On this day in Bruins history, March 4th, 1973, veteran NHL goaltender and Canadiens crease legend Jacques Plante planted himself between the pipes for the Boston Bruins for the first time.
And at age 44, he became the oldest B’s goalie to win a game and he did it in style by shutting out the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 at the old Boston Garden, making 27 sterling saves in the process.
It was Plante’s 81st career shutout and he would go on to post up between the posts a 7-1-0 record with a 2.00 goals-against average and two shutouts for Boston in his final eight NHL regular-season games.
In fact, his final shutout wearing the Black N’ Gold earned him not only a team record, but a Guinness World Record. As listed on their historic website:
“At 44 years 66 days, Jacques Plante (b. 17 January 1929, d. 27 February 1986, Canada) became the oldest National Hockey League (NHL) goalie to record a shutout when he stopped 29 shots as the Boston Bruins (USA) blanked the New York Rangers (USA) 3-0 on 24 March 1973.”Guinness World Book of Records
The only other B’s goaltenders to get close to Plante’s ageless years in net were Tim Thomas, Reggie Lemelin and Gerry Cheevers, all of whom played into their late 30’s, respectively (and rather successfully).
Fun fact: most hockey fans when they think of iconic and historic hockey masks align themselves with Cheevers and his stitch-filled face shield. But No. 30’s trademark look could never have come about without Plante.
That’s right, Jacques was the first ever goaltender to a don a “protective mask” after taking a puck to the chin during a game back in 1959. Since then, the “face” of hockey’s heroic netminders has been something to revel in, indeed!
Stay tuned for more “This Day in Bruins History” articles all throughout the month of March right here on the BN’G Hockey Blog!