Some of the biggest names in the history of the National Hockey League accomplished feats on this date no other player ever had before. Also, fans in the Windy City have had plenty to cheer about through the years. Let’s take our daily trip back in time to relive the best moments Feb. 8 has had to offer.
Gordie Howe became the first player in NHL history to score 750 career goals, on Feb. 8, 1970, in the Detroit Red Wings’ 5-3 loss to the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. His historic goal came late in the third period against fellow Hockey Hall of Famer Bernie Parent.
Phil Esposito scored four goals, including his 50th of the season, and picked up an assist to hit the 100-point mark, on Feb. 8, 1975, in the Boston Bruins’ 8-5 win over the Red Wings. This performance made him the first player in league history to ever put together six 100-point seasons.
Wayne Gretzky was the first person to do a lot of things in NHL history. On Feb. 8, 1983, he became the first player to ever score four games in an All-Star Game. All four of his goals came in the third period as the Campbell Conference beat the Wales Conference 9-3 at Nassau Coliseum. He broke Ted Lindsay’s record of three goals set at the 1950 All-Star Game.
Scotty Bowman became the first head coach to win 1,000 regular-season games, on Feb. 8, 1997, when the Red Wings beat his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-5. Brendan Shanahan gave him the historic win with a goal in overtime. At the time, he had more wins than every NHL franchise except the Original Six teams and the Flyers.
Hall of Fame Forwards do Their Thing
Gil Perreault scored twice, on Feb. 8, 1984, to become the first player in Buffalo Sabres’ team history to score 450 career goals. He also had an assist in a 6-5 overtime win at the Penguins. Dave Andreychuk scored the game-winner just 35 seconds into overtime.
Gretzky was up to his old tricks again, on Feb. 8, 1991, when he picked up an assist in the Los Angeles Kings’ 4-4 tie with the Sabres. This started both a 23-game assists streak and a 25-game point streak for No. 99.
On that same night, Mike Gartner scored his 30th goal of the season in the New York Rangers’ 8-1 blowout of the Vancouver Canucks. This gave him at least 30 goals for the 12th consecutive season. Rangers won the game with five goals within a span of 8:11 in the first period.
Six years later, now with the Phoenix Coyotes, Gartner had two assists to reach 600 in his career, in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars. This made him the sixth player in league history to accumulate both 600 goals and assists.
Also, on Feb. 8, 1997, Mark Messier scored his 19th career hat trick to lead the Rangers over the New York Islanders 5-2. This was the final hat trick of his career and, surprisingly, the first one scored by a member of the Rangers at Nassau Coliseum during this 25-year rivalry. Exactly five years later, on Feb. 8, 2002, he became just the fourth player in league history to skate in 1,600 NHL games, joining Howe, Larry Murphy and Ray Bourque, in a 2-1 Rangers’ win at the Atlanta Thrashers.
Ron Francis became the first player in Carolina Hurricanes’ franchise history to score 300 goals, on Feb. 8, 2000, as his 15th goal of the season was the game-winner in a 4-3 victory over the Islanders. The first 264 of those goals came during his first stint with the franchise between 1981 and 1990 when they were the Hartford Whalers.
Mario Lemieux became the 10th player in league history to record 1,000 career assists, on Feb. 8, 2003, when he picked up four helpers in the Penguins 5-2 road win at the Boston Bruins.
While Lemieux was hitting his milestone, on that same night, Mats Sundin scored twice to give him 25 goals for the eighth straight season and the 11th time in 13 career seasons. His milestone came in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 3-1 victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens after Darryl Sittler’s No. 27 was retired before the game.
Big Date for Blackhawks
Bill Mosienko made his NHL debut, on Feb. 8, 1942, and scored two goals in 21 seconds during the Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-3 loss to the Rangers. Exactly 10 years and one month later, he set an NHL record by scoring three goals in 21 seconds.
On this date in 1981, Tom Lysiak scored on the power play for his 200th NHL goal. He also added four assists in the Blackhawks’ 9-1 win against the visiting Winnipeg Jets.
Dirk Graham scored the only hat trick of his career, on Feb. 8, 1990, and added an assist to reach 300 career points as the Blackhawks earned an 8-6 road win in Detroit.
Two years later, Steve Larmer tied Craig Ramsay’s NHL record for most consecutive games played with one team. His 776th consecutive game with the Blackhawks was a 3-1 victory at the St. Louis Blues.
Finally, on Feb. 8, 1996, Tony Amonte scored two goals and three assists for a career-high five points in a 6-1 win in St. Louis. Jeremy Roenick chipped in with two goals and two assists.
Odds & Ends
Harry Lumley became the second NHL goalie to win 300 regular-season games, on Feb. 8, 1958, when he led the Bruins to a 7-3 win over the Maple Leafs.
Six years later, on Feb. 8, 1964, Terry Sawchuk broke Lumley’s NHL record for most career games by a goaltender, when he took the crease for the 804th time in the Red Wings’ 3-2 win at the Bruins.
Goaltender Bruce Gamble played in his final game on this date in 1972. He started feeling discomfort during the first period and even fell at one point during the night. Despite this, he still led the Flyers to a 3-1 win at the Canucks. He traveled with the team to Oakland and was admitted into an area hospital as he was still experiencing chest pains. It turned out he had suffered a heart attack during the game in Vancouver.
Minnesota North Stars’ rookie goaltender Pete LoPresti earned his first NHL shutout, on Feb. 8, 1975, with a 5-0 blanking of the Flyers. This made him and Sam LoPresti the first-ever father-son goaltending duo to have NHL shutouts. Sam had two shutouts with the Blackhawks in the early 1940s.
Garry Unger became the first player in Blues’ franchise history to score 250 goals, on Feb. 8, 1978, in a 5-4 loss at the Maple Leafs. To this date, only three more players have scored 250 goals in a Blues uniform; Brian Sutter, Bernier Federko and Brett Hull.
Wilf Paiement scored a goal and added two assists to give him 800 career points, on Feb. 8, 1987, to lead the Sabres to a 7-4 win over the Blackhawks. His 800 career points tied him with Ken Hodge for 43rd place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list.
Bourque became the third player to appear in 1,000 games with the Bruins, on Feb. 8, 1993, during a 4-0 loss to the Penguins, in a neutral-site game played in Atlanta.
Theo Fleury scored his 25th goal of the season, on Feb. 8, 1999, in the Calgary Flames’ 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. This gave Fleury at least 25 goals in 10 straight seasons.
On Feb. 8, 2006, the Flyers became the first team not part of the Original Six to win 1,500 regular-season games when they beat the Islanders 5-2. Rookie Mike Richards scored his first NHL hat trick in the win.
Happy Birthday to You
A pair of Hall of Famers headline a group of 24 NHL players born on this date; the late goaltender Alec Connell and Dino Ciccarelli, who turns 61 today. Other notable names from this bunch include Kirk Muller (55), Andre Roy (46), Sean Bergenheim (37), Brendan Smith (32), Thomas Hickey (32), Patrik Nemeth (29), Rocco Grimaldi (28) and Robert Hagg (26).
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.