RYE, N.Y. — Imagine this tantalizing moment from the 1971-72 NHL season: All three players on a line scoring 50 goals.
“We could have done it,” iconic Rangers center Jean Ratelle said Wednesday with a tinge of quiet regret. “Sixteen games to go, I had 46, Vic (Hadfield) had 44, Rod (Gilbert) had 43, something like that. Only Vic scored 50.”
In one of the more crushing injuries in franchise history, teammate Dale Rolfe’s slapshot smashed Ratelle’s ankle, ending not only the chance for a record, but a potential championship. The G-A-G (Goal-a-Game) Line was shattered, and the Blueshirts fell to the Bruins — to whom Ratelle later would be traded — in the Stanley Cup Final in six games.