The top two scorers in National Hockey League history both had memorable nights on this date. Jan. 27 was a very busy date in Montreal as well as in Toronto and Pittsburgh. Some of the biggest names in the history of the game left their mark on this date through the years.
Howe & Gretzky, Always Connected
Gordie Howe was a shooting machine, on Jan. 27, 1955, in the Detroit Red Wings 3-3 tie with the New York Rangers. He put 19 shots on goal, but netminder Gump Worsley did not let any of them in behind him. Howe had more shots than the entire Rangers team, who put up 18 in the game.
Wayne Gretzky scored in the first period, on Jan. 27, 1984, in the Edmonton Oilers’ 3-3 tie with the New Jersey Devils. This extended his NHL-record point streak to an incredible 51 straight games. He had at least one point in every game since opening night, scoring 61 goals and 153 points. If he didn’t score another point during the final 31 games of the season, he still would have won the scoring title by 27 points.
A Huge Date for Habs
Elmer Lach, a member of the famed “Punch Line,” scored a goal and added four assists, on Jan. 27, 1945, in the Montreal Canadiens’ 11-3 win over the visiting Boston Bruins. This was the Habs’ eighth straight win over their rivals from Boston.
Jean Beliveau played in his second NHL game, on Jan. 27, 1951, while on an amateur tryout. With No. 20 on the back of his jersey, he beat goaltender Harry Lumley for this first career goal. He also added an assist in a 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. These were the first two of his 1,219 career points.
One year later, Bernie Geoffrion scored his first career hat trick to lead the Canadiens to a 5-3 road win at the Rangers. Rookie Paul Meger chipped in with a goal and two assists.
The Canadiens beat the Blackhawks again, on Jan. 27, 1963, at the old Chicago Stadium. In a bit of an odd moment, goaltender Jacques asked for a time out so the officials could measure the height of the nets being used. They turned out to be three feet and 10 inches tall, two inches shorter than the regulation of four feet.
Another Habs’ goaltending great, Ken Dryden became the second netminder in franchise history to win 250 games, on this date in 1979. His 3-1 victory over the Bruins made him the 14th member of the 250-win club.
Finally, on Jan. 27, 2002, Sergei Berezin scored as Montreal became the first team in NHL history to score 10,000 goals on home ice, in a 3-1 win over the visiting San Jose Sharks. This was his first goal with the team after being acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes just two days earlier.
Maple Leaf Memories
Two goaltending legends had quite the duel, on Jan. 27, 1942, as the Toronto Maple Leafs traveled to Boston. Turk Broda and Bruins’ Hall of Famer were the stars in a scoreless draw. It was the 32nd career shutout for Broda and the 24th for Brimsek.
Rick Vaive became the 11th player in franchise history to score 200 goals, on Jan. 27, 1984, in the Maple Leafs’ 6-1 loss at the Washington Capitals.
Exactly one year later, defenseman Borje Salming set a team record for career assists in a 6-2 victory versus the Blackhawks. He picked up his 528th career assist, one more than the previous record holder, Darry Sittler. He retired with 620 assists, still the most in franchise history.
Speaking of Hall of Fame blueliners, on Jan. 27, 1997, Larry Murphy scored his 250th career goal in the Maple Leafs’ 5-2 loss to the visiting Colorado Avalanche. He became the sixth defenseman in NHL history to score 250 goals.
Surging in the Steel City
Pittsburgh Penguins’ goaltender Ken Wregget recorded his first shutout in nearly six years, on Jan. 27, 1996, by blanking the Quebec Nordiques 3-0. This was his third career shutout and first with the Penguins.
On Jan. 27, 1996, Eddie Johnston coached his 500th NHL game as the Penguins beat 7-4 the visiting Philadelphia Flyers 7-4. He was the 32nd coach to appear in 500 NHL games and improved his career record to 217-210-73. Mario Lemieux scored his 36th career hat trick along with two assists to lead the offense. Tomas Sandstrom added two goals and two assists exactly one year before he traded by the Penguins to the Red Wings.
Kevin Stevens became the franchise’s all-time leader in penalty minutes, on Jan. 27, 2001, when he picked up a five-minute major to move past Troy Loney’s club mark of 980 penalty minutes. The milestone came in a 5-1 win over the visiting Atlanta Thrashers.
The Penguins beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-1, on Jan. 27, 2015, despite not having superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the lineup due to injury. Defenseman Kris Letang had a night to remember by picking an assist on all five Pittsburgh goals.
Odds & Ends
Blackhawks’ goaltender Glenn Hall appeared in his 329th consecutive game, on Jan. 27, 1960, breaking the record set by Montreal’s Georges Vezina. The team came up short in Hall’s big night as the loss 2-1 at the Maple Leafs.
On Jan. 27, 1965, Ulf Sterner became the first player born in Sweden to play in the NHL as he took part in the Rangers’ 5-2 win over the Bruins. This was the first of four games he played with New York. He did not any points before he was returned to the minor leagues. After this season, he went back home to Sweden where he played professionally until 1978.
The Los Angeles Kings had a pair of franchise firsts, on Jan. 27, 1976, in their 2-0 win over the visiting Capitals. Butch Goring became the first player in team history to score 20 goals in five seasons and Rogie Vachon became the first Kings’ goaltender to earn 20 shutouts.
Six years later, the Kings set an NHL record with their sixth consecutive game ending in a tie. The streak nearly tied as they were down 4-2 to the Flyers with less than a minute to play. Marcel Dionne and Mike Murphy both scored to force overtime and earn a point for Los Angeles.
Mark Messier scored the 250th goal of his NHL career, on Jan. 27, 1987, in the Oilers’ 4-4 tie with the Vancouver Canucks.
Steve Yzerman scored a goal and added two assists, on Jan. 27, 1989, in the Red Wings’ big 8-1 blowout of the Maple Leafs. This gave him 100 points on the season in just 50 games. He joined Gretzky, Lemieux and Bernie Nicholls as the only players to put up 100 points in 50 games or fewer during a season.
A pair of Blackhawks hit personal milestones on this date, two years apart. On Jan. 27, 1992, Brent Sutter scored his 300th career goal in a 4-3 overtime win at the Calgary Flames. Then, on Jan. 27, 1994, Michel Goulet picked up his 600th career assist as Chicago lost 4-3 to the Red Wings.
The Ottawa Senators extended their NHL-record home winless streak to 17 games (0-15-2), on Jan. 27, 1996, in 2-2 tie with the Maple Leafs. Rookie Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and an assist while goaltender Damian Rhodes made 42 saves.
Happy Birthday to You
A total of 20 players who have skated in at least one game in the NHL have been born on this date. The most notable Jan. 27 birthday boys include Terry Harper (81), Brian Engblom (66), Dave Manson (54), Patrice Brisebois (50), Rhett Warrener (45) and Carlo Colaiacovo (38).
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.