This wasn’t the most eventful date in National Hockey League history, but there was a huge win in Philadelphia in 1976. Fans in Edmonton and Los Angeles had a lot to cheer about, while there were plenty of personal milestones hit as well. Let’s strap in and go for our daily trip through the decades.
Flyers Take Down the Red Army
The Soviet Red Army team made their first trip to North America in late 1975 to play four exhibition games with NHL clubs. After sandwiching a tie with the Montreal Canadiens in between beating the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins, the elite Russian squad headed to the Spectrum on Jan. 11, 1976, to take on the Philadelphia Flyers.
Head coach Ray Shero had his team play the same type of hockey that won them the previous two Stanley Cups. They clogged up the neutral zone, established puck possession, and hit anything in red that moved. It was a brand of hockey the Soviets had not seen in their previous three games, and they could not figure out how to beat it.
The Flyers got goals from Reggie Leach, Rick MacLeish, Joe Watson, and Larry Goodenough to beat the Red Army 4-1. The star of the game was Soviet goaltender Vladislav Tretiak, who made 49 saves in the losing effort. At the other end of the ice, Wayne Stephenson only had to face 14 shots as Philadelphia dominated in all three zones of the rink.
80s Oilers Dominate
Wayne Gretzky put up five points on Jan. 11, 1981, with a goal and four assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 6-3 win at the Quebec Nordiques. Jari Kurri added his second career hat trick as the Oilers ended their team-record nine-game road losing streak.
Pat Hughes became the first player to break one of Gretzky’s NHL records on Jan. 11, 1983, in Edmonton’s 7-5 win over the St. Louis Blues. He scored a pair of shorthanded goals just 25 seconds apart. In fact, he scored them against two different goaltenders; Mike Liut and Rick Heinz.
There was something about Oilers who like scoring fast shorthanded goals because Esa Tikkanen holds the current record. He scored two shorties in 12 seconds on Nov. 12, 1988, while playing in Edmonton.
Gretzky picked up an assist to reach the 100-point mark in his 42nd game of the season on Jan. 11, 1987, as the Oilers beat the Calgary Flames 5-3. He tied Marcel Dionne’s (more on him shortly) NHL record of eight straight seasons with at least 100 points.
Crowning Achievements for Kings
On Jan. 11, 1979, the Los Angeles Kings recalled Charlie Simmer from Springfield of the American Hockey League. Two days later, he played his first game with Dave Taylor and Dionne as a member of what became the “Triple Crown” line.
Four years later, on Jan. 11, 1983, Dionne scored his 24th career hat trick and added three assists to lead the Kings to a 9-7 win at Washington Capitals. This victory snapped an eight-game road losing streak.
On Jan. 11, 1986, Dionne made history with two goals and an assist in a 4-4 tie at the St. Louis Blues. The pair of tallies made him the first player in NHL history to score at least 20 goals in each of his first 15 seasons in the league.
Big Time Milestones
Gilbert Perreault became the second player in Buffalo Sabres’ history to score 350 goals on Jan. 11, 1981, and added an assist in a 4-4 tie with the Kings.
One year later, Terry O’Reilly recorded his 500th career point with a goal in a Boston Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He became the eighth player to rack up 500 points in a Bruins uniform.
Bryan Trottier became the second player in New York Islanders’ franchise history to score 400 goals, on Jan. 11, 1986, in an 8-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. He became the 24th player in the NHL to reach the 400-goal mark.
Denis Savard picked up an assist on Jan. 11, 1988, for his 800th NHL point as the Chicago Blackhawks and Rangers skated to a 2-2 tie.
Former number one overall pick Bobby Smith scored his 350th NHL career goal on Jan. 11, 1992, in the Minnesota North Stars’ 7-4 home loss to the San Jose Sharks.
Doug Gilmour picked up his 500th career assist on Jan. 11, 1993, in a 4-2 Maple Leafs’ win over the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.
John LeClair scored twice on Jan. 11, 1999, including the 250th NHL goal of his career in the Flyers’ 8-0 win against the Nashville Predators on home ice.
Gary Roberts scored a goal on Jan. 11, 2000, for the Carolina Hurricanes in their 4-3 loss to the Flyers. Finding the back of the net made him the sixth player in league history to score 300 goals and rack up 2,000 penalty minutes.
Jaromir Jagr scored his 10th career hat trick and added four assists on Jan. 11, 2003, in the Capitals 12-2 blowout of the Florida Panthers. This gave him 1,200 career points and at least 20 goals in each of his first 13 NHL seasons.
On Jan. 11, 2017, Alex Ovechkin entered the Capitals game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins with 999 career points. It took him just 35 seconds to join the 1,000-point club as he scored the opening goal in a 5-2 victory. He scored another goal on a second-period power play.
Odds & Ends
The Maple Leafs beat the New York Americans 9-0 on Jan. 11, 1941, in a penalty-free game. Dave “Sweeney” Schriner had a goal and three assists to lead the offense, and Turk Broda recorded his 23rd career shutout. Two nights earlier, they beat the Rangers without any penalties, making it the first time in NHL history a team played in back-to-back games with zero combined penalty minutes.
Canadiens great Toe Blake suffered a career-ending injury on Jan. 11, 1948, when he broke his ankle crashing into the board during a 3-1 loss at the Rangers. He played in 577 games for the Habs, scoring 235 goals and 529 goals. He was part of three Stanley Cup wins and won the Hart Trophy in 1939 for being voted the NHL’s most valuable player. He returned to Montreal in 1955 as the new head coach. He remained behind the bench for 13 seasons, winning exactly 500 games and eight Stanley Cup championships, including five in a row between 1956 and 1960.
Future Hall of Famer Gump Worsley picked up his first career shutout on Jan. 11, 1953, in the Rangers 7-0 win over the Canadiens. Worsley, who was born in Montreal, filled in for the injured Chuck Rayner. He recorded 43 career shutouts, including 16 for the Habs.
Joe Nieuwendyk set a new Flames record with five goals on Jan. 11, 1989, in an 8-3 defeat of the Winnipeg Jets. He had two breakaway goals, two on the power play, and one shorthanded. Four of his five goals came in the third period.
Pat Lafontaine extended his goal-scoring streak to 11 games on Jan. 11, 1990, and picked up five assists in the Islanders 8-4 road win at the North Stars. He broke the previous team record of goals in 10 straight games set by Mike Bossy.
The Anaheim Ducks retired Teemu Selanne’s No. 8 on Jan. 11, 2015, becoming the first player to have his number raised to the rafters by the team. He scored 457 of his 684 NHL goals during his two stints with the Ducks. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in goals and points, with 988. His 531 assists are second all-time after Ryan Getzlaf passed him up.
Happy Birthday to You
Jan. 11 has been the birth date of 23 current and former NHL players. The most notable of the bunch are Mike Corrigan (76), Dave Burrows (73), Rob Ramage (63), Ron Stern (55), Wade Flaherty (54), Mark Pysyk (30), and the late Red Hamill.
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.