Today in Hockey History: March 21
Now that we don’t have any current hockey games to write about and breakdown for you, the logical thing to do was to back in time and look at some of the greatest moments and achievements in this wonderful sport. Welcome to our new daily feature, which will hopefully bring back some great memories and get us all through these strange days with no hockey.
Tugnutt Goes Crazy in Boston
Not only did Ron Tugnutt have one of the best names in NHL history, but he also put together quite the career. He won 186 games and had 26 shutouts over the course of a 16-year career that saw him play in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
On March 21, 1991, Tugnutt started for the Quebec Nordiques at the old Boston Garden and was pushed to the limits by the Boston Bruins. He was peppered with 73 shots and stopped 70 of them and yet, he didn’t win. The game ended in a 3-3 tie with the Bruins holding a 73-26 shot advantage.
Tugnutt faced 17 shots I the first period, 19 in the second and 25 in the third period. He stopped all 12 shots he saw in the five-minute overtime session to earn the tie.
Even though 70 saves are incredible, it was still 10 saves shy of the all-time record. Sam LoPresti holds that one when he made 80 saves for the Chicago Black Hawks in a game against the Bruins on March 5, 1941. LoPresti later left the NHL to serve in the U.S. Navy and was aboard a merchant ship that was torpedoed and spent 42 days on a lifeboat before being rescued.
CBC Starts a New Tradition
Although Hockey Night in Canada origins began with radio broadcasts as early as 1929, the roots for a long run on television began on March 21, 1951. This was the first time the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation televised a live NHL game.
The cameras were set up inside the old Maple Leaf Garden as the Toronto Maple Leafs hosted the Montreal Canadiens. The first broadcast was only viewed by six people, watching the feed in the arena’s radio control room, but it set the foundation for what was to come.
The CBC began airing games on Saturday nights in 1952. Beginning with the 1967 Stanley Cup playoffs all Hockey Night in Canada games were broadcast in color going forward. CBC’s deal with the NHL ran out following the 2013-14 season and rights for the national broadcasts were given to Rogers Communications. As part of the deal, CBC sublicensed a package of games from Rogers, allowing the network to continue airing Hockey Night in Canada at least the first four seasons of the agreement.
Penguins Make Plenty of History
The Pittsburgh Penguins have enjoyed playing on March 21 over the years. On March 21, 1993, Mario Lemieux and Kevin Stevens both lit the lamp in the first period of a 6-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers in a neutral-site game played in Cleveland, OH. It was the 50th goal of the season for both players as they became the first set of teammates in league history to reach 50 goals in the same game.
Exactly five years later, the number 1,000 was lucky during a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at the old Civic Arena. Future Hall of Famer Ron Francis picked up 1,00th career assist to help the Penguins become 10th team in the NHL to win 1,000 games.
Happy Birthday to You
A total of 24 players who have skated in the NHL have been born on March 21. Among the most notable include Hall of Fame center Duke Keats, who played in the 1932 Stanley Cup Final as a member of the Edmonton Eskimos from the old WCHL.
Al Iafrate is celebrating his 54th birthday today. The Dearborn, MI native had 152 goals and 463 points in 799 games for the Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, Bruins and San Jose Sharks. He is best remembered for his unique personality and deadly slapshot, which was recorded at 105.2 miles per hour at the 1993 NHL Skills Competition. That record stood until Zdeno Chara broke it 16 years later.
Former New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan Callahan is turning 35 today. He had 186 goals and 386 points in 757 games before calling it a career following the 2018-19 season. He was part of the 2015 Lightning team that made it to the Stanley Cup Final.
Happy Birthday to guys as well as best wishes to all of you reading this who are also celebrating your big day.
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