Feb. 18 is a date that had numerous events the National Hockey League had never seen before. In addition, some of the greatest players to skate in Boston had special moments and a whole slew of Hall of Famers added to their great careers. It is time to fire up the THW time machine and take a trip back through history and relive the best memories this date has to offer.
A Date Full of Firsts
Montreal Canadiens’ Georges Vezina became the first goaltender in NHL history to earn a shutout, on -Feb. 18, 1918, with a 9-0 win over the Toronto Arenas.
The Ottawa Senators became the first team with 20 games in a season, on Feb. 18, 1926, by beating the Canadiens 4-2. Cy Denneny was the offensive hero by scoring a natural hat trick.
The New York Rangers played their first game at the “new” Madison Square Garden, on Feb. 18, 1968, and beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1. Wayne Hicks of the Flyers scored the first goal in the building that is still home to the Rangers. Bob Nevin scored the first goal for the home team.
Sticking with the Rangers, on Feb. 18, 1972, Jean Ratelle scored a goal and added an assist for his 100th point of the season, in a 2-2 tie at the Oakland Golden Seals. He became the first player in team history to score 100 points in a season.
Wayne Gretzky had the first five-goal game of his legendary career, on Feb. 18, 1981, to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 9-2 blowout win over the St. Louis Blues. After scoring once in the second period, he scored four goals in less than eight minutes of the third period for the first of four career five-goal games.
Two years later, on Feb. 18, 1983, Lanny McDonald became the first player in Calgary Flames history to score 50 goals in a season. The milestone goal came in a 5-1 loss at the Buffalo Sabres. He finished the 1982-83 season with a team-record of 66 goals.
Paul Coffey became the first NHL defenseman and just second player overall to earn 1,100 career assists, on this date in 1999. He accomplished this feat with an assist during the Carolina Hurricanes’ 2-2 with the Washington Capitals.
Boston Bruins’ Legends Shine
Goaltender Tiny Thompson set an NHL record for most wins in a season, on Feb. 18, 1930, when he picked up his 31st victory of the year. He broke Alec Connell’s record, set in 1926-27, with a 3-2 Bruins’ win over the visiting Canadiens.
Johnny Bucyk scored his 250th career goal and added two assists, on Feb. 18, 1968, as the Bruins picked up a 6-5 road win at the Los Angeles Kings.
Bobby Orr lit the lamp, on Feb. 18, 1970, to earn a 5-5 tie in another road game at the Kings. This was his 22nd goal of the season, breaking his own record set in 1968-59 for the most goals by a defenseman. He finished the season with 33 goals. He broke this record three more times in his career.
Ken Hodge scored two goals to give him 200 in his career, on Feb. 18, 1972, and added an assist to lead the Bruins to a 4-1 win at the Chicago Blackhawks.
Ray Bourque had the first and only six-point game of his career, on Feb. 18, 1990, to lead Boston to a 7-2 win at the Vancouver Canucks. He had a goal and five helpers to make him just the seventh defenseman in league history to have 600 career assists.
Hall of Fame Moments
Henri Richard became the fourth player in Canadiens’ franchise history to score 300 goals, on Feb. 18, 1970, in a 5-3 Montreal loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Gordie Howe scored his 20th goal of the season, on Feb. 18, 1971, in the Detroit Red Wings’ 6-3 victory over the Minnesota North Stars. This gave him at least 20 goals for 22 straight years, extending his NHL record.
Luc Robitaille set a new Kings’ record with his 34th goal of the season, on Feb. 18, 1987, breaking the rookie mark set by Steve Bozek in 1981-82, as Los Angeles beat the Capitals 7-4.
On that same night, Dino Ciccarelli scored a pair of goals to give him 250 in his career. He also added an assist in the North Stars’ 7-3 win over the visiting Vancouver Canucks.
Joe Nieuwendyk scored the 100th goal of his career, on Feb. 18, 1989, as the Flames lost 4-3 to the visiting Bruins. He tied Maurice Richard as the second-fasted player to score 100 goals, in just 134 games. Missy Bossy holds the record, doing it in 129 games.
Eight years after his first five-goal game, on Feb. 18, 1981, Gretzky had a seven-point effort in the Oiler’s 11-3 win over the Kings. His two goals and five assists gave him 1,800 career points in just 754 games.
Joe Mullen scored his 10th career hat trick in the first period, on Jan. 18, 1992, and later added an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 7-1 win over the Maple Leafs. Five years later, he became the eighth player in franchise history to score 150 goals with the Penguins, in a 4-2 win over the visiting Florida Panthers
On, Feb. 18, 1999, Eric Lindros scored a goal in the Flyers’ 3-1 loss to the visiting Canadiens. This extended his personal point streak to 18 games, tying the team record set by Bobby Clarke.
Odds & Ends
Rick MacLeish scored a goal to break Clarke’s club record of 35 set the previous season, on Feb. 18, 1973, as the Flyers won 5-1 over the visiting North Stars.
Reed Larson picked up three assists, on Feb. 18, 1984, to become the highest-scoring U.S.-born player in NHL history, as the Red Wings beat the Blackhawks 6-0 at Joe Louis Arena.
Brad Marsh broke a 66-game goal drought, on Feb. 18, 1986, by scoring in the Flyers’ 8-2 win versus the Penguins.
Ray Sheppard scored the 200th goal of his NHL career, on Feb. 18, 1994, while Coffey picked up three assists as the Red Wings won 5-1 over the visiting Oilers.
Two years later, on Feb. 18, 1996, Kirk Muller scored his 300th NHL career goal in the Maple Leafs’ 3-2 loss to Detroit.
Robert Luongo set a new Panthers’ team record with his sixth shutout of the season, on Feb. 18, 2003, a 3-0 win in Montreal. He broke his own record of five shutouts in one season, set in 2000-01.
Steve Sullivan had a tremendous debut with the Nashville Predators, on Feb. 18, 2004, when he set a team record with three power-play goals. He also had an assist in his new team’s 7-3 victory over the visiting San Jose Sharks.
On that same day, the Capitals traded Peter Bondra to the Senators for Brooks Laich and a second-round pick. Bondra had scored 472 goals and 825 points in 961 games for the Caps. He only played 120 NHL games after this trade. Laich scored 133 goals ad 324 points over the next 12 seasons in Washington.
The Senators made another trade, on this date in 2011. This time they sent goaltender Brian Elliot to the Colorado Avalanche for fellow netminder Craig Anderson. Over the next 10 seasons, he became the franchise’s all-time leader with 202 wins and 435 games played.
The Bruins made a trade they have lived to regret on this same day when they shipped Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart to the Atlanta Thrashers for Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik. Although Peverley played a role in Boston’s championship in 2011 and return to the Stanley Cup Final two years later, the Thrashers/Jets have benefitted greatly from this deal. Wheeler has been the captain in Winnipeg since the start of the 2016-17 season and is the franchise’s all-time leader in assists (446) and points (665) and second in goals (219) and games played (725).
Happy Birthday to You
A total of 32 current and former NHL players share birthdays today. The most notable among them are Dick Duff (85, Hall of Fame), Thomas Gradlin (65), Andy Moog (61), Kris King (55), Alexander Mogilny (52), Nik Antropov (41), Blake Comeau (35), Cody Hodgson (31), Martin Marincin (29), Slater Koekkoek (27), Ross Johnston (27), Jack Studnicka and the late Tom Johnston (Hall of Fame) and Ab McDonald.
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.