What happened on March 18 in the history of the New York Rangers
On this date in 2014, Henrik Lundqvist became enshrined in the Rangers record books, winning his 302nd career game. With the win, he passed Mike Richter and became the goalie with the most wins in franchise history.
It wasn’t the hardest victory of his career as the Rangers won 8-4 in Ottawa. Lundqvist had 35 saves and they were led by Derick Brassard’s two goals and three points. The game was not in doubt after the Rangers scored four second period goals to take a 5-2 lead.
Lundqvist finished his Ranger career in 2020 with 459 wins, sixth on the all time list.
Seven goals for the first time
On this date in 1928, the Rangers won 7-3 over the New York Americans at Madison Square Garden. It was the first time that they scored seven goals in a game at home. Two months earlier they had scored seven goals for the first time in franchise history. Although they did it at Madison Square Garden against the New York Americans, they were considered the road team, making their seven goal outburst on this date the first time they did it at home.
First last second goal
We saw Ryan Lindgren do it earlier this season and it was one of the most thrilling wins fo the season. On November 21, he scored with less than a second left to beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4. It was on this date in 1945 that a New York Ranger player did that for the first time in franchise history.
Grant Warwick scored at 19:59 of the third period to give the Rangers a 6-5 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden. The Blueshirts had overcome a 4-2 deficit to take a 5-4 third period lead on a goal by Fred Thurier. Only 13 seconds later the Leafs knotted the score on a Lorne Carr goal setting up Warwick’s heroics.
Not only was the goal scored in the last second of the game, it was scored in the last second of the season and it ended an eight-game winless streak for the Blueshirts. It was the final goal of the season as the Rangers missed the playoffs for the third straight year.
Two records for the Canadiens
Twice on this date, Montreal set records for their fabled Canadiens’ franchise. In 1944, the Habs beat the Rangers 11-2 at the Forum and became the first and only team to go undefeated at home in a season (of 50 games or more) . They finished with a record of 22-0-3.
Only one other team has gone undefeated at home, the 1922-23 Ottawa Senators who went 11-0-1 in a 24 game season. The current New York Islanders team is 12-0-2 so far this season so they have a chance to go undefeated. Only 14 more games to go.
In 1956 on March 18, the Canadiens won 3-1 at Madison Square Garden and set a record for most wins in a season with 45. No other team was able to win as many games in a 70 game season. Since the season expanded to 78 games, 220 teams have won more than 45 games in a season.
The single season record for wins belongs to the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings who won 62 games and the Tampa Bay Lightning who equaled that number in 2018-19.
25 NHL players have been born on March 18 and only one wore the Rangers uniform, but that player was a longtime Ranger and team captain.
Bob Nevin was born on this date in 1938 in South Porcupine, Ontario. Besides coming from a town with one of the most unusual names in Canada, he played 18 years in the NHL including eight years with the Rangers. Nevin served as team captain from 1965 to 1971.
He was acquired from Toronto in 1964 in a trade for Andy Bathgate. He was a consistent 20 goal scorer while with the Rangers and a team leader. He was dealt to Minnesota in 1971 for Bobby Rousseau. Nevin won two Stanley Cups with the Maple Leafs and he scored 168 goals and 342 points in 505 games with the Blueshirts.
March 18 is just another day in a stretch of days in March with a lousy record. Only 13 wins in 38 games for the Rangers this date.
Regulation wins: 13
Regulation losses: 21
Overtime wins: 1
Shootout wins: 1
Points percentage: .421