March 7 is full of the biggest names the National Hockey League has ever seen adding to their legendary resumes. This date has seen it all; huge assists, record-setting shorthanded goals, and a slew of memories in St. Louis and Montreal. The THW time machine is warmed up and ready to take on our daily trip through the decades. Let’s hop aboard!
Gordie Howe & Jaromir Jagr Get Connected
On March 7, 1951, Howe scored twice during the Detroit Red Wings’ 3-0 win at the Toronto Maple Leafs. The two goals gave him 75 points for the season, breaking the NHL record for a right winger, set by Toronto’s Lorne Carr during the 1943-44 season. Rookie goaltender Terry Sawchuk picked up the ninth shutout of his career while Ted Lindsay had two assists.
Howe scored the 16th and final empty-net goal of his NHL career, on March 7, 1970, to ice a 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens with just three seconds left to play.
Jagr passed Howe for third place on the league’s all-time scoring, on March 7, 2016, with his 1,851st career point in his 1,613th NHL game. He jumps ahead of Mr. Hockey with an assist on Aleksander Barkov’s first-period goal in the Florida Panthers’ 5-4 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins. Jagr eventually passed Mark Messier and currently sits second in NHL, scoring with 1,921 career points.
Wayne Gretzky’s Busy Day
Gretzky, the only player to score more points than Jagr, had quite the remarkable run on this date. In 1981, he became the first player in NHL history to have six hat tricks before turning 21 when he scored four goals in the Edmonton Oilers’ 5-3 win at the Philadelphia Flyers. His performance gave him 100 career goals in 145 games.
Gretzky picked up five assists on March 7, 1988, to lead the Oilers to a 6-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Goaltender Grant Fuhr picked up his team-record sixth shutout of the season.
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Three years later and now with the Los Angeles Kings, Gretzky picked up an assist to give him 100 for the 11th consecutive season, in a 3-2 loss at the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In 1998, Gretzky scored on the power play in the New York Rangers’ 6-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils. This gave him 1,000 total NHL goals, with 878 in the regular season and 122 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
A Great Date for the St. Louis Blues
There wasn’t a lot of singing the blues in St. Louis over the years on March 7. In 1981, Wayne Babych scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Blues to a 7-2 win over the Rangers. With the victory, the Blues moved into first place in the NHL’s overall standings for the first time in team history.
The Blues pulled off their best trade in franchise history, on March 7, 1988, when they acquired Brett Hull and Steve Bozek from the Calgary Flames for defenseman Rob Ramage and goaltender Rick Wamsley. While Ramage had a big part in the Flames’ 1989 Stanley Cup win, Hull established himself as one of the greatest goal-scorers in NHL history during his time in St. Louis. He scored 527 of his 741 career goals in a Blues sweater.
Defenseman Steve Duchesne scored his third career hat trick and his first with the Blues, on March 7, 1994, in a 3-2 road win at the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Hull celebrated the seventh anniversary of being traded to St. Louis, on March 7, 1995, by scoring twice to reach 400 goals with the team. He also added an assist as the Blues beat the visiting Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 6-3.
Defenseman Al MacInnis played in his 900th career NHL game on March 7, 1996, and picked up his 900th career point with a goal in a 4-2 Blues’ loss to the visiting Flames. He began his career with the Flames, scoring 822 points in 803 games. Seven years later, on March 7, 2003, he became the 20th player to appear in 1,400 NHL games and recorded an assist in a 7-2 loss at the Red Wings.
Montreal Canadiens Legends Do Their Thing
Perhaps the greatest Canadien of them all, Jean Beliveau, scored four times to reach 200 goals in his career on this date in 1959. He also had three assists in the Habs’ 10-2 blowout of the Red Wings. The hat trick was the ninth of his career and fourth of the season.
Dickie Moore scored twice to become the sixth player in team history to score 250 goals, on March 7, 1963, in an 8-0 win over the Bruins. Hall of Fame goaltender Jacques Plante earned his 58th career shutout.
On March 7, 1971, the Canadiens called up rookie goaltender Ken Dryden from their AHL farm club. He made his NHL debut one week later. He eventually earned the starting job and won the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the playoffs most valuable player before winning the Calder Trophy as the 1971-72 rookie of the year.
Guy Lafleur scored twice and added two assists to become the first 100-point scorer in Canadiens history, on March 7, 1975, in an 8-4 win against the Washington Capitals.
Earning Some Memorable Assists
Bill White became the first Kings player to pick up four assists in a game on this date in 1968. The defenseman helped set up four goals in a 9-2 win over the Oakland Seals.
Darryl Sittler became the Maple Leafs’ All-Time leader in assists, on March 7, 1981, during a 6-4 loss to the visiting Atlanta Flames. His 40th assist of the season broke Dave Keon‘s career record of 493.
Steve Yzerman had two helpers, on March 7, 1989, in Detroit’s 5-2 loss at the Minnesota North Stars. The two assists were his 75th and 76th on the campaign, breaking the franchise’s single-season record of 74 set by Marcel Dionne in 1974-75.
Jari Kurri was known for many years for finishing off passes by Gretzky, but he was no slouch in the assists department either. On March 7, 1992, he picked up his 600th NHL assist in a 5-3 Kings’ win over the Penguins.
Pat LaFontaine set up both Buffalo Sabres’ goals, on March 7, 1993, in a 2-1 win over the Jets. This gave him 76 assists, breaking Dale Hawerchuk’s team record set in the previous season.
Jordan Eberle picked up his 300th career assist in a 5-2 Islanders win over the Buffalo Sabres on this date in 2021.
The Art of the Shorthanded Goal
Eric Nesterenko scored a pair of shorthanded goals on March 7, 1965, as the Chicago Blackhawks rolled the Canadiens 8-0. His fifth and sixth shorties gave the Blackhawks 14 on the season, setting a new league record. Goaltender Glenn Hall picked up his 62nd career shutout in the win.
Mario Lemieux set a new Penguins’ record with his 11th shorthanded goal of the season, on March 7, 1989, in a 3-2 overtime loss at the Kings. It came on a penalty shot against goaltender Kelly Hrudey his second penalty-shot goal of the season.
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Cy Denneny scored six goals on March 7, 1921, as the Ottawa Senators beat the Hamilton Tigers 12-5. His brother Corb had a six-goal game earlier in the season, making the Denneny brothers the first to each score six times in a game.
Scotty Bowman’s playing career came to an unfortunate end on March 7, 1951, when he suffered a severe head injury during a game in juniors. He quickly turned his focus to coaching, and it is safe to say that worked out well for him. He is the NHL’s all-time leader in regular-season (1,244) and playoff (223) wins.
Related: Scotty Bowman: A Coach’s Life
Bill Clement received the first penalty-shot attempt in Flyers’ history on March 7, 1974, but Red Wings goaltender Jim Rutherford denied him. Philadelphia got the last laugh as they won the game 6-1.
Bobby Orr became the first defenseman in NHL history to score 250 goals, on March 7, 1975, with an empty netter in a 4-2 win over the Flames in Atlanta.
Lanny McDonald became the 23rd player in NHL history to scored 1,000 career points on March 7, 1989, when he netted a pair of goals in the Flames’ 9-5 win over the Jets.
On that same day, the Capitals made a pair of memorable trades. The first one involved three future Hall of Famers as they acquired the Minnesota North Stars’ all-time leading scorer Dino Ciccarelli and Bob Rouse for Mike Gartner and Larry Murphy. They also sent goaltender Clint Malarchuk and defenseman Grant Ledyard to the Sabres for defenseman Calle Johansson, who played 983 games for the Capitals over the next 15 seasons.
Kevin Stevens picked up an assist, on March 7, 1992, during the Penguins’ 5-3 loss at the Kings. This made him the first player in NHL history to have 100 points and 200 penalty minutes in the same season.
Cam Neely scored twice to reach 50 goals on the season, on March 7, 1994, as the Bruins beat the Capitals 6-3. He needed just 44 games to hit this milestone, tying him with Lemieux as the third-fastest player to score 50 goals in a season.
Teemu Selanne picked up an assist to extend his point streak to a team-record 16 games on March 7, 1999, as the Mighty Ducks won their franchise-record seventh game in a row, 3-1 over Detroit. Exactly three years later, now with the San Jose Sharks, Selanne scored his 400th career goal in a 5-2 win over the Senators. This was the Sharks’ 300th win in franchise history.
Also, on March 7, 2002, Ron Francis became just the second player in NHL history to score at least 20 goals in 19 seasons, when he two tallies in the third period of a 3-1 Carolina Hurricanes win in Pittsburgh.
Sidney Crosby became the 62nd player in league history to score 1,100 career points on March 7, 2018, when he picked up three assists in the Penguins’ 5-2 win versus the Flyers. He reached this milestone in 850 games; only 12 players did it faster.
Keith Yandle became the 352nd player and 116th defenseman to play 1,000 games in the NHL on March 7, 2021, when he played 22:19 against the Carolina Hurricanes in the Florida Panthers’ 4-2 win. He is the NHL’s reigning iron-man after passing Doug Jarvis’ 964-straight games on Jan. 26, 2022.
Alex Ovechkin kept climbing the goal-scoring charts on March 7, 2021, when he scored his 714th goal against the Flyers. It was also his 363rd on the road, passing the legendary Steve Yzerman for second behind Gretzky’s 402.
Happy Birthday to You
March 7 is the birth date of 30 current and former NHL players. The most notable of this group are Mike Eagles (60), Terry Carkner (57), Geoff Smith (54), Danny DeKeyser (33), Steve Santini (28), Michael McCarron (28), Dylan Strome (26) and Rasmus Sandin (23).