On March 19 in NYR history: Jaromir Jagr, goal scoring machine

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 06: Jaromir Jagr #68 of the New York Rangers skates against the New York Islanders on March 6, 2008 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 06: Jaromir Jagr #68 of the New York Rangers skates against the New York Islanders on March 6, 2008 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

What happened on March 19 in the history of the New York Rangers

On this date in 2007, Jaromir Jagr became the first NHL player to score 25 or more goals in each of his first 16 seasons.  It’s a record never achieved by Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Brett Hull or any of the great goal scorers in NHL history and Jagr accomplished it as a Ranger.

The goal came in a 2-1 win over his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, as Jagr scored the tiebreaker with just 33.8 seconds left in the game. He would go on to score five more times to finish with 30 goals.  The only time he failed to hit the 30 goal mark in his first 16 seasons was his rookie year when he scored 27.

Jagr would play one more year in New York and add to his record, scoring exactly 25 goals in 2007-08 at age 38, ending the streak at 17 years. Unbelievably, Jagr would score 27 goals for Florida at age 43.

Alexander Ovechkin was a lock to exceed Jagr’s record streak, but the pandemic shortened 2020-21 season limited him to 24 goals, ending his run of 25-goals seasons at 15.  Ovechkin had also scored over 30 goals in his first 15 seasons before he fell short of that total due to COVID.

Two assists in a game for Ed-die

On this date in 1972, Ed Giacomin became the first NHL goalie to register two assists in one game. He had the two assists in a 5-3 win over Toronto at Madison Square Garden. He assisted on a second period goal by Bill Fairbairn and got the record on a third period goal by Pete Stemkowski.

It gave Giacomin three assists on the season, tying Bernie Parent’s NHL record set in 1969-70.   Eddie Johnston of Boston and Al Smith of Detroit finished the 1971-72 season with four assists to break Parent’s record.

Since Giacomin did it, 35 other NHL goalies have had two assists in a game including Jeff Reese of the Calgary Flames who broke the record by notching three assists in a game in 1993.

This was the only time that Giacomin accomplished the feat.  John Vanbiesbrouck did it in 1985 and Mike Richter had two games with two assists.

Lots of goals in a tie

In 1978 on March 19, the Rangers played a 7-7 tie with the Minnesota North Stars.  It happened in Minneapolis and it was the most goals every scored by the Rangers in a tie game.  In the same game, Phil Esposito got his 1,400 NHL point, the second player in league history to hit that mark.

The Rangers had taken a 7-6 lead on a Ron Greschner goal with only 1:19 left in the third period, but the North Stars got the tie with the goalie pulled and 46 seconds left when Brad Maxwell scored.

Another Canadiens record at the Rangers’ expense

With a six team league and a powerhouse Montreal Canadiens team, it often seemed like the Habs set some sort of record every time they played the Blueshirts.  On this date in 1944, the Canadiens beat New York 6-1 at Madison Square Garden in the final game of the season.

With the win, the Canadiens finished 25 points ahead of second place Detroit, the widest margin between the top two teams in the league in NHL history.   The Habs came close to equaling that mark with a 24 point spread in 1956, but no one else has been in the ballpark.

Today’s birthdays

There have been 20 NHL players born on March 19 with four who have won the Rangers uniform.

Mike Mottau was born on this date in 1978 in Quincy, Massachusetts.   He was drafted by the Rangers in the seventh round of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.  They thought they had struck late round gold when he won the Hobey Baker Award after his senior year at Boston College.

Unfortunately, he never made it with the Rangers, playing 19 games over two seasons, but he did become a regular on the blue line for the Devils for over three seasons and he played 321 games in the NHL for six different teams. He is one of the few players who has played for all three metropolitan area teams.

Larry Patey was born on this date in 1953 in Toronto, Ontario.  He was a defensive specialist center who played 12 years mostly with the St. Louis Blues.  The Rangers acquired him at the tail end of his career and he played 16 games over two seasons.

Eddie Wares was a versatile player who played defense and forward in a nine year NHL career. He was born on this date in 1915 in Calgary, Alberta.  He played two games for the Rangers in 1936-37 before being traded to Detroit where he won a Stanley Cup in 1943.

Barrett Heisten was born on this date in 1980 in Anchorage, Alaska.  Drafted by the Sabres in the first round of the 1999 Draft, he never signed with them and the Rangers inked him as a free agent in 2001.  He played 10 games for the Blueshirts in 2001-02, but the left winger never made it on the scoresheet.  He spent most of the season in the AHL and never made it back to the NHL.  His one distinction is that he was the first player born in Alaska to play for the Rangers.

The numbers

The Rangers have played 38 games on March 19 and are two games under .500, but have a plus points percentage due to six ties and a shootout win.

Games: 38
Regulation wins: 14
Regulation losses: 16
Ties: 6
Overtime losses: 1
Shootout wins: 1
Points percentage: .513

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