March 28 is a significant date in National Hockey League history with some of the biggest names and greatest players to ever take the ice having historic moments. Between some of the top goal-scorers and the best netminders hitting major milestones, this date belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Gretzky Sets the All-Time Mark & More
We could very easily rename this daily series “Things Wayne Gretzky Did Today” as it seems that the Great One made history every time he laced up skates. March 28 was a particularly eventful day in Gretzky’s career.
On March 28, 1982, Gretzky scored his 92nd and final goal of the season in the Edmonton Oilers’ 6-2 win at the Los Angeles Kings. His record still stands today and it shattered the previous record of 76 goals set by Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins during the 1970-71 season. In typical fashion, he was a bit upset he didn’t score more goals.
“It was a thrill to get 92 goals, but in some ways, I thought I let myself down by not getting 100,” he said looking back on the season. “Maybe I should have pushed myself more.”
Six years later, he had a goal and three assists in a 6-4 win at the Toronto Maple Leafs. With the trio of helpers, Gretzky hit the 100-assist mark for a record-setting eighth straight season. He would extend that streak to 11 seasons before only getting 90 assists in 1991-92.
On March 28, 1991, Gretzky had a goal and an assist in the regular-season finale against the Minnesota North Stars. He tied the Kings’ franchise record, set by Bernie Nichols seven years earlier, by scoring a point in 25 straight games. He played in 78 games during the 1990-91 season and had at least one put in all but three of them.
Five years later, Gretzky had a shorthanded goal and two assists in the St. Louis Blues’ 4-4 tie with the New Jersey Devils. The three points gave him 101 between the Kings and Blues and it was the final 100-point season of his extraordinary career. He would have 97, 90 and 62 points in his final three seasons with the New York Rangers.
A Pair of Historic Games
On March 28, 1967, the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings wrote another chapter in their long rivalry. On this particular night, two legends of the game hit personal milestones. Stan Mikita picked up his 60th assist of the season in the impressive 7-2 win for the Blackhawks. The helper broke his own record for the most assists in a single season he set two years earlier.
Meanwhile, Gordie Howe assisted on the Red Wings’ first goal of the game to become the first player in NHL history to score 1,500 points. In the last 53 years, 13 more players have scored at least 1,500 points with the most recent being Joe Thornton.
The 3-3 tie between the Winnipeg Jets and Kings on March 28, 1993, was a huge night for rookies. Teemu Selanne scored his 70th goal of the season becoming the first and only player score at least 70 goals in his rookie season.
He finished the season with 76 goals, tying him with Alexander Mogilny for the most in the league. They are both still tied with Esposito, who scored 76 goals in 1970-71, for the fifth-best single-season goal total in NHL history.
In that same game, Alexei Zhamnov scored as well to make the Jets the first team ever to have four rookies score at least 20 goals. He joined Selanne, Evgeny Davydov and Keith Tkachuk in the 20-club that night.
Jagr Sets European Standard
Jaromir Jagr had himself quite the historic night during the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers on March 28, 1996. Jagr scored his 60th goal of the season, joining Mario Lemieux in the 60-goal club.
This marked the second and final time a pair of teammates scored at least 60 goals in the same season. The only other duo to do it was Gretzky and Jari Kuri when they scored 73 and 71 goals respectively in 1984-85.
Jagr’s 60th goal gave him 140 points on the season, which were the most ever scored by a European-born player in the NHL. He broke the previous record set by Peter Stastny with the Quebec Nordiques in 1981-82. He finished the season with 149 points, which is still the best season by a player born in Europe.
Patrick Roy became the NHL’s all-time winningest goaltender (regular-season and playoffs combined) when he wins for the 506th time in his career by beating the Kings 7-2. He finished his career with 702 total wins, which was eventually passed up by Martin Brodeur who had 804 total wins. However, Roy’s 151 Stanley Cup playoff wins are still the most in league history.
On March 28, 2017, Braden Holtby beats the Minnesota Wild to become just the third goaltender ever to string together three straight 40-win seasons.
His streak was snapped the following season as he remains tied with Brodeur and Evgeni Nabokov for the most consecutive 40-win seasons in NHL history.
Happy Birthday to You
Mentioned earlier as one of the four Jets to have a fantastic rookie season in 1992-93, Tkachuk is celebrating his 48th birthday today. After 28 goals and 51 points in his first NHL season, he finished his 18-year career with 538 goals and 1065 points for the Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, Blues and Atlanta Thrashers. He is the fifth-highest scoring American-born player in NHL history.
Other notable players also celebrating birthdays today include John Anderson (63), Jeff Beukeboom (55), Logan Couture (31), Jonathan Drouin (25) and Josh Morrissey (25).