Mr. Hockey had plenty of reasons to smile on this date in National Hockey League history, including skating with his sons. Some of the best goaltenders to ever man the crease had milestones on this date, and the number 1,000 liked to make an appearance. It’s time for our daily trip back through the decades to relive all the best moments March 9 has given us.
A Big Day for Gordie Howe
Howe had three big moments on this date, including one he got to share with his sons. In 1957, he scored twice to become the first player in Detroit Red Wings’ franchise history to score 350 goals in a 4-2 loss at the Boston Bruins.
Howe picked up three assists on March 9, 1965, and Alex Delvecchio scored twice as the Red Wings extended their team-record home winning streak to 11 straight games, with a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
Finally, on this date in 1980, Gordie skated on the same line with his sons Marty and Mark for a shift during the Hartford Whalers’ 1-1 tie with the Bruins. The three Howes played together for both the Houston Aeros and Whalers in the World Hockey Association before Hartford is merged into the NHL.
Gordie and Mark played the entire 1979-80 season with the Whalers, but Marty spends most of the time in minor leagues. He is recalled in early March and eventually got to take part in this historic shift.
Lorne Chabot became the first goaltender in Toronto Maple Leafs history to win 20 games in one season, on March 9, 1929, by beating the visiting Detroit Cougars 3-0. This was his 11th shutout of the season.
Ken Dryden became just the fourth netminder in NHL history to record six 30-win seasons, on March 9, 1978, in a 4-1 Canadiens’ win over the visiting Maple Leafs. Defenseman Larry Robinson led the scoring with four assists.
Tom Barrasso became the first backstop in Pittsburgh Penguins’ history to get 30 wins in a season, on March 9, 1993, with a 3-2 victory over the Bruins. It was the start of an NHL-record 17 game winning streak for the Penguins.
Bill Ranford became just the third goaltender to win 10 or more games with two teams in one season, on March 9, 1996, when the Bruins beat the visiting Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. He had previously won 13 games with the Edmonton Oilers before being traded to Boston.
On March 9, 1999, Martin Brodeur became the first netminder in NHL history to earn at least 30 wins in four straight seasons. He made 21 saves on this night to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 win over the Penguins. He won at least 30 games in each of his next eight seasons to extend this impressive streak to 12 consecutive seasons.
Multiple Memories for a Trio of Hall of Famers
Gilbert Perreault had five assists on March 9, 1980, as the Buffalo Sabres beat the visiting St. Louis Blues 9-4. Rick Martin also had a five-point night with four goals and an assist. Six years later, Perrault scored his 500th career goal in a 4-3 win against the Devils. The victory extended Buffalo’s home undefeated streak versus New Jersey to nine games (8-0-1).
On March 9, 1987, Bernie Federko had three assists in the Blues’ 3-2 overtime win over the Maple Leafs. This made him the 29th player in NHL history to score 900 career points. Three years later, he became the first player in St. Louis franchise history to score 350 goals. He also had an assist in another defeat of Toronto, this time 4-1.
Luc Robitaille set up two goals, on March 9, 2000, in the Los Angeles Kings’ 3-1 win over the visiting New York Rangers. The assists gave him 500 in a Kings’ uniform, the fourth player to accomplish this feat. Four years later, he became just the 10th player in NHL history to score 650 career goals. His milestone goal was the game-winner in the Kings’ 3-2 victory against the Phoenix Coyotes.
A Grand Ole Time
Dino Ciccarelli scored a goal to become the 40th player in NHL history to record 1,000 career points on March 9, 1994, as the Red Wings won 5-1 at the Calgary Flames.
On March 9, 2002, Joe Sakic played in his 1,000th NHL game and had a goal and an assist as the Colorado Avalanche beat the Kings 4-3. He became the 34th player in league history to play 1,000 games with one franchise.
That same evening, Cliff Ronning also scored a goal and added an assist while playing in his 1,000th NHL game, a Nashville Predators’ 2-2 with the Florida Panthers. He and Sakic made the 1,000-games-played list grow to 176 members.
Odds & Ends
Frank Boucher, an original member of the Rangers, became the first player to record 250 career assists on March 9, 2917. After scoring a first-period goal, he helped set up an Alex Shibicky tally in the second period of a 7-5 overtime win over the New York Americans.
Sid Abel scored his final goal as a member of the Red Wings, on March 9, 1952, in a 6-1 win over the Maple Leafs. The goal was assisted by Howe and Ted Lindsay, his longtime linemates on the famed “Production Line.” Able was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in the offseason after 183 goals and 463 points in 570 games for Detroit.
Bernie Geoffrion scored his 10th career hat trick on March 9, 1960, to become the fourth Canadiens player and eighth in NHL history to score 250 goals. He also picked up a pair of assists as Montreal beat the rival Maple Leafs 9-4.
Bobby Orr set the single-season NHL record for goals by a defenseman on March 9, 1975, when he netted his 38th during the Bruins’ 5-2 win versus the Atlanta Flames. He also had three assists to become the first blueliner to have 600 in his career. Gregg Sheppard added some excitement by scoring two shorthanded goals in 21 seconds for Boston.
On that same night, the Canadiens broke the NHL record for power-play goals in a season, with their 82nd in a 5-3 win at the Rangers. The current record is 119, set by the 1988-89 Penguins.
Rookie Bernie Nicholls scored his first NHL goal, on March 9, 1982, in the Kings’ 2-0 win at the Colorado Rockies.
Theo Fleury set a new NHL record, on March 9, 1991, by scoring three shorthanded goals during the Flames’ 8-4 win at the Blues. Doug Gilmour scored a goal in the victory to pick up his 600th career point.
In Montreal, on that same night, John LeClair made his NHL debut and scored his first goal in a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Teemu Selanne’s record-breaking rookie season continued on March 9, 1993, when he scored his fifth hat trick, including his first penalty-shot goal, to reach the 100-point mark. He became the fourth rookie to have a 100-point season in the Winnipeg Jets’ 4-2 win at the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Al MacInnis became the fifth defenseman in NHL history to record 800 career assists, on March 9, 2000, in the Blues 2-2 tie with the Canucks.
On March 9, 2004, the Maple Leafs acquired Hall of Fame center Ron Francis from the Carolina Hurricanes for a fourth-round draft pick. He played the final 12 games of his career with Toronto, scoring three goals and 10 points. He had four assists in 12 postseason games before their season came to an end. The Hurricanes eventually traded the draft pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets and they drafted Jared Boll, who played 518 games for them.
Nicklas Lidstrom had a goal and three assists, on March 9, 2006, in the Red Wings 7-3 win over the Kings. The performance gave him 789 points, two more than Maple Leafs great Borje Salming, making him the highest-scoring Swedish-born defenseman in NHL history.
Happy Birthday to You
Hall of Fame defenseman Phil Housley, who turns 57 today, headlines a group of 24 current or former players born on March 9. Other notable birthday boys include Paul MacLean (63), Perry Turnbull (62), Radek Dvorak (44), Chris Phillips (43), Brent Burns (36), Colin Greening (35), Bryan Bickell (35), Ryan Dzingel (29), Mikka Salomaki (28), Morgan Rielly (27), Mackenzie MacEachern (27) and Riley Stillman (23).
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.