This date in National Hockey League history has seen a little bit of everything. One of the most successful sets of brothers both had big games. Plenty was going on between the pipes and behind the bench. Heck, even the officials made history on this date. It is time to start your day with our look back at today in hockey history.
Richard Brothers Steal the Show
Maurice and Henri Richard, born 15 years apart, were both icons in Montreal Canadiens lore. They played a combined 2,236 games for the Habs, scoring 902 goals and 2,012 points. They spent the first five seasons of Henri’s career as teammates.
Maurice had the first big moment on Dec. 29. In 1945, he scored a pair of goals in a 5-4 loss on home ice to the Chicago Blackhawks. This gave “The Rocket” 100 career goals in just 145 games, making him the fastest in league history to hit triple digits.
A decade later, on Dec. 29, 1955, he scored his 500th career goal – regular season and playoffs combined – during the Canadiens’ 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He had 443 regular-season goals and 57 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. This was also the first game where the on-ice officials wore the vertical black and white stripes we are used to seeing them wear today.
It was Henri’s turn to be the hero on Dec. 29, 1963. “The Pocket Rocket” scored two goals and assisted on two others in the Canadiens’ 6-2 road victory at the New York Rangers.
Big Feats in Goaltending
Detroit Red Wings’ assistant trainer Lefty Wilson was called into duty on Dec. 29, 1957, when Boston Bruins goaltender Don Simmons dislocated his shoulder during the first period. The Bruins had no backup netminder, so Wilson had to suit up against the team that signed his paychecks. He allowed one goal on 24 shots to earn the Bruins a 2-2 tie at Olympia Stadium. This was the third time he was called into emergency duty during his 32 years with the Red Wings and the first time he earned a decision.
Don Beaupre played in his 500th NHL game on Dec. 29, 1992, and led the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 win over the Rangers. Michal Pivonka scored the winning goal in overtime and had two assists during regulation.
Patrick Roy won his 20th game of the season on Dec. 29, 2000, to give him 15 straight seasons with at least 20 victories. He also was credited with two assists in the Colorado Avalanche’s 3-1 win over the visiting Nashville Predators.
Martin Brodeur made 16 saves on Dec. 29. 2014, to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-0 win over the Avalanche. This was his first and only shutout during his brief time with the Blues, as well as the 125th and final one of his career. At 42 years and 237 days old, he was the fifth-oldest NHL goaltender to blank an opponent. The four who were older are all with Brodeur in the Hockey Hall of Fame; Jacques Plante, Johnny Bower, Dominik Hasek, and Gump Worsely.
Speaking of seasoned veterans, Jeff Glass made his first NHL start on Dec. 29, 2017, and helped the Blackhawks to a 4-3 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers. At 32 years and 40 days old, he was the second-oldest netminder since expansion in 1967 to make his league debut. Only Rob Zepp of the Philadelphia Flyers was older (34 years, 106 days) in his first game.
An Eventful Date Behind the Bench
Charlie Burns took over as the Minnesota North Stars’ head coach on Dec. 29, 1969, replacing Wren Blair. When he came out of retirement to play for the team again two months later, Burns became the final player/coach in NHL history.
The late Bryan Murray became the ninth head coach in NHL history to record 400 career wins on Dec. 29, 1991, with the Red Wings’ 6-4 victory at the Blackhawks. He finished his career in 2007 with 620 wins for the Washington Capitals, Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and Ottawa Senators.
Staying in Detroit, on Dec. 29, 1995, Scotty Bowman coached his NHL-record 1,607th regular-season game as the Red Wings beat the Dallas Stars 2-1. He broke the previous record held by Hall of Famer Al Arbour. Mike Modano scored his 200th career goal, and goaltender Andy Moog appeared in his 600th NHL game for the Stars.
Milestones on Both Coasts
The Los Angeles Kings and Rangers are on opposite ends of the continent, but they both had players who hit personal milestones on this date.
Starting on Dec. 29, 1971, Eddie Joyal became the first player to score 100 goals as a member of the Kings in a 3-1 win over the visiting Vancouver Canucks
Brad Park picked up an assist to become the highest-scoring defenseman in Rangers history on Dec. 29, 1974, during a 2-1 win over the visiting Kansas Scouts. He broke the old record of 345 points held by Harry Howell.
Dave Taylor became the second player in Kings history to score 400 goals on Dec. 29, 1990, in a 3-2 loss to the Canadiens. He was the 30th player in NHL history to join the 400-goal club.
Finally, on Dec. 29, 2002, Mark Messier became the seventh player in Rangers team history to pick up 400 assists in a 5-3 loss at the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Memories for Jagr
The great Jaromir Jagr reached two personal milestones on this date, some 26 years apart. First, on Dec. 29, 1991, he scored two goals and added an assist to give him 100 career NHL points in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 6-3 victory at the Rangers.
Over a quarter-century later, on Dec. 29, 2017, he played in his 1,732nd NHL game to pass his former teammate, Ron Francis, for the third-most in league history. He was held off the scoresheet in the Calgary Flames’ 2-1 loss at the Anaheim Ducks.
Odds & Ends
Bobby Hull scored twice on Dec. 29, 1964, to lead the Blackhawks to a 4-2 win at the Rangers. The win extended the team’s undefeated streak to 11 games (10-0-1) and gave them a team-record seven straight wins on the road.
On Dec. 29, 1979, the Maple Leafs traded Lanny McDonald and Joel Quenneville to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Pat Hickey and Wilf Paiement.
Wayne Gretzky scored his 32nd career hat trick and added three assists on Dec. 29, 1984, to lead the Oilers to a 6-3 win against the Red Wings. This gave him 100 points in just 35 games, the second-fastest player to hit this mark in a season. He was one game shy of tying his own record he set the previous season.
That same night, rookie Mario Lemieux scored a penalty-shot goal in the Penguins’ 10-2 loss to the Quebec Nordiques. Pittsburgh netminder Denis Herron stopped Hall of Famer Michel Goulet’s penalty shot attempt in the third period.
Three years later in Quebec, on Dec. 29, 1987, Peter Stastny scored his 300th career goal in the Nordiques 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Rookie Gilbert Dionne, younger brother of Hall of Famer Marcel, scored his first NHL goal on Dec. 28, 1991. His first tally was the game-winning goal in the Canadiens’ 3-1 road victory at the Oilers. He scored 61 goals in 223 career games.
The Flyers spotted the Kings the first two goals on Dec. 29, 1992, before roaring back to win 10-2. Rod Brind’Amour led the offensive outburst with his first career hat trick and three assists. Brent Fedyk scored two of the 10 unanswered goals while setting up two others, and Brian Benning finished with a goal and three assists.
Meanwhile, on that same night in Buffalo, Chris Chelios picked up his 500th career assist in the Blackhawks 5-2 win over the Sabres. His defensive partner, Gary Suter, factored in all of Chicago’s scoring with a goal and four assists. All five Blackhawks’ goals came on the power play.
Dale Hawerchuk scored a goal and added an assist on Dec. 29, 1996, to lead the Flyers to a 4-2 road victory at the Calgary Flames. His performance made him just the 10th player in NHL history to score 1,400 career points.
Two years later, on Dec. 29, 1998, the Carolina Hurricanes acquired future Hall of Fame defenseman Paul Coffey from the Blackhawks in exchange for Nelson Emerson.
The New York Islanders drafted John Tavares with the first overall pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. After scoring 272 goals and 621 points in 669 games for the Islanders, he signed with the Maple Leafs on July 1, 2018. He faced his former team for the first time on Dec. 29, 2018, and the Islanders showed they were just fine without him in a 4-0 victory. Mathew Barzal, who took over as the No. 1 center after Tavares left, scored his first career hat trick to lead the way. All three goals came in a span of 7:44 in the second period.
Happy Birthday to You
The late Hall of Famer Nels Stewart headlines a group of 19 current and former NHL players who were born on this date. Other notable names from this bunch include Tom Bladon (69), Andreas Dackell (49), Filip Kuba (45), George Parros (42), and Derek Ryan (35).
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.