Today in hockey history, a bunch of ancient playoff games, including two Cup-clinching games and a ridiculous blowout. Also, the NHL expands, one of the worst teams of all time, and celebrating the accomplishment of a referee.
March 30, 1916 – The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Portland Rosebuds (PCHA) 2-1 in the fifth and final game of the series to win their first Stanley Cup – the first of an all-time record of 24, two of which came before the era when NHL teams were the only teams allowed to compete for the Cup. Also, each player on the team received a whopping $238 for the victory. Wow, that could get a person a whole four gallons of gas these days!
March 30, 1918 – The Toronto Arenas beat the Vancouver Millionaires 2-1 in the final game of their best-of-five series to become the first NHL team to win the Stanley Cup. That was the only year where a hockey team in Toronto was named the “Arenas,” and they would change their name to the St. Pats the following season, and finally to the Leafs in 1927.
March 30, 1944 – The winners of the previous two facts battled each other for – well, I guess it was really much of a battle. The Canadiens and Leafs “played” the final and deciding Game 5 of their semi-finals, with the Habs embarrassing the Leafs 11-0, which included an NHL-record seven goals in one period (the third), five of which came in a span of 3:36. The Leafs bold strategy of forgetting to pack their sticks failed to pay off.
March 30, 1979 – The NHL announced that they would be expanding by absorbing four teams from the WHA – Edmonton, Hartford, Winnipeg, and Quebec City. Only one of those franchises has never relocated, although Winnipeg got a team back.
March 30, 1993 – Remember the 1974-75 Washington Capitals[insert link]? The early Ottawa Senators weren’t much better (the second edition of the Senators) in their first season. The inaugural 1992-93 Sens lost their 37th-straight road game, a 6-4 loss at Pittsburgh. In an 82-game season, that was the only road game in which they received a point (1-41-0). Loss #37 tied those Capitals, and they’d go on to lose one more road game in that streak to set the bar at 38 consecutive road losses. They finished at 10-70-4 overall. They didn’t do much better next season, winning only six road games and going 14-61-9 overall. Ouch.
March 30, 2003 – Kerry Fraser officiated his 1,476th NHL game to break Andy Van Hellemond’s record. Fraser retired seven years later, accumulating more than 1,900 regular-season and 260 playoff games in his officiating belt (assuming they wear belts). He’s probably most known for his blown call in Game 6 of the 1993 Campbell Conference Finals where the Kings’ Wayne Gretzky (because it just wouldn’t be a Hockey History without him) high-sticked the Leafs Doug Gilmour, drawing blood, but was not penalized; Gretzky scored the overtime winner on that shift to force a Game 7, which the Kings would win, moving them to the Finals and knocking the Leafs out (the Kings would lose to the Habs in the Finals). It’s really unfortunate that most people can seem to remember only the mistakes of officials.