March 30 has been an eventful date in National Hockey League history. There were many Stanley Cup Playoff firsts and four new teams were added to the league. Some of the biggest names the game has ever seen left their mark on this date. Let’s take our daily trip back in time to relive all the best memories this date has given us over the decades.
Stanley Cup Firsts
On March 30, 1916, the Montreal Canadiens won the first of their 24 Stanley Cup championships. This was before the formation of the NHL. The Canadiens were playing in the National Hockey Association and beat the Portland Rosebuds of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association 2-1 in the fifth and final game of the series. Each player received a $238 bonus for winning the Cup.
Two years later, the Toronto Arenas beat the Vancouver Millionaires in Game 5 of their championship series to become the first NHL team ever to win the Stanley Cup. The Arenas, who would later become the Maple Leafs, won the inaugural NHL championship and played the Millionaires, who won the PCHA title, for the Stanley Cup.
In a fun twist, the two leagues played by different rules. The NHL used the six players on the ice that we are used to seeing, but the PCHA used a seventh skated as a “rover.” Before the series started, the two teams agreed to play by NHL rules in the odd-numbered games and PCHA rules in the even-numbered ones.
Maurice “Rocket” Richard scored the first of his NHL-record three Stanley Cup Final overtime goals on March 30, 1946, to give the Canadiens a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the championship series. It was also his eighth straight game with a goal, another league record.
On March 30, 1957, Richard had a goal and an assist in an 8-3 win over the New York Rangers in Game 3 of their semifinal series. Richard became the first player in NHL history to score 100 points in the postseason.
Richard’s 126 career playoff points have him at 51st on the all-time scoring list. There are currently 101 players who have at least 100 points in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Corey Perry of the Tampa Bay Lightning was the latest to join the club when he recorded 10 points as a member of the Canadiens in their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2021. However, Richard’s mark is impressive when you consider the playoffs were only two rounds during his career. He never played more than 12 games in a single postseason.
NHL Expands to 21
On March 30, 1979, the NHL announced that it would be adding four teams from the World Hockey Association to expand from 17 to 21 teams for the 1979-80 season. The Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers, Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques became expansion teams. The two remaining teams, the Cincinnati Stingers and Birmingham Bulls were each given $1.5 million for their troubles and ceased operations.
The four teams who entered the NHL were all charged a $6 million expansion fee. They were each allowed to keep only two skaters and two goaltenders before the NHL teams could reclaim any of their players who switched leagues. The league then held an expansion draft so the four newest franchises could fill out their rosters.
The Oilers have had the most success by winning five Stanley Cups and they are the only team who has not relocated since joining the league. The Whalers are now the Carolina Hurricanes, the Nordiques have become the Colorado Avalanche and the original Jets moved to the desert and became the Phoenix Coyotes.
More Memories in Edmonton
There were plenty of other big moments for the Oilers on this date in addition to officially becoming part of the NHL.
In 1988, Wayne Gretzky tied Mike Bossy’s NHL record of nine consecutive 40-goal seasons, as the Oilers beat the Minnesota North Stars 6-3. He broke this record the following season and extended his streak to 12 straight seasons before scoring 31 goals in 1991-92. Grant Fuhr set an NHL single-season for games played by a goaltender by appearing in his 74th contest.
Doug Weight had a goal and an assist on March 30, 1996, during a 4-3 loss to the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. This made him the seventh player in Oilers history to have a 100-point season and the first since Mark Messier in 1989-90.
Two years later, Dean McAmmond scored the 6,000th goal in franchise history during a 3-1 win against the visiting Calgary Flames. Ron Low became just the second head coach to win 100 games behind the bench in Edmonton with the victory.
March Records Set
On March 30, 1975, the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 at the old Spectrum in the regular-season finale. The victory gave them 13 wins during March, the most by any NHL team during a single month.
Teemu Selanne made history on March 30, 1993. He finished up his incredible rookie season with a goal and two assists in a 5-4 win at the Calgary Flames. He became the first NHL player ever to score 20 goals in a single month.
Tomas Vokoun made 35 saves for the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 2-0 win over the New York Islanders on March 30, 2013. The Penguins finished March with a perfect 15-0-0 record, becoming the first team in league history to win every game in a full month.
Defensemen Take Center Stage
On March 30, 1969, the Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 9-5 in a rather historic game. Chicago defenseman Pat Stapleton tied an NHL single-game record by picking up six assists in the game. The huge performance made him the first blueliner in league history to have 50 assists in a season.
On that same day, the Boston Bruins wrapped up their season with a 6-3 win over the Canadiens. Legendary defenseman Bobby Orr finished the regular season with 21 goals and 64 points, both NHL records for defensemen. The Bruins also became the first team in NHL history to score 300 goals in a season.
Another Bruins Hall of Famer, Ray Bourque, became just the second defenseman ever to have 900 assists when he gets two helpers in a 3-2 victory over the Islanders on March 30, 1995. He finished his career with 1,169 assists, which is still the record for NHL defensemen.
With another goal in the 5-2 victory over the Capitals on March 30, 2021, Adam Fox recorded his 20th point (three goals, 17 assists) to become the third Rangers defenseman all-time to score that many in a calendar month. He joined Rangers great Brian Leetch, who did it five times in his career, and Brad Park, who did it once.
Keeping it 100
Gordie Howe became the third player in NHL history and the first Red Wing to score 100 points in one season on March 30, 1969, with a goal in a 9-5 loss to the Blackhawks.
On March 30, 1976, Jean Ratelle scored a goal and added two assists in the Bruins’ 4-4 tie with the Buffalo Sabres. He became the first player in NHL to score 100 points while playing for two teams in the same season. He was part of the big trade on Nov. 7, 1975, that sent Phil Esposito to the Rangers.
Guy Chouinard scored a goal to become the second player in Atlanta Flames history to put up 100 points in a season on March 30, 1979, in a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. This came just two weeks after Bob MacMillan became the Flames’ first 100-point scorer.
Bryan Trottier scored a goal and tacked on two assists to give him 100 points for the third straight season on March 30, 1980, in a 9-6 New York Islanders win over the Nordiques.
Dino Ciccarelli scored his 100th point of the season on March 30, 1987, when he picked up an assist for the Minnesota North Stars in a 6-5 loss to the Rangers. This was the second and final 100-point season of his career.
A year later, Luc Robitaille scored twice and added four assists in a 9-7 Kings’ win over the Calgary Flames to give him his first of four career 100-point seasons. Jimmy Carson had four goals and had two assists. His 55th goal and 106th point were the most ever by a U.S-born player. He also became the first U.S.-born player to score 50 goals and have 50 assists in a season.
Related: The Best Late-Round NHL Draft Picks
The Maple Leafs reached the 100-point mark for the fourth time in their history on March 30, 2018, by defeating the Islanders 5-4. Goaltender Frederik Andersen earned his 37th win, tying the Maple Leafs’ single-season record held by Ed Belfour (2002-03) and Andrew Raycroft (2006-07).
Feel the Bern
Hall of Fame goaltender Bernie Parent had a historic evening on March 30, 1974. Parent beat the Bruins 5-3 to pick up his 45th win of the season, breaking the previous record held by Terry Sawchuck, who won 44 games in 1950-51 and again in 1951-52.
He finished the season with 47 wins, a record he held for 33 years. Martin Brodeur won 48 games for the New Devils in 2006-07 and Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals tied that mark in 2015-16.
The victory gave him 100 in his career, making him the first goaltender in Philadelphia Flyers franchise history to win 100 games. He retired with 231 wins in a Flyers uniform, second-all time to Ron Hextall’s 240 wins. The only other Flyers goaltender to join the century club is Steve Mason, who had 104 wins in Philadelphia.
Odds & Ends
The Canadiens set a playoff record for goals in one period on March 30, 1944, when they scored seven in the third period of Game 5 in their Stanley Cup Semifinal series. Ray Getliffe and Richard led the way with five points apiece in an 11-0 win to clinch the series over the Maple Leafs.
That same night, Doug Bentley scored a hat trick for the second consecutive game, leading the Blackhawks a 5-2 series-clinching victory against the Red Wings in Game 5 of the other Semifinal series.
Steve Vickers scored four goals and Rod Gilbert had five assists for the Rangers on March 30, 1975, in an 8-2 victory against the Kansas City Scouts. All of the points except one assist (by Gilles Marotte) are credited to forwards as New York outshot Kansas City 59-18.
Bobby Clarke scored his 358th and final NHL goal on March 30, 1984, while adding two assists in a 6-2 Flyers win at the New Jersey Devils.
Mario Lemieux scored four goals on March 30, 1989, in a Pittsburgh Penguins’ 9-5 loss to the Whalers. Included in those four tallies was his 13th shorthanded goal of the season, breaking the record of 12 set by Gretzky in 1983-84.
Guy Lafleur scored his 560th and final NHL goal on March 30, 1991, in the Nordiques’ 4-3 loss to Montreal. It was appropriate that he scored his final goal against the Canadiens as the first 518 of his career were scored for them.
On the same night, Steve Yzerman hit the 50-goal mark for the fourth consecutive season with a goal in the Red Wings’ 6-5 win against the visiting Rangers.
Related: Steve Yzerman: The Legendary Captain
Martin Brodeur became the first goaltender in NHL history to have four 40-win seasons on March 30, 2003, as he and the Devils beat the Islanders 6-0. Joe Nieuwendyk became the 100th NHL player to record 500 career assists. A year later, Brodeur became the eighth goaltender with 75 career shutouts. Pat Burns became the ninth head coach to join the 500-win club with the 5-0 blanking of the Rangers.
Alex Ovechkin scored twice for his eighth 50-goal season on March 30, 2019, to lead the Washington Capitals to a 6-3 win at the Lightning. He became the fifth player to have multiple 50-goal seasons after turning 30, joining Esposito, Marcel Dionne, Bobby Hull and Lemieux. The two goals gave him 658 in his career, moving him ahead of Brendan Shanahan for 13th on the league’s all-time list.
Happy Birthday to You
A large and talented group of 33 current and former players share a March 30 birthday. The most successful of this bunch are Dennis Ververgaert (69), Randy Hiller (62), Doug Wickenheiser (61), Dave Ellett (58), Ty Conklin (46), Michael Haley (36), and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (35).
Matthew Zator is a THW freelance writer, media editor, and scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.