On February 25, 1978, Rangers goaltender Hardy Astrom was a surprise starter in place of John Davidson and Wayne Thomas against the powerful Montreal Canadiens at the famed Forum. The Swedish import was making his NHL debut against the league's strongest club, as the Habs were in the midst of a 28-game unbeaten streak. To make matters worse, the Blueshirts hadn't fared so well at the Forum in the previous six seasons, managing only a single point in regular season play.
Astrom signed with the Rangers in May, 1977 after an outstanding career in Sweden. He was an agile, acrobatic goaltender who possessed an excellent glove hand. Astrom led the Swedish National Team during the 1977 World Championship, capturing a silver medal in the tournament.
If Astrom was nervous about facing shots from the likes of Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt, Yvan Cournoyer and the rest of the highly skilled Canadiens squad, he certainly didn't show it. He turned in a splendid performance in goal, ending Montreal's 28-game unbeaten streak, as the visiting Blueshirts skated away with a 6-3 victory.
Unfortunately for Astrom, this would be his crowning moment as a Ranger. He would go on to play in only three more games with New York, posting a 2-2-0 record, along with a 3.50 goals against average.
But for this one night in February, 1978, Astrom will be remembered as the one who beat the best of the best.