One of the greatest defensemen to ever play in the National Hockey League had a handful of big moments on March 27. Also, a legendary run began in Vancouver after a suspension is handed down. Finally, we take a look at all the firsts that occurred on this date throughout the years.
Bourque Loved Playing on March 27
Ray 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 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. Speaking of Murphy, he became just the fourth defenseman in league history to score 1,000 points on March 27, 1996.
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.
Exactly two years later, Bourque scored his 385th career goal, 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.
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 Roger 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 League of Canada, 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 ever 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.
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
Happy Birthday to You
Just 14 players who ever skated in the NHL were born on March 27. Among those celebrating a birthday today include Dustin Byfuglien (35) and Bobby Lalonde (69).