On March 22 in NYR history: Drury wins 21 faceoffs in one game

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19: Chris Drury #23 of the New York Rangers skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden on January 19, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19: Chris Drury #23 of the New York Rangers skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden on January 19, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

What happened on March 22 in the history of the New York Rangers

It may seem impossible to fans of the 2021-22 New York Rangers, but a Blueshirt once won over 20 faceoffs in one game. It happened on this date in 2009 and it was Chris Drury who set a franchise record by winning 21 faceoffs.

The NHL has been tracking draws since 2005-06 so it is very possible that earlier in the history of the team, another player had won as many as 21 faceoffs, but Drury holds the record.  It’s not even close to the NHL record of 31 , set by Boston’s Patrice Bergeron in 2015.

Drury won 21 of 28 draws in a 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden.  Drury has been joined by Vinny Prospal and Eric Staal as the only Blueshirts to win over 20 draws in a game. Drury won 20 draws in a game once as a Buffalo Sabre.

This season, the most faceoffs won in a game has been 17 by Mika Zibanejad against the Devils on March 4.

A big night for the offense

On this date in 1992, the Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils 6-3 at Madison Square Garden. It was a recording setting night for superstars Mark Messier and Brian Leetch.   Leetch had two assists in the game, his 18th multi-assist game of the season, tying the Rangers record set by Jean Ratelle in 1971-72.   That record still stands though Artemi Panarin had a good chance of breaking it two years agor when he had 15 multi-assist games in the COVID shortened season.  He has a shot at the record this season as he has had 14 multi-assist games already with 19 games left to do it.

Mark Messier scored four goals and became the fourth player in franchise history to top the 100 point mark.  Three of the goals were on the power play, second most in club history after the four scored by Camille Henry in 1954.

A milestone for the King

In 2014 on this date, Henrik Lundqvist posted a 2-0 road shutout over the New Jersey Devils.  That gave him 50 career shutouts and he passed Eddie Giacomin for the most in Rangers franchise history.

Giacomin had 49 shutouts in ten seasons with the Rangers.  Lundqvist was in his ninth season with the Rangers when he set the record and he finished with 64 career shutouts as a Blueshirt.

Greschner’s big year

On this date in 1978, Ron Greschner joined an elite club, topping the 20 goal mark.  He became the second Rangers defenseman to top 20 goals in a season, joining Brad Park who had done it twice. Greschner finished the season with 24 goals, one behind Park’s club record.

Greschner also scoring a hat trick that night, becoming the fourth Ranger to accomplish that feat.  He joined Leo Bourgeault, Brad Park and Carol Vadnais in the record books.  The goals came in a 6-1 win over the Blues in St. Louis.

A lot of goals

On March 22, 1981, the Rangers tied the Quebec Nordiques 7-7 at Madison Square Garden.   That equaled a team record for most goals in a tie game.  They had previously had a 7-7 tie with the Minnesota North Stars in 1978.

At least they got a point out of the game. Three times in their history the Rangers had scored seven goals only to lose and in 1944, they scored nine goals in a game and lost 10-9 to the Bruins.

Today’s birthdays

There have been 27 NHL players born on March 22 with four former Rangers in that group including one player who was undeservedly reviled by Ranger fans.

Tom Poti was born on this date in 1977 in Worcester, Massachusetts.   The defenseman became a Ranger at the trade deadline in 2002 in a deal from Edmonton for Mike York.  This had to be one of Glen Sather’s most unpopular acquisitions as York was an 18 goal scorer and Poti came with high expectations as an offensive blueliner.

With Poti running the power play, the Rangers never made the playoffs and he became the target of the MSG boo birds.  A scapegoat for the team’s lack of success and the perception that he was a “soft” player, later in his Ranger career he was booed whenever he touched the puck until he left via free agency in 2006.

Was the criticism unfair?  Probably.  One reason was that the team kept Poti while trading Brian Leetch in 2004. The booing peaked in 2005-06 when he was supplanted by Fedor Tyutin on the power play. He was a durable player who scored 11 and 10 goals in his first two seasons.

Dunc Wilson was a goalie born on this date in 1948 in Toronto, Ontario.   He spent parts of two seasons with the Rangers, with a record of 6-11-3 and an unimpressive 4.25 Goals Against Average and .861 Save Percentage.  A waiver claim from Toronto, he served as John Davidson’s primary backup in the 1975-76 season, appearing in 20 games.  He was traded to Pittsburgh where he had one outstanding season, chosen as the team’s MVP with 18 wins.

Todd Charlesworth was a defenseman born on this date in 1965 in Calgary, Alberta.  He played 93 NHL games over six years, the first five with Pittsburgh.  Traded to the Rangers in January 1990, he played seven games in New York before missing the entire next season with a thumb injury. He came back from the injury to play in the minors, but never made it back to the NHL.

Eddie Rodden was born on March 22 in 1901 in Mattawa, Ontario.  A center, Rodden played 19 games for the Rangers in the 1930-31 season notching three assists.  He had won a Stanley Cup with the Bruins the year before he joined the Rangers, though he didn’t play in the playoffs for Boston.

The numbers

The Rangers are under .500 in their 39 games played on this date, though they have played two playoffs games and split them.

Games: 39
Regulation wins: 16
Regulation losses: 19
Ties: 3
Overtime losses: 1
Points percentage: .462

Playoffs games: 2
Wins: 1
Losses: 1
Winning percentage:  50%

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