This date in hockey history saw the Great One break even more records, including one of his own. Also, one of the league’s “Original 6” franchises had plenty of success on March 29. There was also a good amount of goaltender history made on this date, including some by an accountant.
More Records Shattered by 99
March 29 was one of many dates where Wayne Gretzky had big moments throughout his legendary career. In 1981, he picked up three assists the Edmonton Oilers’ 5-2 win at the Pittsburgh Penguins. The performance gave him 152 points on the season, breaking the single-season record of 151 set by Phil Esposito in 1970-71
Two years later, Gretzky had another three-assist game to break his own single-season record with 121 assists. He finished the season with 125 helpers. That record only lasted two years as he broke it with his 126th and 127th assists of the season in 7-4 win at the Vancouver Canucks. He finished the 1984-85 season with 135 assists.
On March 29, 1999, Gretzky scored a goal in the New York Rangers’ 3-1 win over the New York Islanders. The goal was the 1072nd of his professional career including the regular season, playoffs and his one season in the World Hockey Association. He, once again, broke the all-time mark of Gordie Howe, who had 1071 total goals in the NHL and WHA.
Blackhawks’ Greats Shine on March 29
On March 29, 1970, Tony Esposito picked up his 15th shutout of the season in 4-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 15 shutouts were the most in a single season since 1929 and the most ever by a rookie goaltender.
Since this date, only four goaltenders have had more than 10 shutouts in a season. Dominik Hasek had 13 in 1997-98. Bernie Parent had 12 shutouts in 1973-74 and again in 1974-75. Hasek had 11 shutouts in 2001-01 while Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist also had 11 in 2003-04 and 2010-11, respectively.
On March 29, 1972, Eric Nesterenko scored the 250th and final goal of his career in a 5-5 tie against the Montreal Canadiens. After starting his career with the Maple Leafs, Nesterenko played 16 seasons with the Blackhawks. He was part of their 1961 Stanley Cup championship team and his 207 goals are 20th all-time in franchise history.
Stan Mikita made history on March 29, 1978, by scoring his 1,400 career point with a goal in a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. At the time, he was third in all-time NHL scoring only behind Howe and Esposito.
On March 29, 1992, Jeremy Roenick scored a goal and had two assists in a 5-1 win over the Maple Leafs to become the fourth player in Blackhawks history to get 100 points in a season.
Priakin’s Contract Makes History
On March 29, 1989, Sergei Priakin, a four-year veteran of the Soviet National Team, signed a contract with the Calgary Flames to become the first player allowed by the Soviet Hockey Federation to play in the NHL. He made his debut two days later against the Winnipeg Jets.
Priakin played in two regular-season games and just once in the postseason. He did not play in enough playoff games or in the Stanley Cup Final in order to get his name on the Stanley Cup after the Flames won it that spring. He ended playing in just 46 NHL games over three seasons, scoring three goals and 11 points, before heading back to Europe.
On March 29, 1970, Gump Worsley became the sixth goaltender in NHL history to record 300 career victories. The 300th win milestone came in the Minnesota North Stars’ 8-3 win over the Oakland Seals. Since this date, 30 more goaltenders have joined the 300-win club.
Brodeur made New Jersey Devils history on March 29, 1994, by setting a franchise rookie record with his 25th win of the season. He hit the milestone by beating his hometown Canadiens
On March 29, 2000, Patrick Roy became the first goaltender in league history to win 30 games in a season 10 times during his NHL career. The 30th win of the season came in a 3-2 victory over the Oilers.
Exactly one year later, Felix Potvin became the fifth goaltender in NHL history to win 10 or more games with two teams in one season, when the Kings beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0. Potvin had previously won 14 games with Canucks before being traded to the Kings in February.
On March 29, 2018, Scott Foster became a household name for Blackhawks fans. Foster, a 36-year-old accountant, is dressed as the team’s emergency backup goaltender after Anton Forsberg injures himself during the morning skate.
Foster took the United Center ice with 14:01 left to play in the third period after Collin Delia cramps up and is forced to leave the game. He stopped all seven shots he faced in the Blackhawks 6-2 win over the visiting Jets.
Happy Birthday to You
Appropriately, 29 NHL players were born on March 29. Among the notable names who have birthdays today include Maxime Lapierre (35), Adam Lowry (27), Tom Wilson (26) and Travis Sanheim (24) as well as the late Frank Mathers and Brad McCrimmon.