On February 27 in NYR history: Lafleur turns back the clock

Guy Lafleur #10 of the New York Rangers skates (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Guy Lafleur #10 of the New York Rangers skates (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

What happened on February 27 in the history of the New York Rangers

Guy Lafleur‘s return to hockey after three years away from hockey  was one of the great stories of the late 1980s.   The fact that he did it with the New York Rangers made it even better. Already inducted into the Hall of Fame, Lafleur came out of retirement and scored 18 goals and 45 points in 67 games.

On this date in 1989 “The Flower” scored the 17th and final hat trick of his glorious career, in a 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Madison Square Garden.  It was his first hat trick in five years and brought back memories of prior glory for the 37-year-old hockey immortal.

With Montreal, he had been the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals and 100 points in six consecutive season and was a five-time Stanley Cup champion.  He had retired in 1984 when he couldn’t get along with Canadiens coach Jacques Lemaire and the team had refused his request to be traded.

This was the last blaze of glory in his one season in New York.   Lafleur would score only one more goal in the last 16 games of the season and over the summer he signed with Quebec and played two more seasons in the NHL.

In the same game, in a sort of passing of the torch, Brian Leetch scored his 20th goal of the season, becoming the second rookie defenseman to do that in NHL history.  Barry Beck had been the first in 1978.

Setting a record

On this date in 2020, the Rangers won their franchise record ninth straight road game, a 5-2 win in Montreal.  They had already broken the franchise record of seven consecutive road wins and this was their last win before they dropped a 5-2 decision the next day in Philadelphia.   Only 16 teams in NHL history have won that many consecutive road games with Detroit (2006) and Minnesota (2015) sharing the record with 12.

A long overdue win

On this date in 1993, Mike Richter shut  out the Oilers 1-0 in Edmonton.  It was the first 1-0 road shutout for the Rangers since 1971.  The last time had been on February 4, 1971 in Detroit and it was Gilles Villemure who pitched the shutout.

Richter made 29 saves for his first shutout of the season and Tony Amonte scored the game’s only goal late in the second period.

Today’s birthdays

26 NHL players and four New York Rangers have been born on this date.

John Davidson was born on this date in 1953 in Ottawa, Ontario.  Although drafted by the St. Louis Blues, he was traded to New York in 1975 and became a fixture on the Rangers hockey scene for the next 30 years. As goalie, he led the team to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1979 and after he retired he was in the Rangers broadcast booth for over 20 years.

After serving as president of the St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets, he came home to the Rangers in the same role in May 2019 only to be fired last May.

Jerry Butler was born on this date in 1951 in Sarnia, Ontario  The right winger was known as “Bugsy” for his feistiness and he played three seasons in  New York as a fan favorite when he was traded to the Blues along with Teddy Irvine and Bert Wilson for John Davidson (who shares the same birthday).   He played 11 years in the NHL, but never scored more than the 17 goals he notched in 1974-75 with the Blueshirts. .

Ab Demarco Jr. was born on February 27, 1949 in  Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Ab Demarco Sr. who also played for the Rangers.  The younger Demarco was a defenseman who played parts of four seasons for the Rangers from 1969 to 1973 before he was traded to St. Louis.  He was born in Cleveland because his dad was playing for the AHL Barons that year.

Dallas Eakins was a defenseman who was born on this date in 1967 in Dade City, Florida.  He played only three games for the Rangers in 1996-97 acquired at the trade deadline as a depth defenseman.  He signed as a free agent with Florida after that season.  Eakins was a well traveled defender who played 10 years in he NHL for seven teams.  He is currently the coach of the Anaheim Ducks.

The numbers

The Rangers have played 40 games in their history on February 27 with a lot of success losing only 13 games in regulation.

Games: 40
Regulation wins: 21
Regulation losses: 13
Ties: 4
Overtime wins: 1
Overtime losses: 1
Points percentage: .612

More. A tough 1-0 road loss. light