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This Week in Chicago Blackhawks History: Tony Esposito breaks a record, Stanley Cup Playoff firsts & more

Greg Boysen Avatar
March 25, 2023

Historically, this is the time of the hockey season when the regular season transitions into the playoffs. This week in Chicago Blackhawks history saw some Stanley Cup Playoff firsts, legendary players set records, and more than one memorable hat trick. The CHGO time machine is gassed up and ready to go, so let’s hop on the ride and enjoy all the memories from years past.

March 23

1952 – Bill Mosienko set an NHL record for the fastest hat trick by one player when he scored three goals in 21 seconds during the Blackhawks’ 7-6 win against the New York Rangers. This was the fifth and final hat trick of his career.

1957 – John Tonelli was born in Milton, ON. After winning four-straight Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders in the early 80s, the veteran forward signed as a free agent in 1991. He had one goal and eight points in 33 games before being traded to the Quebec Nordiques for unknown compensation on Feb. 22, 1992.

1965 – Wayne Presley was born in Dearborn, MI. The Blackhawks drafted the right wing in the second round (39th overall) in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft. He played the first 355 games of his NHL career in Chicago, scoring 93 goals and 186 points. On Sept. 20, 1991, Presley was traded to the San Jose Sharks for a third-round pick in 1993 that was used on Bogdan Savenko, who never played in the NHL.

1965 – Stan Mikita picked up his 59th assist of the season in a 3-2 loss to the Rangers. The historical helper broke the previous NHL single-season assist record of 58, which Jean Beliveau and Andy Bathgate shared. To put this in perspective, eight players already have at least 59 assists this season.  

1976 – Nolan Baumgartner was born in Calgary, AB. The defenseman was taken 10th overall by the Washington Capitals in 1994. He was traded to the Blackhawks for Remi Royer on July 20, 2000. He played in only eight games and had no points before signing with the Vancouver Canucks.

1999 – The Blackhawks made one of the worst and most unpopular trades in team history when they shipped defenseman Chris Chelios to the Detroit Red Wings for two first-round picks and blueliner Anders Eriksson. Chelios played 10 seasons in the Motor City and was part of two Stanley Cup championships. Meanwhile, Eriksson had five goals and 41 points in 97 games for the Blackhawks. The 1999 draft pick was used on defenseman Steve McCarthy, who scored three goals and 16 points in 134 games. Goaltender Adam Munro was taken with the 2000 pick and played in 17 games for the Blackhawks.

2021 – Patrick Kane had two assists in a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers to move ahead of Keith Tkachuk into fourth place among American-born players with 1,066 points.

March 24

1983 – P.A. Parenteau was born in Hull, Quebec. He was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks with Bruno St. Jacques for Sebastien Caron, Chris Durno, and Matt Keith on Sept. 28, 2006. The left wing played his first five NHL games with the Blackhawks and picked up one assist before he was traded to the Rangers for unknown compensation.

1990 – Denis Savard found the back of the net during a 5-3 loss to the Red Wings to become the third player in team history to score 350 goals.

1991 -Steve Larmer had an assist in a 5-4 win over the Minnesota North Stars to become the third Blackhawk to have a 100-point season.

March 25

1913 – Bert Gardiner was born in Saskatoon, SK. The goaltender was loaned to the Blackhawks by the Montreal Canadiens for the 1942-43 season. He started all 50 games and went 17-18-15 with a 3.58 goals-against average (GAA).

1955 – Ted Bulley was born in Windsor, ON. The Blackhawks drafted the left win in the seventh round (115th overall) of the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft. He had 94 goals and 196 points in 349 games over six seasons. On Aug. 24, 1982, he was traded with Dave Hutchinson to the Washington Capitals for a pair of late-round draft picks.

1962 – Bobby Hull became the third player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season with a goal against the Rangers. He joined Canadiens legends Maurice Richard and Bernie Geoffrion as the only players with 50-goal seasons.

1972 – Hull made more history when he scored against the Boston Bruins to join Gordie Howe as the only two players to score 600 career goals.

1973 – Andrei Nikolishin was born in Vorkuta, USSR. The center was acquired from the Capitals with Chris Simon for Michael Nylander and a third-round pick. He had six goals and 21 points in 60 games during his lone season with the Blackhawks. On June 21, 2003, Nikolishin was traded to the Colorado Avalanche for a fourth-round pick that was used to select Mitch Maunu, who never played in the NHL.

1975 – Eric Nickulas was born in Hyannis, MA. The Blackhawks claimed the right wing off waivers from the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 24, 2004. He had a goal and an assist in 21 games before signing with the Bruins the following offseason.

1990 – Lance Bouma was born in Provost, AB. He signed with the Blackhawks on July 1, 2017. He had three goals and nine points in 53 games before heading to Switzerland to play the following season.

2021 – Kevin Lankinen made history when he recorded a 41-save shutout to become the first rookie in franchise history to blank an opponent with 40 or more saves in a 3-0 win over the Panthers.

March 26

1929 – Bob Hassard was born in Lloydminster, SK. The Toronto Maple Leafs traded him to the Blackhawks for cash on Aug. 10, 1954. The centerman had no points in 17 games before he was traded back to the Leafs for more cash on Nov. 16, 1954.

1931 – Stewart Adams scored the first playoff overtime goal in Blackhawks history to beat the Maple Leafs 2-1 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals.

1961 – Murray Balfour scored the eighth power-play overtime goal in NHL playoff history as the Blackhawks beat the Canadiens 2-1 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. Goaltender Glenn Hall was the star of the night with 53 saves in the winning effort.

1970 – Tony Esposito blanked the Red Wings to pick up his 14th shutout of the season, breaking Harry Lumley’s “modern” record for most shutouts in a season.

1980 – Esposito beat the Quebec Nordiques 7-2 for the Blackhawks’ first-ever win in Quebec City. The victory was his 30th of the season, making him the first goaltender in NHL history to have eight 30-win seasons.

1992 – Kent Simpson was born in Edmonton, AB. The goaltender was selected in the second round (58th overall)  of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. His only NHL appearance came on Dec. 12, 2014, when he relieved Antti Raanta for the third period against the Maple Leafs. He allowed two goals and seven shots in a 7-3 loss.

1993 – Connor Murphy was born in Dublin, OH. He was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes with Laurent Dauphin for Niklas Hjalmarsson on June 23, 2017. He has been a fixture on the Blackhawks’ blue line ever since, scoring 24 goals and 81 points in 362 games.

March 27

1944 – Bryan Campbell was born in Sudbury, ON. He was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings as part of a six-player trade on Feb. 20, 1970. The forward had 23 goals and 74 points in 168 games before heading to the World Hockey Association (WHA) in 1972, where he played until 1978.

1961 – Ken Solheim was born in Hythe, AB. The Blackhawks took the left wing in the second round (30th overall) of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft. He played only five games for the Blackhawks during the 1980-81 season and scored a pair of goals. On Dec. 20, 1980, he was traded to the Minnesota North Stars for Glen Sharpley.

1985 – Dustin Byfuglien was born in Roseau, MN. He was taken in the eighth round (245th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Switching between forward and defense, “Big Buff” scored 55 goals and 109 points in 260 games and was a huge part of the 2010 Stanley Cup championship. Just days after the victory parade, on Jun 24, 2010, Byfuglien was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers with Akim Aliu, Ben Eager, and Brent Sopel for Joey Crabb, Jeremy Morin, Marty Reasoner, a first-round pick, and a second-round pick. Those picks were used to take Kevin Hayes and Justin Holl, neither of whom ever played for the Blackhawks.

2002 – Phil Housley scored the game-winning goal in a 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators. The tally made him the fourth defenseman and the first born in the United States, to score 1,200 NHL points.

March 28

1915 – Joe Papike was born in Eveleth, MN. The right wing played in 20 games between 1940 and 1945, scoring three goals and six points.

1926 – Harry Taylor was born in St. James, MN. He was acquired from the Cleveland Barons of the AHL for Jean-Paul Gladu on Aug. 19, 1951. He had a goal and an assist in his 15 games for the Blackhawks.

1944 – Doug Bentley became the first player in team history to score a postseason hat trick. He added two assists to his three goals in a 7-1 win against the Red Wings in Game 4 of their Stanley Cup Semifinal series. Two days later, he scored another hat trick on the road in the series-clinching game.

1945 – Bobby Schmautz was born in Saskatoon, SK. He played the first 76 games of his NHL career for the Blackhawks, scoring 12 goals and 21 points. On June 11, 1969, the Blues claimed the right wing in the Intra-League Draft.

1967 – Two legendary players hit personal milestones. Mikita picked up his 60th assist of the season in a 7-2 win over the Red Wings. The helper broke his own record for the most assists in a single season he set two years earlier. Meanwhile, Howe assisted on Detroit’s first goal to become the first player in NHL history to score 1,500 points.

1993 – Colin Blackwell was born in Lawrence, MA. He signed a two-year deal with the Blackhawks on July 13, 2022. He had two goals and 10 points in 53 games before his season ended early with sports hernia surgery.

1993 – Ed Belfour recorded his league-leading seventh shutout of the season in a 3-0 win over the Hartford Whalers.

2021 – Kane passed Bob Murray for sixth place on the Blackhawks’ all-time games played list by suiting up for the 1,009th time. He picked up an assist during a 3-2 loss to the Predators.

March 29

1898 – Charley McVeigh was born in Kenora, ON. He had 18 goals and 30 points for the Blackhawks in 84 games over two seasons. The forward was traded to the New York Americans for Alex McKinnon on Oct. 15, 1928.

1913 – Ken Stewart was born in Port Arthur, ON. The defenseman had a goal and an assist in his six lone NHL games for the Blackhawks during the 1941-42 season.

1953 – After assisting on the game’s opening goal, Al Dewsbury scored in overtime to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 win over the Canadiens in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals.

1970 – Esposito picked up his 15th shutout of the season in a 4-0 win over the Maple Leafs. The 15 shutouts were the most in a single season since 1929 and are still the most ever by a rookie goaltender. “Tony O” won Calder Trophy as the rookie of the year and his first Vezina Trophy for being voted as the best netminder in the league. Only four goaltenders in the NHL have had more than 10 shutouts in a season since Esposito’s amazing run in 1969-70.

1972 – Eric Nesterenko scored the 250th and final goal of his career in a 5-5 tie against the Canadiens. After starting his career with the Maple Leafs, Nesterenko played 16 seasons with the Blackhawks. He was part of their 1961 Stanley Cup championship team, and his 207 goals are 20th all-time in franchise history.

1978 – Mikita made more history by scoring his 1,400th career point with a goal in a 5-1 win over the Kings. At the time, he was third in all-time NHL, scoring only behind Howe and his former teammate Phil Esposito.

1985 – Savard picked up an assist for the third 100-point season of his career during a 5-5 tie with the Winnipeg Jets.

1992 – Jeremy Roenick scored a goal and had two assists in a 5-1 win over the Maple Leafs to become the fourth player in team history to have a 100-point season.

2009 – The rivalry between the Blackhawks and Canucks took to a new level. Tempers flared during the third period of Vancouver’s 4-0 win. During an old-fashioned line brawl, Canucks forward Alex Burrows pulled Duncan Keith’s hair. “That’s not something I’ve ever had happen to me,” Keith said after the heated contest. “My little sister never even pulled my hair when I was a kid. It’s kind of comical when you have a grown man trying to pull your hair on the ice.” The Blackhawks got the last laugh by ending the Canucks’ season, beating them in six games in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

2018 – Scott Foster became a household name for Blackhawks fans. After Anton Forsberg was injured during the morning skate, the 36-year-old accountant dressed as the team’s emergency backup goaltender. Foster took the United Center ice with 14:01 left to play in the third period after Collin Delia cramped up and was forced to leave the game. He stopped all seven shots he faced in a 6-2 win over the visiting Jets.

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