If you are a fan of the Original Six-era National Hockey League history, then March 18 is the date for you. Plenty of memories were made in Montreal, Boston, Detroit and Chicago over the years. Plus, some Hall of Famers put up some great performances over the years. Let’s take our daily trip back through the decades to see the best this date has brought us.
Montreal Canadiens: The Leaders in Making History
Howie Morenz scored five goals for his 10th career hat trick, on March 18, 1930, in the Canadiens’ 8-3 win against the New York Americans. He sandwiched a single-goal second period in between two goals in both the first and third periods.
George Hainsworth became the first goalie in NHL history to record 75 career shutouts on March 18, 1933, as the Canadiens tied 0-0 with the visiting Boston Bruins. Tiny Thompson of the Bruins earned his 11th shutout of the season and the 38th of his career.
On March 18, 1944, the Canadiens became the first team in NHL history to finish the regular season without losing on home ice. Phil Watson had four assists in an 11-2 win over the visiting New York Rangers to improve the Habs’ record to 22-0-3 at the Forum. As Murphy’s law would have it, they lost their first postseason game on home ice before winning eight straight against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks to capture the Stanley Cup.
Maurice Richard became the NHL player to have a 50-goal season on March 18, 1945, when he scored to help beat the Boston Bruins 4-2. The goal came with just 2:15 left in the 50th and final game of the regular season. This was the only 50-goal season in league history until Montreal’s Bernie Geoffrion did it during the 70-game 1960-61 season. Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders became the second player to score 50 goals in 50 games in 1980-81.
The Canadiens became the first team to win 45 games in a season, on March 18, 1956, with a 3-1 win at the Rangers. They broke the previous record of 44 wins set by the 1950-51 Detroit Red Wings. Bert Olmstead picked up his 56th assist, setting the NHL single-season record for left wings.
Legendary Boston Bruins Have a Day
Cooney Weiland scored a hat trick to give him an NHL-record 73 points in 44 games, on March 18, 1930, during a 9-2 Bruins’ win over the Rangers. It was their 22nd straight victory at Boston Garden and they set new league records with the 38th win and 179th goal of the season.
Bill Cowley scored twice to clinch the NHL scoring title with 62 points on March 18, 1941, as the Bruins won 4-1 over the visiting Red Wings.
On March 18, 1952, Milt Schmidt became the third player in team history to score 200 goals with the Bruins. He also had three assists in a 4-0 shutout of the Blackhawks.
Bobby Orr scored once and added two assists on March 18, 1973, to lead the Bruins to a 7-1 win against the Atlanta Flames. The goal was his 600th career point in just his 461st game.
Three years later, Johnny Bucyk became the second player in NHL history to score 1,300 points when he has two assists in a 5-2 win at the Kansas City Scouts. He joined a certain Detroit hockey legend in the 1,300-point club, who has a prominent role in the next section.
Busy Date for Detroit Red Wings & Gordie Howe
Jack Adams became the first head coach in NHL history to record 350 career victories on March 18, 1944, when the Red Wings beat the visiting Blackhawks 6-3.
A decade later, Terry Sawchuk became the first goaltender to be credited with an assist on a Howe goal during a 3-3 tie with the Bruins.
Norm Ullman scored a goal and added four assists on March 18, 1965, while Howe had a goal and three helpers in another win over the Bruins, 10-3. The victory extended their team-record home winning streak to 12 straight games.
A shoulder injury prevented Howe from playing against the Bruins on March 18, 1967, so he went behind the bench and made his NHL coaching debut. Head coach Sid Abel watched from the stands as the Red Wings lost 5-3. Mr. Hockey’s stint as bench boss didn’t last long as he returned to the lineup the next game.
Chicago Blackhawks Join the History Party
On March 18, 1940, the Blackhawks became the first NHL team to take a chartered flight as they traveled to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Hall of Fame head coach Dick Irvin won his 690th and final career game, on March 18, 1956, with the Blackhawks’ 3-2 in Boston on the final night of the season. He retired as the NHL’s all-time wins leader until Scott Bowman passed him up in 1984.
Bobby Hull became the first NHL player to have back-to-back 50-goal seasons on March 18, 1967, when he scored in a 9-5 loss at the Maple Leafs. This was his third overall season with at least 50 goals.
Patrick Kane picked up two assists to reach 100 points, on March 18, 2019, in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks. He became just the third player in team history with multiple 100-point seasons. He also joined Hull as the only two Blackhawks to have a 100-point season after their 30th birthday.
Odds & Ends
Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, the Governor General of Canada, prosed the creation of the trophy that became the Stanley Cup on this date way back in 1892. Originally named the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the world’s most famous trophy was awarded for the first time in 1893 to the Montreal Hockey Club.
Gilbert Perreault set the NHL single-season record for goals by a rookie when he scored his 35th, on March 18, 1971, in the Buffalo Sabres’ 5-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. Nels Stewart of the Montreal Maroons set the previous record of 34 goals during the 1925-26 season. Both Danny Grant of the Minnesota North Stars and Norm Ferguson of the Oakland Seals tied Stewart’s mark in 1968-69.
Bill Barber became the third player in Philadelphia Flyers history to have a 100-point season, on March 19, 1976, with an assist in a 3-2 win over the Canucks. With the victory, the Flyers extended their team-record home winning streak to 16 straight games.
Darryl Sittler became the sixth player in Maple Leafs’ team history to score 250 career goals, on March 18, 1978, in a 3-2 loss to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.
One year later, Rick MacLeish became the second player to score 250 career goals as a member of the Flyers. He also had an assist in a 5-3 win against the visiting Blues.
Phil Housley became the youngest defenseman in NHL history to have a 30-goal season on this date in 1984. The 20-year-old blueliner picked up his 30th goal during the Sabres 4-3 home loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Nine years later, he had a goal and two assists in the Winnipeg Jets 5-2 win at Vancouver to give him 800 career points.
Wayne Gretzky scored his 50th goal for the seventh straight season, on March 18, 1986, in the Oilers’ 6-2 win over the Jets. He scored his 1,000th professional goal exactly 10 years later, on March 18, 1996, with a goal in the Blues’ win over the Los Angeles Kings. His milestone goal was a combination of his regular-season and playoff goals in both the NHL and World Hockey Association. He joined Howe and Hull in this very exclusive club.
Mario Lemieux hit the 100-point mark with a goal and two assists, on March 18, 1987, in the Penguins’ 5-4 win over the Blues. This made him just the fourth player in league history to score at least 100 points in each of his first three seasons.
Dino Ciccarelli scored four goals and added three assists to set a Washington Capitals record with seven points, on March 18, 1989, in an 8-2 win at the Hartford Whalers. This was the 15th hat trick of his NHL career and first with Washington.
Ray Bourque became the first NHL defenseman to score 400 career goals on March 18, 2000, when he found the back of the net in the Colorado Avalanche’s 4-3 loss to the Red Wings. This was his fifth goal in six gave with the Avalanche since being traded by the Bruins.
One year later, Brett Hull scored his first hat trick as a member of the Dallas Stars to lead the way in a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. This was his 29th career hat trick, one more than his legendary dad, Bobby.
The Carolina Hurricanes extended their league record, on March 18, 2002, by having their seventh straight home game end in a tie. Sami Kapanen evened up the score with just 10.4 seconds to play in regulation as they skated to a 1-1 draw with the Canadiens.
Henrik Lundqvist picked up his 302nd win on March 18, 2014, to pass Mike Richter to the most victories in Rangers team history. He made 35 saves in an 8-4 road win at the Senators.
Happy Birthday to You
Two members of the Hockey Hall of Fame and former Canadiens, Guy Lapointe (73) and Guy Carbonneau (61), headline 25 current and former NHL players born on this date. Other March 18 birthday boys include Phil Sykes (62), Giles Hamel (61), Craig Johnson (49), Kimmo Timonen (46), Zdeno Chara (44), Jan Bulis (43), Vitaly Vishnevski (41), Matthew Lombardi (39), Cory Schneider (35), Robert Bortuzzo (32) and the late Bob Nevin.
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.