The greatest single offensive performance in National Hockey League history took place on this date. Plus, some of the biggest names to ever play the game made memories and hit personal milestones. The THW time machine is all fired up and ready to go, so let’s take a ride through the years and relive the best of what Feb. 7 has had to offer.
The Sittler Game
Darryl Sittler etched his name into NHL lore on Feb. 7, 1976, when he became the first – and still the only – player to score 10 points in a single game. His huge night included six goals and four assists as the Toronto Maple Leafs rolled over the Boston Bruins 11-4.
Sittler started his huge night with a pair of assists in the first period. The middle frame saw him score three goals and set up two more by defenseman Borje Salming. He lit the lamp three more times in the third stanza to compete his historic night. He smashed the previous league shared by Maurice Richard and Bert Olmstead, who had eight-point games for the Montreal Canadiens.
Howe Doubles Down on History
Gordie Howe became the first player in Detroit Red Wings’ franchise history to score 300 career goals on Feb. 7, 1956, in a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. His first-period power-play goal made him just the third member of the NHL’s 300-goal club. He scored the milestone marker on goaltender Al Rollins, who he also beat for his 200th career goal.
Nine years later, on Feb. 7, 1965, Howe scored one of five Red Wings’ goals in the second period of a 6-0 win over the Canadiens. This gave him 100 career goals versus Montreal, making him the first player in league history to score 100 goals against every opposing team. Of course, there were just five opposing teams to face at this time.
Who’s the Bossy?
Mike Bossy extended his team-record point streak to 18 straight games on Feb. 7, 1980, in the New York Islanders’ 4-1 win over the visiting Los Angeles Kings. He scored 17 goals and 27 points during his 18-game streak.
Five years later, on Feb. 7, 1985, Bossy scored three times to lead the Islanders to a 7-5 win against the rival New York Rangers. He scored a goal in each period for the 33rd hat trick of his career, breaking Phil Esposito’s record for the most in NHL history.
Selanne’s Memorable Day
On Feb. 7, 1996, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim acquired Teemu Selanne, Marc Chouinard, and a fourth-round draft pick from the Winnipeg Jets for Chad Kilger, Oleg Tverdovsky, and a third-round pick. This trade was a steal for the Ducks as Selanne scored 225 goals and 482 points in 394 games before being dealt to the San Jose Sharks in 2001. He returned to Anaheim as a free agent in 2005, playing his final eight NHL seasons. He is still the franchise’s all-time leader in goals (457) and points (988).
It was with the Sharks, on Feb. 7, 2003, Selanne became the seventh European-born player to score 900 career NHL points with a goal and an assist in a 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
New Team, Same Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky made his first NHL All-Star Game appearance as a member of the Kings on Feb. 7, 1989, in a very familiar setting. The game was played at the Northlands Coliseum, the home of the Edmonton Oilers, where Gretzky spent nine remarkable seasons and laid the foundation of his legendary career.
Gretzky centered a line of his former teammate Jari Kurri and his current linemate Luc Robitaille. The Great One scored a goal and picked up two assists as the Campbell Conference beat the Wales Conference 9-5. He is named the game’s MVP, a popular choice in front of his former fan base. He gave the car that came with the award to his good friend and a teammate with the Oilers, Dave Semenko.
A Foursome of Firsts
Bernie Parent became the first goaltender in Philadelphia Flyers history to have a 30-win season on Feb. 7, 1974, with a 5-4 win against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Gary Dornhoefer led the scoring with three assists.
Dino Ciccarelli scored the first goal of his NHL career and added two assists on Feb. 7, 1981, in the Minnesota North Stars 5-5 tie with the Islanders. The undrafted free agent scored 608 goals during his 19-season Hall of Fame career.
Joe Mullen became the first U.S.-born player to score 1,000 career points on Feb. 7, 1995, in the Penguins’ 7-3 win over the visiting Florida Panthers. His two goals and two assists made him the 42nd NHL player to reach the 1000-point plateau.
Alexei Kovalev recorded the first five-point game of his career on Feb. 7, 2001, as the Penguins beat the rival Flyers 9-4. His three goals and two assists gave him 450 NHL points.
A Huge Date in Bean Town
Doc Stewart recorded the first shutout in Bruins’ history on Feb. 7, 1925, with a 1-0 victory at Montreal.
Bronco Horvath scored a goal to extend his NHL-record point streak to 20 straight games on Feb. 7, 1960, as the Bruins beat the Maple Leafs 3-0. Goaltender Harry Lumley earned the 70th shutout of his career.
Two Bruins stars were overshadowed in Sittler’s huge 10-point game on this date in 1976. Jean Ratelle scored two goals to give him 350 in his career and assisted on the other two Boston tallies. Johnny Bucyk picked up his 1,283rd career point to move into second place all-time behind Howe.
Ray Bourque picked up three assists to give him 30 for the season on Feb. 7, 1980, breaking Bobby Orr’s record (28) for most assists by a Bruins’ rookie defenseman. His trio of helpers helped Boston to an 8-6 win over Toronto.
On Feb. 7, 1987, Cam Neely scored his first career NHL hat trick as the Bruins and Maple Leafs met, once again, with the B’s coming out on top 8-5.
The Bruins acquired Adam Oates from the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 7, 1992, in exchange for Craig Janney and Stephane Quintal. Oates scored 142 goals and 499 points in his 368 games for Boston over the next six seasons.
Odds & Ends
George Hainsworth picked up his 71st career shutout on Feb. 7, 1933, leading the Canadiens to a 2-0 win over the Maple Leafs. This put him ahead of Alec Connell for the most shutouts in NHL history.
Bobby Hull made more history just 24 hours after scoring his 26th career hat trick versus the North Stars. On Feb. 7, 1971, he scored his 544th career goal, tying Richard for second place on the all-time goals list behind Howe. Goaltender Tony Esposito made 28 saves for his 22nd career shutout in a 1-0 win over the visiting Penguins.
That night, Dick Duff played in his 1,000th career game as the Buffalo Sabres lost 4-3 to the Maple Leafs.
Don Lever became the 53rd player in league history to score 300 career goals on Feb. 7, 1985, to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 6-3 win over the Penguins.
Joe Nieuwendyk scored his 40th goal of the season on Feb. 7, 1988, in the Calgary Flames’ 5-2 road win at the Kings. His tally broke Eric Vail’s 13-year old team record for goals by a rookie.
Penguins’ defenseman Paul Coffey picked up his 700th NHL point on Feb. 7, 1988, in a 6-3 loss at the Rangers.
Dominik Hasek became the winningest European-trained goaltender in NHL history on Feb. 7, 1996, when the Sabres beat the visiting Bruins 2-1 in overtime. His 88th career win moved him one ahead of Pelle Lindbergh.
Patrick Roy recorded his 46th career shutout on Feb. 7, 1999, in the Colorado Avalanche’s 3-0 win at the Dallas Stars. This extended the Avalanche’s franchise-record winning streak to 12 straight games, becoming the seventh NHL team to win a dozen games in a row.
Happy Birthday to You
A large and talented group of 36 current and former NHL players were born on this date. Among the Feb. 7 birthday boys are Lee Fogolin (67), Tim Higgins (64), Peter Bondra (54), Yves Racine (53), Alexandre Daigle (47), Jody Shelley (46), David Aebischer (44), Steven Stamkos (32), Richard Panik (31), Ryan O’Reilly (31), Aaron Ekblad (26) and the late Ross Lonsberry.
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.