Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Today in Habs History: February 20th Edition


Hockey in the great outdoors. (Photo: Dean Bicknell, Calgary Herald)

On this day in 2011, the Montreal Canadiens played the Calgary Flames in the second NHL Heritage Classic.

A crowd of 41,022 spectators braved the wind chilled –21 C temperatures at McMahon Stadium as the Flames won the game 4-0.

The “Faceoff in the Foothills” was the highest rated all-Canadian NHL game on American cable, bringing an average of 608,000 viewers.

The unpredicted change in temperature and wind chill at ice level that weekend forced ice maintenance crews to manually flood ice between periods, in fear of cracking the surface if they used an ice resurfacing machine. They also needed to make repairs as the game progressed.

The pace of the game was also much slower that the traditional indoor game, and players admitted challenges adapting to the ice surface. Canadiens defenseman James Wisniewski, who had suffered a black eye in the Habs previous game, stated it was the most uncomfortable time he ever had playing.

Events surrounding the main event included and alumni game the night before and an outdoor WHL game the following.

Also on this day..

1924: Canadiens fans patiently waited at the Mount Royal Arena, but went home without seeing a game. The visiting Ottawa Senators’ train was stuck in the snow 50 miles from Ottawa. The game was played the next night.

1954: Jacques Plante records the first of his 82 career NHL shutouts. In his fourth game filling in for the injured Gerry McNeil, the Canadiens rookie made 24 saves in a 2-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Doug Harvey scored the winning goal.

1955: Looking to fill some injury gaps, the Canadiens purchased center Paul Ronty off waivers from the New York Rangers for $15,000. Ronty, who was a capable scorer on some bad Bruins and Rangers teams, played in four regular season games and five playoff games for the Canadiens. He didn’t register a single point.

Ronty, reportedly frustrated with being on losing teams in Boston and New York, had hinted at retirement in the 1954-55 season, prompting the Rangers to quickly offer him out. Only receiving a tryout offer over a guaranteed contract from the Canadiens the next season, Ronty retired at the age of 27.

1966: Dick Duff’s four points (2G, 2A) leads the Canadiens to a 5-3 win over the New York Rangers.

1971: Jean Beliveau records three assists in the Canadiens 7-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The third helper was Beliveau’s 700th in NHL career. The three-point night also gave him 1200 career points, to become the third player in NHL history to reach the milestone.

In the same game. Peter Mahovlich scored two goals in five seconds, one second shy of the NHL record, and Phil Roberto scored his first career hat trick.

1975: Steve Shutt’s goals and two assists leads the Canadiens to a 6-3 win over the Kansas City Scouts. The Canadiens extended their road undefeated streak to 20 straight games (12-0-8).

1994: The Canadiens obtain goalie Ron Tugnutt from Anaheim Mighty Ducks for forward Stephan Lebeau

1995: Patrick Roy plays in his 500th career game and backstops the Canadiens to a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders.

Habs Born on This Day: Wally Clune (1930), Pierre Bouchard (1948), Rick Green (1956),



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