March 26 in NYR history: Best record in the NHL & it took 50 years

NY Rangers (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
NY Rangers (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
New York Rangers logo (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
New York Rangers logo (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

What happened on March 26 in the history of the New York Rangers

On this date in 1992, the New York Rangers clinched the regular season title, their first in 50 years and only the second time in franchise history.   They won their first Presidents’ Trophy, an award that had been introduced in the 1985-86 season.

The Rangers had finished the 1941-42 season with the best record in the NHL. That was the only time that they had done so, until March 26, 1992.   They clinched the title when Pittsburgh beat Vancouver so they didn’t have to win a game to do it.  The Rangers finished with 105 points and a 50-25-5 record.  They were led by Hart Trophy winner Mark Messier and Norris Trophy winner Brian Leetch.

Since 1992, the Rangers have won the Presidents’ Trophy two more times, in 1994 and 2015, making them NHL regular season champs four times.  That pales in comparison to the Montreal Canadiens who have done it 20 times.  Ironically, the Canadiens have never won the President’s Trophy since it was established.

A triple OT win

On this date in 1932, the Rangers won a triple overtime thriller over the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in the second game of the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals.    The Habs had opened at 3-1 lead early in the third period, but the Rangers came roaring  back and Ching Johnson tied the score 5:40 into the period on an end-to-end rush.   That led to the overtime.

The teams played almost three full periods of scoreless hockey before Bun Cook took a pass from his brother, Bill and beat Canadiens goalie George Hainsworth.   John Ross Roach was in goal for the Blueshirts .

The game was the second longest game in NHL playoffs history.  The Rangers had lost to Montreal in 1930 in quadruple overtime.

Montreal  had won the first game of the best-of-five series and the Rangers, spurred on by their win, took the next two games from the Canadiens to win the series three games to one  They would be swept in three games by Toronto in the Final.

Ponder this.  The teams had only 14 skaters dressed for the game and after the overtime game ended at 12:40am, both teams had to play Game Three the next day and travel from Montreal by train to New York to boot.  Things were very different in those day.

Today’s  birthdays

27 NHL players have been born on March 27 including four former New York Rangers, one who is still in the NHL.

Brady Skjei was born on this date in1994 in Lakeville, Minnesota.  A first round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Skjei played five years in New York before his trade at the 2020 NHL trade deadline  to the Carolina Hurricanes for a first round draft pick.

Ulf Samuelsson was born on this date in 1964 in Fagersta, Sweden.  A strong defenseman, Samuelsson played seven years for Hartford and then five years in Pittsburgh, winning two Stanley Cups.  Traded with Ron Francis to the Penguins, this was a trade that played a huge part in the two Cup wins.  He was then dealt to the Rangers in 1995 along with Luc Robitaille for Serger Zubov and Petr Nedved.   He played four seasons in New York, but wasn’t able to duplicate his prior success.  He also served as an assistant coach for the Rangers under Alain Vigneault.

Greg Moore was a right winger born on this date in 1984 in Lisbon, Maine.  Drafted by Calgary, he was traded to the Rangers in 2004 and  he played six scoreless games for them in 2007-08.  He had a long career in the minor leagues and only made it back to the NHL for four games with Columbus in 2010.

Roger Leger was  born on this date 1919 in  L’Annonciation, Quebec.  He played seven games for the Rangers in 1943-44  before finishing his career with four years in Montreal.  In his seven games the defenseman scored on goal and added two assists.

The numbers

A sub .500 record on March 26 in franchise history.  In the playoffs on this date, the Rangers have won four of eight games played.

Games: 24
Regulation wins: 9
Regulation losses: 11
Ties: 2
Shootout wins: 1
Shootout losses: 1
Points percentage: .458

Playoffs games: 8
Wins: 3
Losses: 3
Ties: 1
Overtime wins: 1
Winning percentage: 50%

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