Today in Hockey History: Jan. 17

Both 500 and 13 were magic numbers on this date in National Hockey League history. Three was a pretty big number too as a slew of Hockey Hall of Famers scored hat tricks on Jan. 17. These are just a few of the memories this date has given us. Let’s take our daily trip through the decades to check them all out.

A Pair Hits 500

Two members of the Hockey Hall of Fame joined the 500-goal club on this date, seven years apart. On Jan. 17, 1996, Steve Yzerman became the 22nd player in NHL history to score 500 career goals. His milestone came on a power-play tally during the Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. He became the second player in franchise history to score 500 goals for the team, joining the legendary Gordie Howe.

Steve Yzerman Red Wings
Yzerman scored his 500th goal on this date. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Seven years later, on Jan. 17, 2003, Joe Nieuwendyk’s 500th career goal was the difference in the New Jersey Devils’ 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. He beat goaltender Kevin Weekes to hit his milestone. While Yzerman scored all 500 of his goals for the Red Wings, Nieuwendyk scored 314 goals with the Calgary Flames and another 178 with the Dallas Stars before his eighth with the Devils gave him 500.

Hall of Fame Hat Tricks

Sticking with the Hall of Fame theme, on Jan. 17, 1951, Howe scored his third career hat trick in the Red Wings’ 4-2 win at the Chicago Blackhawks. He finished his incredible NHL career with 19 regular-season hat tricks.

Jean Beliveau scored his 14th career hat trick, on Jan. 17, 1968, to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 6-1 win over Howe and the Red Wings. Five of his 18 career hat tricks came at Detroit’s expense.

Two years later, on Jan. 17, 1970, Dave Keon scored his third career hat trick to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Goaltender Bruce Gamble earned his 17th NHL shutout.

Mike Bossy set a new NHL single-season record, on Jan. 17, 1981, with his eighth hat trick in a New York Islanders’ 6-4 win over the Washington Capitals. This gave him 48 goals in 47 games as he was on his way to becoming just the second player to ever score 50 goals in 50 games. Also, Billy Smith became the second goaltender in team history to win 150 games.

The Capitals had another Hall of Famer score three goals against them on Jan. 17, 1988. This time it was Denis Savard who put up the 10th hat trick of his career to lead the Blackhawks to a 5-4 win at the old Chicago Stadium.

Mark Messier scored his 12th career hat trick and added an assist, on Jan. 17, 1990, as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Winnipeg Jets 6-0. Glenn Anderson chipped in with four assists on the night.

Michel Goulet scored his 16th and final career hat trick, on Jan. 17, 1993, to lead the Blackhawks to a 5-3 win over the Maple Leafs. This was Chicago’s 12th straight victory over Toronto on home ice.

Although Zdeno Chara is not in the Hall of Fame yet, there is little doubt that he will be added three years after he decides to retire. In his 13th NHL season, on Jan. 17, 2011, the giant defenseman scored the first hat trick of his career in the Bruins’ 7-0 blowout of the Hurricanes. This is still the only three-game of his remarkable career.

13 is a Lucky Number

Brett Hull scored in overtime, on Jan 17, 2003, to give the Dallas Stars a 4-3 win over the visiting Nashville Predators. This was Hull’s 25th goal on the campaign, giving him at least 25 in 13 of his 14 seasons in the NHL.

Two years later, Mats Sundin scored in the Maple Leafs’ 4-1 win at the Capitals. This gave him 20 goals, making him just the 12th player to ever score 20 or more goals in each of his first 13 NHL seasons.

Odds & Ends

Howe found himself in a strange position, on Jan. 17, 1959, in the Red Wings 2-1 loss at the Maple Leafs. Due to a rash of injuries, head coach Sid Abel decided to play the second-greatest goal-scorer in league history on defense. Despite playing out of position, he still found the scoresheet by picking up an assist on Detroit’s lone goal of the game, scored by Norm Ullman.

Glenn Hall was honored before puck drop, on Jan. 17, 1962, prior to playing in his 500th straight game for the Blackhawks, regular season and playoffs combined. The visiting Canadiens didn’t care much for the milestone they beat Chicago 7-3.

Glenn Hall
The Habs did not treat Hall well on his big night. (THW Archives)

Exactly one year later, Gilles Tremblay scored the 4,000th goal in Canadiens history during a 6-4 win over the Maple Leafs. Beliveau led the offense with three assists.

Rookie goaltender Tony Esposito recorded his 10th shutout of the season, on Jan. 17, 1970, in the Blackhawks 1-0 road victory at the Bruins. He went on to set an NHL rookie record with 15 shutouts during the 1969-70 season. Nine years later, on Jan. 17, 1979, Esposito became the first netminder to win 300 games for the Blackhawks, with a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

Bobby Clarke was named the youngest captain in NHL history, on Jan. 17, 1973, as the Philadelphia Flyers put the “C” on the 23-year-old’s sweater. There have numerous younger players who have been named team captain since this date. The current record is held by Connor McDavid, who was given the captaincy in Edmonton at 19 years and 266 days.

Jari Kurri scored two goals and added five assists, on Jan. 17, 1987, to give him 700 career points. He factored in every goal of the Oilers’ 7-4 win in Toronto; their eighth-straight road win, tying an NHL record.

One year later, it was Mike Gartner’s turn to reach the 700-point milestone, as well as scoring his 350th goal. He hit both of these marks by scoring twice in the Capitals’ 5-4 loss at the Blackhawks. He was the first player in franchise history to score 350 goals.  

In Winnipeg, on that same night, Stan Smyl scored twice to become the first player in Vancouver Canucks history to score 250 career goals. His two tallies helped the Canucks to a 6-5 win at the Jets.

When the Islanders beat the Penguins 5-4, on Jan. 17, 1989, they gave head coach Al Arbour 600th career victory. At the time, only two other coaches in NHL history, Scotty Bowman and Dick Irvin, had ever achieved 600 wins.

Head Coach Al Arbour of the New York Islanders
Arbour won his 600th career game on this date. (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

Andy Van Hellemond set an NHL record for most games worked by a referee, on Jan. 17, 1991, when he appeared in his 1,173rd regular-season game as the St. Louis Blues hosted the Canadiens. He broke the record set by Dave Newell.

On Jan. 17, 1999, the Florida Panthers acquired Pavel Bure, Bret Hedican, Brad Ference and a conditional third-round draft pick from the Canucks, in exchange for Dave Gagner, Ed Jovanovski, Mike Brown, Weekes and a first-round draft pick. Bure, the centerpiece of the trade, scored 152 and 251 points in 223 games for the Panthers over the next four seasons.

The Canadiens fired head coach Michel Therrien, on Jan. 17, 2003, and named Claude Julien as his replacement. This same exact scenario happened again on Feb. 14, 2017, when Therrien’s second stint with the Habs came to an end and he was replaced by Julien, who let go by the Bruins a week earlier.

Happy Birthday to You

Goaltending legend Jacques Plante headlines a group of 21 NHL players who were born on this date. The late Hall of Famer won a total of 437 games with the Canadiens, Rangers, Blues, Maple Leafs and Bruins. He won six Stanley Cups, all in Montreal, and is famous for being the first goaltender to wear a mask full-time.

Plante was born on this date in 1929. (THW Archives)

Other notable birthday boys include Sylvain Turgeon (56), Jeremy Roenick (51), Derek Plante (50), Aaron Ward (38), and Viktor Stalberg (35).


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