March 2 in NYR history: More heroics from Henrik Lundqvist

Jan 2, 2020; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 2, 2020; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

What happened on March 2 in the history of the New York Rangers

Call March 2 Henrik Lundqvist day.  Not only is it his birthday, but it was a notable date in his career.  On this date in 2018 he became the third goalie in NHL history with consecutive 50 save performances as he won a 3-1 decision in Calgary.

This came two days after a 50 save 6-5 overtime win over the Vancouver Canucks as the Rangers made their annual trip through Western Canada.  The last goalie to register back-to-back 50 save games was the Rangers’ Gump Worsley in 1963.   Al Rollins of the Black Hawks was the first to do it in 1955.

Since Lundqvist won both of the games, he is the only goalie to have won two straight starts with 50 saves since the NHL started tracking saves in 1955.

Only seven Rangers goalie have registered games with 50 saves or more since 1955. Lundqvist did it three times, while Worsley has the record with six 50 save games.  Mike Richter holds the Rangers record with 59 saves against Vancouver in 1991, sixth most in NHL history.  Alexandar Georgiev had 55 saves in a game against Toronto in 2019.

On this date in 2017, Lundqvist won his 403rd career win, tying Grant Fuhr for tenth place overall.   The milestone was achieved in a 2-1 win over the Bruins in Boston.

5 assists for Gilbert

On this date in 1975, Rod Gilbert notched five assists in one game, tying the franchise record and becoming the first Ranger to do it at Madison Square Garden. Walt Tkaczuk had set the record in 1972 in Pittsburgh, but Gilbert was the first to do it in front of a home crowd.  Despite the heroics, the Rangers lost 8-6 as Gilbert assisted on a Greg Polis hat trick.

The total of five assists has been matched eight times including three times by Gilbert.  The last Ranger to do it was Adam Fox last March in Philadelphia.

Barely a month after doing it the first time, Gilbert did it again in a home game versus the Kansas City Scouts. The Rangers won that game 8-2. He remains the only Ranger to accomplish the feat in a home game in the regular season.

Mikko Leinonen set the franchise record when he had six assists in a playoff game at MSG versus the Philadelphia Flyers in1982.

Today’s birthdays

28 NHL players have been born on March 2 and as previously mentioned, it is the birthdate of one of the best Rangers ever.

Henrik Lundqvist was born on this date in 1982 in Are, Sweden.   The best late round draft pick by the Rangers, the sure fire Hall of Famer played 887 games for the Rangers. He holds the single season club records for save percentage (.930) and games played (73) and the career franchise records for wins (459), shutouts (64), saves (23,509) and save percentage (.918),

He is sixth all-time in NHL history in wins and seventh in saves. His 2.43 goals against average is fourth best among goalies who have played 500 games. Bought out by the Blueshirts in 2020, he was forced to retire after undergoing heart surgery after signing with the Washington Capitals.

Darren Turcotte was born on this date in 1968 in Boston, Massachusetts.  Drafted in the sixth round of the Entry Draft in 1986, he made it to the Rangers for good in 1989 and was a scoring machine with four straight seasons of over 25 goals.

He was the fifth Ranger to have 10 points in the first five games of a season in 1990.  As a rookie he had six goals in the first 10 games of the 1989 season. He had a six-game goal scoring streak in 1992-93 and he is one of five centers in franchise history to register 65 point or more in a season before turning 26.

Unfortunately, he was not a favorite of new coach Mike Keenan and he was traded to the Hartford Whalers along with defenseman James Patrick for Steve Larmer and Nick Kypreos, missing out on the 1994 Stanley Cup run.

Eddie Johnstone was born on this date in 1954 in Brandon, Manitoba.  He was a hard nosed right winger who played seven years for the Rangers from 1974 to 1983.   He had two 30 goal seasons playing on a line with Mike Allison and Don Maloney and was selected to play in the 1981 All Star Game.  That season he was also voted the team MVP and got the Frank Boucher Trophy as the most popular player on the team as selected by the Rangers’ Fan Club.  He was traded to Detroit two years later where he finished his career.

The numbers

The Ranger have played 40 times on March 2 with a solid plus .500 record including a win via shootout.

Games: 40
Regulation wins: 19
Regulation losses: 14
Ties: 4
Overtime losses: 2
Shootout wins: 1
Points percentage: .575

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