The Great One had an infatuation with the number five, while 200 was another lucky number on this date in National Hockey League history. Also, there were multiple memories in Chicago, and some of the game’s early pioneers raised the bar. Let’s take our daily trip back in time to enjoy all the best moments Feb. 17 has given us.
High Fives for Wayne Gretzky
There was something about this date and Gretzky putting up five points. Starting in 1982, he scored two goals and added three assists during the Edmonton Oilers’ 7-4 win over the Minnesota North Stars. Mark Messier contributed with the third hat trick of his career.
Gretzky didn’t score five points on Feb. 17, 1988, but his two assists, in the Oilers’ 4-4 tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs, gave him 1,049 in his career to tie Gordie Howe for the most in NHL history.
Now with the Los Angeles Kings, on Feb. 17, 1990, Gretzky scored two goals and added three assists in a 7-1 win over the visiting Quebec Nordiques.
Three years later, on Feb. 17, 1993, Gretzky had a goal and four assists during the Kings’ 10-5 victory at the North Stars. This was his 91st career game with at least five points.
Netting No. 200
Five different players scored their 200th NHL goal on this date, starting in 1931 when Howie Morenz became just the third player in league history to reach this milestone. Goaltender George Hainsworth recorded his 58th career shutout as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Montreal Maroons 2-0.
Another Canadiens’ great, Toe Blake, scored his 200th career goal on Feb. 17, 1946, with only 25 seconds remaining in the game to give Montreal a 5-4 win at the New York Rangers. He became the third player in franchise history to reach the 200-goal mark.
Dave Taylor scored twice on Feb. 17, 1983, to become just the third player in Kings’ franchise history to score 200 goals. He also had an assist in a 5-5 tie with the Detroit Red Wings.
On Feb. 17, 1987, Mike Bullard scored his 200th NHL goal to help the Calgary Flames to a 3-1 road victory at the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Robert Reichel scored goal No. 200 of his career on Feb. 17, 1999, as the New York Islanders snapped the Penguins’ 10-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory.
Busy Day for the Blackhawks
Bobby Hull scored his ninth career hat trick on Feb. 17, 1963, as the Chicago Blackhawks won 3-1 against the visiting Boston Bruins.
Five years later, on Feb. 17, 1968, Chico Maki scored his first career hat trick and added an assist in a 7-4 road win in Detroit. Hull had another big game with four assists.
On this date in 1987, Bob Murray, the former long-time general manager of the Anaheim Ducks, appeared in his 860th NHL game. This set a record for most games played by a defenseman in franchise history. However, the Blackhawks dropped a 5-4 decision on home ice to the Hartford Whalers.
A decade later, on Feb. 17, 1997, defenseman Gary Suter had an assist, during a 4-2 to loss to the St. Louis Blues, to give him 700 in his career.
The Blackhawks beat the Kings 3-2 on Feb. 17, 2013, to extend their season-opening point streak to 15 games (12-0-3). This tied them with the 1984-85 Oilers for the second-longest such streak, one game behind the Ducks, who started the 2006-07 season with points in 16 straight games.
Patrick Kane picked up his 500th career assist on Feb. 17, 2018, as the Blackhawks ended an eight-game losing streak by beating the Washington Capitals 7-1. He became the fifth player in team history to score 300 goals and have 500 assists. The win spoiled Caps’ head coach Barry Trotz’s big night as he was just the fifth NHL head coach to be behind the bench for 1,500 games.
Going Old School
Cy Denneny scored his 143rd career goal, way back on Feb. 17, 1923, to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 2-0 win over the Canadiens. This moved him ahead of Joe Malone as the NHL’s all-time leading goal-scorer, and he held that top spot until 1934.
On Feb. 17, 1927, the Toronto Maple Leafs played their first game under new owner Conn Smythe who changed their name from the St. Patricks. George Patterson scored the first goal for the Maple Leafs as they beat the New York Americans 4-1.
Maurice Richard scored his 44th goal of the season on Feb. 17, 1945, tying the NHL single-season record during the Canadiens’ 4-3 at the Maple Leafs. He equaled Malone’s record set in the league’s first season back in 1917-18. It was the game-winning goal as the Habs extended their unbeaten streak to 16 games, going 15-0-1 during this stretch.
Before the Canadiens’ game versus the Red Wings, on Feb. 17, 1951, the team honored Richard in a pregame ceremony where they showered him with gifts, including a new car. However, Howe stole the show by scoring his 100th career goal and picking up an assist in Detroit’s 2-1 win.
Richard’s long-time linemate, Elmer Lach, recorded an assist on Feb. 17, 1952, in the Canadiens’ 3-2 loss to the Rangers. This gave him 354 assists in his career, passing Bill Cowley to become the NHL’s all-time leader.
Two all-time great goaltenders, Detroit’s Terry Sawchuk and Toronto’s Harry Lumley, battled to a 0-0 tie on this date in 1954. It was Sawchuk’s 11th shutout of the season and 44th of his career, while Lumley earned his 10th shutout of 1953-54 and the 51st of his career.
Joe Schaefer became the first New York native to play in goal for the Rangers, on Feb. 17, 1960, during a 5-1 loss to the Blackhawks. Shaefer, a trainer for the team, was called into emergency duty after Gump Worsely left with an injury. The Blueshirts were leading 1-0 when he took over, but he allowed five goals on 22 shots in his first of two NHL appearances.
Odds & Ends
Phil Esposito became the second player in Bruins history to score 250 goals on Feb. 17, 1972, in a 4-1 win at the Philadelphia Flyers. He had a big four-point night at the Spectrum with his 14th career hat trick and an assist.
One year later, Jean Pronovost became the first player in Penguins’ history to score 100 goals during a 3-3 tie with the visiting Buffalo Sabres.
That night, Frank Mahovlich of the Canadiens notched his 1,000th NHL point with an assist in a 7-6 loss to the Flyers. He became the eighth player in league history to score 1,000 points in his career.
Bernie Parent suffered a career-ending eye injury on Feb. 17, 1979, in a game versus the Rangers. An errand stick entered the right eye hole of his mask, which caused permanent vision damage. He was hospitalized for two weeks with a complete loss of vision, which he eventually regained, but he was forced to retire at the age of 34. In 486 career games with the Flyers, Parent was 232-141-103 with a 2.43 goals-against average and 50 shutouts.
Ken Dryden earned his 46th and final career shutout on this same night in 1979 to lead the Canadiens to a 2-0 win over the Capitals. The win improved his record to 22-1-4 over his previous 27 starts.
Gil Perreault became the Sabres’ all-time leading goal-scorer on Feb. 17, 1982, in a 3-2 win at the Blackhawks. His 383rd career goal in Buffalo put him one ahead of his former teammate Rick Martin.
Dale Hawerchuk collected his 500th NHL point on Feb. 17, 1986, by scoring the opening goal in the Winnipeg Jets’ 8-4 loss to the Flyers.
Mike Ricci scored five goals on Feb. 17, 1994, tying a Quebec Nordiques record as they rolled over the San Jose Sharks 8-2. He turned out to be the only player with a five-goal game during the 1993-94 season,
Jamie Benn had 17 two-goal games in his career heading into the Dallas Stars’ game with the Blues on this date in 2015. He finally scored his first career hat trick on this night during a 4-1 victory.
Alex Ovechkin scored his 40th goal of the season, on Feb. 19, 2019, in the Capitals’ 5-2 loss at the Ducks. This gave 10 seasons with at least 40 goals becoming the fourth player to accomplish this feat. Gretzky had 12 40-goal seasons in his career, while Mario Lemieux and Marcel Dionne each had 10.
Happy Birthday to You
Hall of Famers Jim Rutherford (73) and Luc Robitaille (56) headline a group of 30 current and former NHL players born on Feb. 17. Other notable birthday boys include Lindy Ruff (62), Darren Pang (58), Vinny Prospal (47), Todd Harvey (47), Drew Miller (38), Michael Frolik (34), Max Jones (24), and Adam Fox (24).
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.