Today in Hockey History: Feb. 3

This has been a very intriguing date in the history of the National Hockey League. In Detroit, two all-time greats who shared the same last name left their mark. More than a handful of Hockey Hall of Famers set personal milestones. Plus, this has been a memorable day in Edmonton and Washington DC. Let’s take our daily trip back through the years and see the best Feb. 3 has had to offer.

The Howes Rule Detroit

When the Detroit Red Wings acquired Syd Howe in 1935, it started a run of 36 straight seasons with a Howe starring for the team. Syd retired at the end of the 1945-46 season with 188 goals and 436 points in 515 games. The next season an 18-year-old forward named Gordie Howe made his debut with the team and began a legendary career in Motown that lasted until 1971.

Syd had a huge night, on Feb. 3, 1944, when he scored six goals in the Red Wings’ 12-2 win over the visiting New York Rangers. He was the first player to score six times in a game since Cy Denneny did it for the Ottawa Senators on March 7, 1921. Only two players, Red Berenson (1968) and Darryl Sittler (1976), have had a six-goal game since. Howe’s linemate Don Grosso tied a team record with seven points. He had a goal and six assists, including on five of Howe’s goals.

Gordie began a team-record eight-game goal-scoring streak, on Feb. 3, 1952, in another home-ice victory of the Rangers, this time 4-3.

On Feb. 3, 1966, Gordie scored his 20th goal on the campaign for the 20th straight season during a 4-2 road win at the Boston Bruins. Alex Delvecchio became the third player in franchise history to score 300 career goals on this night.

Franchise Firsts

Turk Broda became the first goaltender in Toronto Maple Leafs history and just the second ever to win 250 games, on Feb. 3, 1949, by beating the Montreal Canadiens 4-1.

Richie Hansen became the first player from Long Island to score a goal for the New York Islanders, on Feb. 3, 1977, during a 6-3 victory over the rival Rangers. He was born in the Bronx but was raised on Long Island in Northport. This was one of just two goals he scored in his 20 career NHL games.

Grant Mulvey became the first member of the Chicago Blackhawks to ever score five goals in a game, on Feb. 3, 1982, leading the way in a 9-5 win over the St. Louis Blues. He also added two assists to cap off a seven-point night, tying Max Bentley’s team record for the most points in a game, set back in 1943.

Hall of Fame Milestones

Bruins’ legend Phil Esposito scored his 100th goal, on Feb. 3, 1968, against Rangers’ goaltender Eddie Giacomin during a 3-3 tie.

Rookie Larry Robinson scored his first NHL goal, on Feb. 3, 1973, in the Canadiens’ 7-1 road win at the Los Angeles Kings. During his 20-season career with both the Habs and Kings, he scored 208 goals and 958 points, which make him the ninth-highest scoring defenseman in league history.

One year later, on Feb. 3, 1974, Rod Gilbert became the Rangers’ all-time leader in points, when he picked up two goals and an assist in a 5-5 tie with the visiting Minnesota North Stars. He broke the team’s all-time record of 729 points set by Andy Bathgate. He is still the franchise’s top scorer with 1,021 points.

Gilbert, the Rangers’ all-time leading scorer. (THW Archives)

Ray Bourque had three assists, on Feb. 3, 1991, to move into third place in all-time Bruins’ scoring in a 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ralph Barahona chipped in with two goals in his first NHL game. At the time, Bourque only trailed Esposito and Johnny Bucyk on the team’s all-time points list. He eventually passed them both and still holds the franchise record with 1,503 points.

Dino Ciccarelli became the ninth player in NHL history to score 600 career goals, on Feb. 3, 1998. His late third-period power-play goal helped the Florida Panthers earn a point in a 1-1 tie with the Red Wings. He scored 107 of his 600 goals during his four seasons with Detroit.

Patrick Roy became the first goaltender in NHL history to play in at least games for 15 straight seasons, on Feb. 3, 2000, when the Colorado Avalanche and visiting San Jose Sharks skated to a 3-3 draw.

A Big Date in Edmonton

Usually, when we talk about Edmonton Oilers from the 1980s, we are mentioning Wayne Gretzky. However, this day had some big accomplishments from players who didn’t wear No. 99.

Pat Hughes scored five goals, on Feb. 3, 1984, to lead the Oilers to a 10-5 win over the Calgary Flames in the Battle of Alberta. This was his second and final career hat trick.

One year later, Feb. 3, 1985, Jari Kurri scored his 50th goal of the season as the Oilers beat the visiting Hartford Whalers 6-3 to extend their team-record home winning streak to seven games. This was his second of four straight seasons of at least 50 goals. He scored a career-high 71 times before the end of the 1984-85 season.

Jari Kurri #17 of the Edmonton Oilers
Kurri had a Hall of Fame run in Edmonton. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Esa Tikkanen scored three goals for his third career hat trick, on Feb. 3, 1988, as the Oilers won 8-5 over the visiting New Jersey Devils. He scored eight career hat tricks, five in the regular season and three in playoffs, all with Edmonton.

Kurri recorded three assists, including the 500th of his career, on Feb. 3, 1989, during the Oilers’ 8-5 victory over the Red Wings.

Bondra Steals the Show

Before Alex Ovechkin became the face of the franchise, the Washington Capitals had another Russian-born star. Peter Bondra held numerous team records until the Great 8 showed and shattered them all.

On Feb. 3, 1996, Bondra scored four goals, including three in the third period, and added two assists to lead the Capitals to a 6-5 win over the visiting Islanders. Michal Pivonka had three assists in regulation before scoring the game-winning goal in overtime.

Peter Bondra, Washington Capitals
Before Ovechkin, there was Bondra. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images/NHLI)

Three years later, on Feb. 3, 1999, the Capitals set an NHL record by scoring eight goals during a 9:34 span of the second period and nine goals in 11:32. Bondra scored a pair of goals 35 seconds apart and had three in just 4:47 of play during a 10-1 blowout of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Odds & Ends

Jean Beliveau scored a goal and added two assists, on Feb. 3, 1968, as the Canadiens extended their team-record winning streak to 12 games with a 5-1 victory over the Kings.

Wayne Cashman played in his 1,000th NHL game, on Feb. 3, 1983, as the Bruins defeated the visiting Quebec Nordiques 5-3. He joined Bucyk as the only two players to wear a Boston sweater 1,000 times. Since this date, four more players have joined this club; Bourque, Patrice Bergeron, current general manager Don Sweeney and Zdeno Chara.

A decade later, on Feb. 3, 1993, Alexander Mogilny became the third player in Buffalo Sabres’ history to score 50 goals in a season. His milestone came in just his 46th game, a 3-2 win over the Whalers. Grant Fuhr picked up the win in his first game with the team after being acquired from the Maple Leafs the previous day for Dave Andreychuk, Daren Puppa and a first-round draft pick.

Alexander Mogilny
Mogilny scored 50 goals in 46 games during the 1992-93 season. (photo courtesy of iihf.com)

On that same night, Steve Thomas scored his 200th career goal to help the Islanders beat the Maple Leafs 3-2.

Theo Fleury scored his 300th NHL goal, on Feb. 3, 1997, as the Flames lost 3-2 to the visiting Kings. He became the second player in franchise history to score 300 goals, joining Joe Nieuwendyk.

Bob Pulford became the first person in NHL history, on Feb. 3, 2000, to coach 800 NHL games after playing in 800 games. His milestone came during his fourth stint as head coach of the Blackhawks with a 5-5 tie with the Flames. Exactly 18 years earlier, on Feb. 3, 1982, he started his second run as head coach, while also serving as general manager, after firing Keith Magnuson. He led Chicago to a 9-5 win over the Blues in his first game back.

The Sabres snapped their 14-game losing streak, on Feb. 3, 2015, with a 3-2 road win at the Canadiens. Drew Stafford, Matt Moulson and Brian Gionta provided all the offense in the first period and goaltender Jhonas Enroth made 32 saves to hang on for the victory. This was the fourth-longest losing streak in NHL history, one behind the Philadelphia Quakers, who lost 15 games in a row during the 1930-31 season.

Tuukka Rask made 24 saves, on Feb. 3, 2019, to beat the Capitals 1-0. This gave him 253 career wins to move ahead of Tiny Thompson for the most in Bruins’ franchise history. The victory also ended Boston’s 14-game winless streak (0-11-3) versus Washington.

Happy Birthday to You

The late Hall of Fame player and coach Lynn Patrick headlines a group of 26 NHL players born on Feb. 3. Other notable names from this bunch include Dave “Tiger” Williams (67), Keith Carney (51), Mathieu Dandenault (45), Marek Zidlicky (44), Paul Gaustad (39), Andrei Kostitsyn (36), Blake Geoffrion (31), Jon Merrill (29), Sam Steel (23) and Michael McLeod (23).


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