Today in Hockey History: Jan. 31

This date in the NHL has been good for those brave enough to step in between the pipes and behind the bench. It has also given us some great moments from numerous Hall of Famers and one giant All-Star Game hero. Let’s enter our THW time machine and take a look back at all the Jan. 31 memories.

Great Day for Goaltending

Terry Sawchuk became the second goaltender in Detroit Red Wings team history to record 150 victories on Jan. 31, 1954, with a 5-1 win at the Chicago Blackhawks. Harry Lumley was the first netminder to win 150 games with the Red Wings. Since then, Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard have joined this club in Detroit.

Tony Esposito recorded the 11th shutout of his rookie season on Jan. 31, 1970, by leading the Blackhawks in a 5-0 win at the Philadelphia Flyers. He finished the 1969-70 season with 15 shutouts, which is still the NHL record for rookies.

On Jan. 31, 1982, Grant Fuhr became the first goaltender in Edmonton Oilers history to win 20 games in a season since they joined the NHL in 1979. The milestone victory came in a 7-4 win over the Flyers.

Grant Fuhr, Edmonton Oilers
Fuhr was the Edmonton goalie to have a 20-win season. (

Rookie New York Rangers goaltender Mike Richter set a team record with 59 saves on Jan. 31, 1991, in a 3-3 tie with the Vancouver Canucks.

Tom Barrasso set a Pittsburgh Penguins record for saves in a home game on Jan. 31, 1998, when he stopped 51 shots in a 4-2 win over the Red Wings. Two years later, he became the 11th goaltender in NHL history to win 350 games by beating the Atlanta Thrashers 2-1 in overtime.

All-Star Game Firsts

At 18 years and nine months old, Red Wings rookie Steve Yzerman became the youngest player ever to appear in an NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 31, 1984, hosted by the New Jersey Devils. He had an assist for the Campbell Conference in their 7-6 loss to the Wales Conference. The Campbell Conference made things interesting with a late charge after falling behind 5-0 after the first period. Don Maloney of the Rangers took home MVP honors with a goal and three assists on the day.

On Jan. 31, 2016, the NHL changed its format when the Nashville Predators hosted the All-Star Game. Instead of the traditional game between two conferences, all four divisions iced a team in a 3-on-3 single-elimination tournament. The league also allowed fans to vote for each team’s captain, which led to one of the strangest episodes in the history of the All-Star Game. An online campaign had Montreal Canadiens’ tough guy John Scott get voted into the game.

Scott was traded to the Arizona Coyotes just days before the game and demoted to the American Hockey League, in a move many felt was done to keep him out of the festivities. After outrage by the fans who voted for him, he was eventually allowed to play and was named the captain of the Pacific Division. Scott scored two goals in the Pacific’s semifinal win over the Central Division and took home the MVP award in a storybook ending.

Memories From Behind the Bench

Canucks’ general manager Pat Quinn took over as head coach on Jan. 31, 1991, replacing Bob McCammon. He spent the next 280 games behind the bench and led Vancouver to the 1994 Stanley Cup Final.

Related – Pat Quinn: Success Through Leadership

Exactly 13 years later, on Jan. 31, 2004, Quinn won his 600th game as an NHL coach when he led the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. He is the fourth coach to join the 600-win club. He wound up with 684 careers, 300 in Toronto and 141 in Vancouver.

Pat Quinn
Quinn moved behind the bench in Vancouver on this date in 1991. (THW Archives)

Jacques Demers earned his 300th NHL victory on Jan. 31, 1993, with a 6-4 Canadiens’ win over the Flyers. Demers won 409 games with Quebec Nordiques, St. Louis Blues, Red Wings, Canadiens, and Tampa Bay Lightning.

On Jan. 31, 1995, Marc Crawford became the second rookie coach in NHL history to win his first five games behind the bench when the Nordiques beat the Flyers 5-2. Crawford’s streak ended two nights later, with a loss at the Devils.

The Roaring 20s

Joe Malone set an NHL record by scoring seven goals on Jan. 31, 1920, as the Quebec Bulldogs beat the Toronto St. Patricks 10-6. Nobody has matched this feat since.

Not a single penalty was called on Jan. 31, 1923, when the Canadiens defeated the Hamilton Tigers 5-4. This was the first penalty-free game in NHL history.

Goaltending legend Georges Vezina recorded his 12th career shutout on Jan. 31, 1925, in the Canadiens’ 5-0 win over the crosstown Montreal Maroons.

Another early goaltending great, Alec Connell, picked up his 42nd career shutout, on Jan. 31, 1928, by leading the original Senators to a 4-0 victory against the Maple Leafs. This started a stretch of six consecutive shutouts for Connell, still an NHL record to this day.

Hall of Fame Moments

Dit Clapper became the first player in Boston Bruins history to score 100 goals on Jan. 31, 1933, during a 5-1 to the visiting Blackhawks.

A pair of Chicago legends had big nights on Jan. 31, 1963, when the Blackhawks beat the Bruins 9-2. Bobby Hull scored his eighth career hat trick and added two assists. Stan Mikita lit the lamp three times for the first hat trick of his career.

Bobby Orr joined Clapper as the only defenseman in Bruins history to score 100 goals on Jan. 31, 1971, with two goals and an assist in a 6-0 win over the Blues. Goaltender Eddie Johnston recorded his 18th career shutout, as Boston won their 17th straight home game.

Jacques Lemaire scored his fifth career hat trick on Jan. 31, 1978, as the Canadiens extended their team-record undefeated streak to 18 straight games (16-0-2) with a 5-3 win at the Colorado Rockies.

Bernie Federko scored two goals and added an assist on Jan. 31, 1986, to give him 800 career points, as the Blues won 6-4 over the Red Wings. He is still the franchise’s all-time leading score with 1,073 points.

Bernie Federko
Federko is the highest scorer in Blues history. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Six years after being the youngest All-Star ever, on Jan. 31, 1990, Yzerman had the first four-goal game of his NHL career and picked up an assist to lead the Red Wings to a 7-5 win over the Oilers.

Dale Hawerchuk became the 23rd player in NHL history to score 500 career goals on Jan. 31, 1996, when the Blues blanked the Maple Leafs in Toronto 4-0. Fuhr recorded his 15th career shutout in the win.

Mats Sundin had a goal and two assists on Jan. 31, 2001, to become just the 10th player in Maple Leafs’ history to score 500 points, in a 4-3 win at the Carolina Hurricanes.

Odds & Ends

George Konik became the first Penguins player to be awarded a penalty shot on Jan. 31, 1968, and he scored a goal against Hall of Famer Glenn Hall, but Pittsburgh lost 9-4 in St. Louis.

Rookie Mike Foligno scored his second career hat trick and added an assist on Jan. 31, 1980, as the Red Wings beat the Penguins 4-3. Nine years later, he scored his eighth and final career hat trick to give him 600 points in the Sabres’ 5-3 win at the Hartford Whalers.

Brian Bellows became the 107th NHL player to appear in 1,000 career games on Jan. 31, 1996, and he picked up an assist in a 4-1 Tampa Bay Lightning win over the visiting Penguins.

The Hurricanes became the first team in league history to win 13 games during January on this date in 2006, with an 8-2 win at the Canadiens.

On Jan. 31, 2010, the Maple Leafs pulled off a pair of notable trades. First, they sent Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers, and Ian White to the Calgary Flames for Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom, and Keith Aulie. Phaneuf was the centerpiece of the deal, played 423 games for the Leafs, and served as captain before being traded to the Senators in 2016.

Phaneuf became a Leaf on this date in 2010. (Icon SMI)

The Leafs also acquired goaltender Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Anaheim Ducks for Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake. He won 17 games for Toronto over the next season and a half.

Mika Zibanejad scored his second career hat trick on Jan. 31, 2019, to lead the Rangers to a 4-3 win over the rival Devils. He had the game-winning goal for the fourth time in New York’s last five games. He was the first Ranger to accomplish this feat since Hall of Fame Rod Gilbert did in December of 1966.

On Jan. 31, 2022, Auston Matthews scored his 400th point in 372 games to become the fastest to reach that milestone in Maple Leafs history. He did it in a win, too, as the Leafs beat the Devils 6-4.

Drew Doughty hit 600 points in the NHL on Jan. 31, 2023, to become the first defenseman in Kings history to do so. He also notched his 112th multipoint game passing Rob Blake for the most by a Kings defenseman.

Happy Birthday to You

A total of 25 players who have skated in at least one NHL game were born on this date. The most successful of the bunch include Bobby Dollas (59), Mikhail Grabovski (40), Brandon Bollig (35), Jacob Markstrom (34), and Tyler Seguin (32).

*Originally constructed by Greg Boysen

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