1953 – Hall of Famer Denis Potvin born in Ottawa, Ontario. Potvin played in the NHL 1973-74 through 1987-88 with the New York Islanders. — Note: 20 year old Potvin, chosen by the Islanders in Round 1 as the #1 draft pick in the 1973 Expansion Draft, finished the season by winning the Calder Trophy for best rookie for his 54 points (17 goals, 37 assists) in 77 games. During his career with the Isles, he scored 1052 points (310 goals, 742 assists) in 1060 regular-season games and helped lead the team to four Stanley Cups (1980, ’81, ’82, and ’83). He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.
1959 – Hall of Fame right winger Mike Gartner born in Ottawa, Ontario. Gartner played in the NHL 1979-80 thru 1997-98 with Washington, Minnesota, the New York Rangers, Toronto, and the Phoenix Coyotes.
1970 – Gordie Howe became the first player in NHL history to record 1,000 career assists when he picked up two (along with a goal) in a 5-3 Red Wings’ victory over Boston, at the Olympia in Detroit.
1999 – The first NHL game was played in the Raleigh Arena in North Carolina. Ken Daneyko became the first player to appear in 1,000 games with New Jersey when the Devils beat the Hurricanes 4-2.
1943 – Montreal’s famous “Punch Line” played together for the first time — Maurice Richard was up front with Elmer Lach and Toe Blake. It was also the first time Maurice Richard wore uniform #9. The Canadiens tied 2-2 with Boston, in Montreal. — From Wikipedia: “The Punch line was a famous ice hockey line for the Montreal Canadiens in the 1940s. It consisted of Elmer Lach at center, Toe Blake on left wing, and Maurice Richard on the right side. During their time together, they led the Canadiens to two Stanley Cup victories. During the 1944–45 NHL season, the three finished first (Lach), second (Richard), and third (Blake) in scoring for the league. They would also form the forward line for the first All-Star team in that same season. Richard would be the first team All-Star right wing for all but one year while with Blake and Lach.”
1965 – Chicago’s Bobby Hull scored twice and added two assists as the Black Hawks became the first team in NHL history to open a season with four straight games on the road and four straight road victories, with a 6-4 win at Montreal.
1993 – The Dallas Stars ended their 41 game overtime winless streak in regular season play (0-8-33), when Brent Gilchrist scored at 1:56 of OT for a 6-5 win at Ottawa. It was the Stars’ first regular season OT win since Dec. 31, 1989 vs St. Louis.
1998 – The Pittsburgh Penguins set an NHL record by scoring their 9th and 10th consecutive power play goals in a 2-2 tie against Vancouver. They broke the record of 8 straight power play goals scored by Buffalo in 1991-92.
1933 – Former NHL right winger Eric Nesterenko born in Flin Flon, Man. Nesterenko played in the NHL 1951-52 through 1971-72 with Toronto and Chicago. — Note: He is currently a Goodwill Ambassador for the Blackhawks.
1959 – Former NHL left winger Mats Naslund born in Timra, Sweden. Naslund played in the NHL 1982-83 through 1989-90 with Montreal and returned in 1994-95 with Boston.
1970 – Bobby Orr scored a goal and 3 assists, and Phil Esposito had 3 assists, including his 500th NHL point in a 6-0 Bruins’ win over the Rangers, at Boston Garden.
1983 – Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky became the first player in NHL history to get seven career hat tricks before age 21, when he scored three times (and added an assist) in an 11-4 win over the visiting Quebec Nordiques.
1924 – The Boston Bruins became the first U.S. team to join the NHL when they (and the Montreal Maroons) officially received their NHL franchises.
1932 – Former NHL defenseman Al Arbour born in Sudbury, Ont. Arbour played in the NHL 1953-54 through 1970-71 with Detroit, Chicago, Toronto and St. Louis. He went on to coach the NY Islanders to 4 straight Stanley Cup Championships.
1964 – The Bruins beat the Black Hawks 5-2 in Boston to end their 9 game winless streak (0-8-1) from the start of the season — the worst start in team history.
1970 – The North Stars’ Cesare Maniago made 54 saves in the losing effort when the Bruins won 5-0, at Boston Garden. Goaltender Gerry Cheevers made 30 saves to record his 12th career shutout.
1978 – After 8 games with the Indianapolis Racers of the WHA, Wayne Gretzky was sold to the Edmonton Oilers. Gretzky went on to score 104 points in 72 games and was named WHA Rookie of the Year. — Note: A constantly asked question: Why wasn’t Gretzky ever awarded the Calder Trophy for his 137 point rookie NHL season? Answer: “The 1979/80 Calder Trophy race for rookie of the year was a fairly wide open race with many candidates right down to the wire. Ray Bourque won the award as he broke the record for points by a rookie defenseman. This was of course Wayne Gretzky’s “rookie year” in the NHL and had he been eligible for the Calder it would have been no contest. According to a 1980 Hockey News item, there was a precedent set well before the WHA/NHL merger that excluded WHA “veterans” from the Calder Trophy. Other young stars that were affected by this Calder banning were Michel Goulet, Mark Messier, Mike Gartner, Craig Hartsburg, Rob Ramage and Rick Vaive. Amongst these, only Goulet and Gartner would have been even remotely considered to challenge Bourque and the others.” – Credit to Nitzy’s Hockey Den.
1980 – The Philadelphia Flyers recorded the 500th win in team history, a 4-2 victory over the visiting Boston Bruins. The win came at a time when no other expansion team had reached the 400-victory plateau.
1996 – The Colorado Avalanche traded Chris Simon and Curtis Leschyschyn to the Washington Capitals, in exchange for Keith Jones and a first round pick in 1998 (Scott Parker).
2001 – Ed Belfour became the Dallas Stars’ all-time leader in career shutouts when his 27th with the team came in a 3-0 win against the visiting Nashville Predators. Belfour broke the mark of 26 set by Cesare Maniago (when the team was in Minnesota).
1965 – Goaltender Bernie Parent made his NHL debut, playing for the Boston Bruins as they tied Chicago 2-2.
1998 – Dominik Hasek became the winningest goaltender in Sabres history with his 157th victory, as Buffalo won 4-2 against the visiting Boston Bruins.
2003 – The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted its newest members: (goaltender) Grant Fuhr, (center) Pat LaFontaine, Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Illitch, and Ottawa 67’s coach Brian Kilrea.
2003 – Daniel Alfredsson (former captain of the Senators, now with Detroit) scored a goal to become the first 500 point scorer in Ottawa Senators’ history. The milestone came in a 6-3 loss to the Islanders, at Long Island.
1962 – Detroit’s Bill Gadsby became the first defenseman in NHL history to score 500 career NHL points. He reached the milestone in a 3-1 Red Wings’ win over Chicago, in his 17th NHL season.
1967 – Right wing Leon Rochefort scored his first career hat trick, and the first hat trick in Philadelphia Flyers’ history, as the Flyers won 4-1 in Montreal. It was also Bernie Parent’s first win as a Flyer.
1983 – Montreal traded Robert Picard to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Winnipeg’s 3rd round choice in the 1984 Entry Draft. The Canadiens used the pick 7 months later to select goaltender Patrick Roy. — Note: Anyone who follows hockey history knows which team got the better deal as Roy’s numerous NHL records tell the entire story. And, while hockey writers and historians thought that they’d written everything they possibly could about him, Roy became the Head Coach of the Colorado Avalanche this summer and has taken last season’s 29th place Avs to a 10-1-0 start. More will be written!
1998 – Mike Vernon recorded his 19th career shutout in the Sharks 4-0 win against the visiting Dallas Stars. San Jose won despite being outshot 21-9. The 9 shots on goal were the fewest by a winning team since the stat was first recorded in 1955-56.
2001 – J.S. Giguere (currently with the Avalanche) recorded his 5th career shutout, and Dan Bylsma (coach of the Penguins) had the first two-goal game of his NHL career (as well as his first career game-winning goal) in the Mighty Ducks 5-0 win over the visiting Atlanta Thrashers.