He still holds the record for the most goals by a defenseman with 410. Coffey is second with 396 goals.
Roger Neilson’s Legend Begins
On March 27, 1982, Vancouver Canucks head coach Harry Neale was suspended for 10 games for an incident in Quebec City. During a 3-3 tie with the Quebec Nordiques, Dave “Tiger” Williams took a few liberties with Peter Stastny. While holding him against the boards, a fan tried to reach around the glass to get at Williams. This caused Neale to run down from the bench and throw a punch at the said fan and a full melee broke out.
Things worked out well for the Canucks as the legend of Neilson began at this point. Neilson was named interim head coach and the team went 4-0-1 during their final five games of the regular season.
After winning four of their first five playoff games, Neilson was given the full-time head coaching job and Neale was promoted to general manager. The Canucks made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final with just two losses in the first three rounds. There is a statue of Neilson waving a towel from this memorable run outside of Rogers Arena.
A Day Full of Firsts
On March 27, 1917, the Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association defeated the Montreal Canadiens 9-1 to become the first-ever team from the United States to win the Stanley Cup. It would be 11 years before another American would win the championship when the New York Rangers took home the Cup in 1928.
Hall of Famer Turk Broda made history on March 27, 1952, when he became the first goaltender to appear in 100 Stanley Cup playoff games. However, his Toronto Maple Leafs lost 1-0 to the Detroit Red Wings.
On March 27, 1973, Mickey Redmond became the first player in Red Wings history to score 50 goals in a season. At the time, he was just the seventh player ever to have a 50-goal season. It was pretty crazy to think that a franchise that had the likes of Alex Delvecchio, Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Frank Mahovlich didn’t have a 50-goal scorer until Redmond.
The following year, the Bruins beat the Rangers 3-2 at Madison Square Garden. The win was their 50th of the season and they became the first team in NHL history to have at least 50 wins in four straight seasons.
Grant Fuhr became the first goaltender in Edmonton Oilers history to win 30 games in one season on March 27, 1984, with a 9-2 blowout at the Calgary Flames. Wayne Gretzky led the scoring with two goals and two assists.
Sherry Ross became the first woman to do play-by-play of an NHL game on March 27, 1993. She called the first period of the New Jersey Devils’ 5-2 win against the Washington Capitals when announcer Gary Thorne’s delayed flight causes him to arrive late to the building.
Adrian Aucoin became the first defenseman in Canucks’ history to score 20 goals in a season on March 27, 1999, during a 5-1 win over the visiting Canadiens. He broke the old team record of 19 goals set by Doug Halward in 1982-83. Mark Messier had two assists, including the 1,049th of his career, tying him with Howe for fourth on the all-time list.
On March 27, 2002, Phil Housley scored the game-winning goal in a Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators. He became the first American-born defenseman and fourth overall to score 1, 200 points in the NHL.
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Speaking of Hall of Fame blueliners, Chris Chelios made more history on March 27, 2006, when he took the ice against the Blues as he became the player to ever play in at least 400 games for three different franchises. This was his 400th game with the Red Wings. He had previously played 402 games with the Canadiens and 664 with the Blackhawks.
Memories for the Montreal Canadiens
The legendary Maurice Richard scored 69 seconds into the fourth overtime period on March 27, 1951, to give the Canadiens a 3-2 over the Red Wings in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. Five years later, he had five assists while his brother had two goals and two assists in a 7-0 win over the Rangers. Jacques Plante picked up his fourth career playoff shutout as the Habs won the fifth and deciding game of their Stanley Cup Semifinal series.
Guy Lafleur scored twice to hit the 50-goal mark for the second time in his NHL career on March 27, 1976, as the Canadiens won 8-2 over the Kansas City Scouts. Steve Shutt scored his third career hat trick in the victory.
One year later, Shutt picked up an assist for the first 100-point season of his career as Montreal earned a big 6-0 road win at Detroit. Goaltender Michel Larocque recorded his ninth career shutout.
Chelios scored his 20th goal of the season on March 27, 1988, in a 4-2 loss to the Hartford Whalers. He became the first Canadiens’ defenseman since Guy Lapointe in 1974-75 to score 20 goals.
Odds & Ends
Bernie Parent tied Terry Sawchuck’s NHL record for most wins in a season on March 27, 1974, as he picked up his 44th of the year in the Philadelphia Flyers’ 6-2 victory at the Blues.
Marcel Dionne became the NHL’s third 1,500-point scorer on March 27, 1985, with a power-play goal in the Kings’ 4-2 loss to the Calgary Flames.
The Maple Leafs’ 6-2 win at the Canucks on March 27, 1996, so a trio of big milestones. Larry Murphy had a goal and an assist to become the fourth defenseman in NHL history to score 1,000 career points. Wendel Clark scored his 250th NHL career while Felix Potvin became the sixth goaltender in team history to win 100 games.
Doug Gilmour became the 20th player in NHL history to record 1,300 career points on March 27, 2000, with a goal and three assists in the Buffalo Sabres’ 5-1 win at the Carolina Hurricanes.
Patrick Roy earned the 66th and final shutout of his NHL career on March 27, 2003, when the Colorado Avalanche blanked the Kings 3-0.
Connor McDavid scored his 40th goal of the season on March 27, 2018, as the Oilers lost 7-3 to the Columbus Blues Jackets. He also had two assists for this second straight 100-points on his way to back-to-back scoring titles and Art Ross Trophies.
A year later, David Pastrnak scored his third hat trick of the season to help the Bruins defeat the Rangers 6-3. He had added a pair of assists for a five-point night in his first home game after missing 16 games due to a thumb injury.
Happy Birthday to You
A small group of 14 former NHL players was born on this date including Curt Bennett (73), Bobby Lalonde (70), Chad Larose (39) and Dustin Byfuglien (36).
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.