Feb. 2 was a very eventful date in National Hockey League history. A trio of players had five-goal performances while the 700 was relevant for another threesome. There was also an odd outdoor game at a prison between an NHL squad and a team of inmates. Plus, fans in Pittsburgh had plenty to cheer about. It’s time for THW’s daily look back at all the best memories from this date over the decades.
The NHL’s inaugural season of 1917-18 was when Joe Malone etched himself into hockey lore. On Feb. 2, 1918, he scored five goals to lead the Montreal Canadiens to an 11-2 blowout of the Toronto Arenas. This extended his goal-scoring streak to 13 games, which started in the first-ever NHL game played. He racked up 34 goals during this incredible run.
Ian Turnbull scored five goals, on Feb. 2, 1977, in the Toronto Maple Leafs big 9-1 victory over the visiting Detroit Red Wings. He became the first defenseman in NHL history to have a five-goal game. He was also the first player to ever score five goals on just five shots. He is still the only blueliner to light the lamp five times in a game.
Johan Franzen joined the five-goal party, on Feb. 2, 2011, in the Red Wings’ 7-5 road win over the Ottawa Senators. He was the first Detroit player to score five times in the same game since Hall of Famer Sergei Fedorov on Dec. 26, 1996. It took over seven years for another five-goal game in the NHL as nobody had one until Patrik Laine on Nov. 24, 1998.
700 is the Magic Number
Gordie Howe recorded his 700th career assist, on Feb. 2, 1964, during the Red Wings 2-2 tie with the Maple Leafs. He retired in 1980 with 1,049 assists, still the 10th most in NHL history.
Veteran forward Gary Dornhoefer played in his 700th NHL game, on Feb. 2, 1978, and scored a goal in the Philadelphia Flyers’ 3-0 win over the Colorado Rockies. Goaltender Bernie Parent earned his 48th career shutout.
Phil Esposito became just the second player to score 700 career goals, on Feb. 2, 1980, joining Howe as the only ones to accomplish the feat. He scored goals No. 699 and 700 in the New York Rangers; 6-3 road win at the Washington Capitals. His 717 career goals are currently the sixth-most in NHL history.
Red Wings go to Prison
The Red Wings played one of the most unique games in the history of the NHL, on this date in 1954. Such legendary players like Howe and Ted Lindsay played an outdoor game against a team made up of inmates at the Marquette Branch Prison, in Marquette, MI. This was the first outdoor game the Red Wings ever played.
The idea first came up in June of 1953 when Lindsay and general manager Jack Adams paid a visit to the “Alcatraz of the North” during a promotional tour. Adams didn’t take warden Emery Jacques’ suggestion of a game too seriously at first, but when he said they’d do if the prison pays for the trip and their stay in the Upper Peninsula, Jacques called his bluff and the game was scheduled.
The temperature was below zero when the puck dropped and the Red Wings started scoring early and often. They stopped keeping score after they built an 18-0 lead through one period. In fact, they made some midgame trades to try even things up. Terry Sawchuck switched sides and played the rest of the game against his teammates. Sid Abel and Alex Delvecchio also jumped ship and helped the Marquette “Pirates.” One lucky inmate got to put on a Red Wings jersey and play center in between Howe and Lindsay.
At the end of the game, the Red Wings were presented the Doniker Trophy, know as the Honey Bucket.
The team still has this trophy in the team’s possession to commemorate this unique day. This is definitely something that we will never see again.
A Big Date in Pittsburgh
Mario Lemieux scored twice, on Feb. 2, 1989, to reach the 50-goal mark for the second time in his career. His second goal of the night came in overtime to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 win over the visiting Washington Capitals.
One year later, the Penguins beat the Flyers 5-3 to snap a 42-game winless streak at the Spectrum. They had gone 0-39-3 in their previous 42 trips to Philadelphia since their last win on Jan. 20, 1974.
Lemieux was the hero again, on Feb. 2, 1990, when he scored his 25th career hat trick and added two assists to extend his point streak to 41 games in a 6-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
It Jaromir Jagr’s turn to be the star one year later, on Feb. 2, 1991, as the rookie forward scored his first career hat trick to lead the Penguins to a 6-2 win over the Boston Bruins. At just 19, he became the youngest player to ever have a three-goal game in franchise history.
Finally, on Feb. 2, 2002, Lemieux scored his 13th career All-Star Game goal to tie Wayne Gretzky for the most in league history. Eric Daze of the Chicago Blackhawks was named the game’s MVP after he scored two goals and added an assist as Team World beat Team North America 8-5.
Recent NHL History
Most of the time in this column is spent talking about moments from many years ago, but this section today focuses on some events from the last decade.
Sam Gagner scored four goals and assisted on four more, on Feb. 2, 2012, as he led the Oilers to an 8-4 win over the Blackhawks. He was the first player to have an eight-point game in the NHL since Lemieux did on Dec. 31, 1988. He also tied the franchise record for most points in a single game that was shared by Gretzky and Paul Coffey.
Patrick Marleau became the 45th player in league history to score 500 career goals, on Feb. 2, 2017, in the San Jose Sharks’ 4-1 victory at the Vancouver Canucks.
The Winnipeg scored six first-period goals, on Feb. 2, 2019, on their way to beating the Anaheim Ducks 9-3. This set a Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise record for the most goals in one period. The nine goals were also the most the team had ever scored in a home game since joining the league in 1999.
Odds & Ends
Bruins’ goaltender Gerry Cheevers extended his personal unbeaten streak to 18 straight games (13-0-5), on Feb. 2, 1972, with his 16th career shutout in a 2-0 win over the New York Rangers.
The Flyers had a huge offensive effort, on Feb. 2, 1974, in their 12-2 beating of the Red Wings. Bobby Clarke scored his second career hat trick and added three assists for a six-point night. Ross Lonsberry also had three goals to mark the first time in franchise history where two players scored a hat trick in the same game. Simon Nolet did his part too with a goal and four assists.
Craig Ramsay became the fourth player in Buffalo Sabres; team history to score 250 goals, on Feb. 2, 1985, in a 6-3 road win in Philadelphia.
The first regular-season overtime penalty shot in NHL history took place on this date in 1989. Luc Robitaille was awarded the chance, but he was stopped by rookie goaltender Sean Burke as the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils finished in a 6-6 tie.
Exactly two years later, on Feb. 2, 1991, Robitaille scored his 223rd career goal during the Kings’ 9-1 win over the Canucks. This put him ahead of Charlie Simmer as the franchise’s all-time leading goal-scorer among left wingers. Defenseman Marty McSorley had a career-high six points in the win, with a goal and five assists.
On Feb. 2, 1994, Scotty Bowman became the first coach to win 1,000 total games, in the regular season and playoffs combined, as the Red Wings beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1. He still holds numerous NHL coaching records including regular-season wins (1,244), regular-season games coached (2,141), postseason wins (223), postseason games coached (353) and Stanley Cup championships (nine).
The Florida Panthers hosted the NHL All-Star Game, on Feb. 2, 2003, which saw the Eastern Conference beat the Western Conference 6-5 in a shootout. Dany Heatley of the Thrashers won the MVP award after tying an All-Star Game record with four goals. He also scored a goal during the shootout.
Happy Birthday to You
A group of 28 current and former NHL players were born on this date. The most notable of this group are Dornhoefer (78), who we mentioned earlier, Lee Norwood (61), Arturs Irbe (54), Jody Hull (52), Todd Bertuzzi (46), Mark Parrish (44), Jordin Tootoo (38), Brock McGinn (27), Curtis Lazar (26), Christian Dvorak (25) and the late Hall of Famer Frank Foyston.
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.