This has been a very interesting and busy date in National Hockey League history. A legendary arena opened, a bitter rivalry began and a whole slew of Hockey Hall of Famers had big moments throughout the years.
Maple Leafs’ Memories
The first NHL game ever played at the Maple Leaf Gardens took place on this date in 1931. Remarkably, owner Conn Smythe gets his new arena built in just five months. The largest crowd, 13,233, to ever watch a hockey game made their way through the turnstiles, paying anywhere from 95 cents to $2.75 for their tickets.
During a pregame ceremony, Toronto Maple Leafs captain Hap Day tells the big crowd that the team will win the Stanley Cup that season. While things didn’t go well on opening night, as the visiting Chicago Blackhawks won 2-1, the Maple Leafs did end the 1931-32 season with a championship celebration. The Blackhawks also won the final game ever played at Maple Leaf Gardens, on Feb. 13, 1999.
Turk Broda recorded his 60th career shutout, on Nov. 12, 1950, leading the Maple Leafs to a 6-0 win at the Boston Bruins. Rookie Danny Lewicki scored two goals and added an assist and Max Bentley had a goal and two assists to lead the offensive attack.
On Nov. 12, 1960, Bob Pulford scored the first hat trick of his NHL career and added three assists to lead the Maple Leafs to a 7-1 victory over the Blackhawks. He scored four total hat tricks in his career, three in the regular season and one in the playoffs.
Vincent Damphousse scored his 100th career goal and had an assist, on Nov. 12, 1990, in the Maple Leafs’ 5-2 win over the visiting Winnipeg Jets. He scored 432 goals and 1,205 points during his 18-season NHL career. The first 118 goals and 329 points came in Toronto.
Mats Sundin scored three straight goals for his sixth career hat trick and added an assist, on Nov. 12, 1998, as Maple Leafs won 10-3 in Chicago. This was the first time in a decade where Blackhawks allowed 10 goals in a game.
Hall of Fame Achievements
A long list of players who ended up in the Hockey Hall of Fame had big performances on this date through the years.
Starting on Nov. 12, 1961, Andy Bathgate became the second player in New York Rangers’ franchise history to score 200 goals. His milestone goal and two assists came in a 4-1 win over the Blackhawks.
Six years later, on Nov. 12, 1967, Norm Ullman scored the 300th goal of his career in the Detroit Red Wings’ 3-1 win over the visiting Montreal Canadiens. He became the fourth player to ever score 300 goals as a member of the Red Wings.
On Nov. 12, 1978, goaltender Billy Smith earned the 100th victory of his career as the New York Islanders beat the visiting Rangers 5-3. Stefan Persson led the scoring with a goal and two assists.
There was more than one personal milestone hit, on Nov. 12, 1980, when the Canadiens beat the Los Angeles Kings 8-4. Guy Lafleur racked up five points to become the third-leading scorer in team history, move one point ahead of Maurice Richard with 966. Also, Steve Shutt scored a hat trick to become the eighth player in franchise history to score 300 goals with the team.
Rookie Pavel Bure, playing in his third NHL game, on Nov. 12, 1991, scored his first two goals in an 8-2 Vancouver Canucks win over the Kings. These were the first two of 437 career goals for the future Hall of Famer.
Finally, on Nov. 12, 2001, the Hockey Hall of Fame opened its doors to six new members. Mike Gartner, Dale Hawerchuk, Slava Fetisov, Jari Kurri, Craig Patrick, and long-time Pittsburgh Penguins announcer Mike Lange were all inducted on this date.
It’s All About the Streaks
Goaltender Roger Crozier earned his 26th shutout, on Nov. 12, 1972, in the Buffalo Sabres’ 1-0 win over the Penguins. One of his saves included stopping Lowell MacDonald on a penalty shot. This began the Sabres’ team-record 12-game home winning streak.
Kent Nilsson began a team-record, eight-game goal-scoring streak, on Nov. 12, 1983, as the Calgary Flames picked up a 4-3 road win at the New Jersey Devils. He scored eight goals and 12 points during his record-setting streak.
The Red Wings snapped their seven-game road winless streak, on Nov. 12, 1991, with a 5-4 overtime win at the Flames. Jimmy Carson led the way with a goal and four assists while Ray Sheppard scored the third hat trick of his career.
One year later, on Nov. 12, 1992, Kurri scored two goals and added three assists to lead the Kings to their seventh straight home victory, a 7-4 win over the Canucks.
On that same night, the Penguins skated to a 4-4 tie with the Quebec Nordiques. This pushed their unbeaten streak on home ice to nine games as they improved to 7-0-2 to start the season at the Civic Arena.
The Carolina Hurricanes entered their game versus the Atlanta Trashers, on Nov. 12, 2005, winners of their last nine contests. This streak came to a crashing halt in a 9-0 defeat. Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice to help the Thrashers set a new team record for the most goals in one game. This was the worst loss for the Hurricanes since they relocated from Hartford in 1997.
A Big Day for Goalies
The Penguins obtained goaltender Tom Barrasso from the Buffalo Sabres, on Nov. 12, 1988, in exchange for Doug Bodger and Darrin Shannon. Barrasso went on to play in 460 games in Pittsburgh, over 12 seasons, and was the starting goaltender for their back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in 1991 and 1992.
On Nov. 12, 2000, Arturs Irbe became just the second European-born goalie in NHL history to record 25 shutouts as the Hurricanes blanked the Ottawa Senators 4-0. Shane Willis led the Carolina offense with two goals and an assist.
Tomas Vokoun was the man of the hour, on Nov. 12, 2009, in the Florida Panthers 1-0 shootout win over the Bruins. He made 40 saves in regulation and overtime before stopping all four shots in faced in the shootout. He stood on his head in the second period as the Panthers were outshot 19-1. After just one win in his first nine starts of the season, this was his third shutout in his last four starts.
Carey Price made 25 saves, on Nov. 12, 2016, to lead the Canadiens to a 5-0 win over the Red Wings. He became the first goaltender in league history to win his first 10 wins of the season. The victory pushed his personal winning streak to 13 straight games. The Habs also set franchise records with their 10th consecutive win at home and the most wins through the first 15 games of the season, 13. This was Price’s final win of the 2016-17 season as he lost his next two starts before missing the rest of the season with an injury. The Canadiens missed the playoffs despite their 13-1-1 start.
Henrik Lundqvist made history, on Nov. 12, 2018, in the Rangers’ 2-1 win over the Canucks. He made 25 saves for his 437th career win, tying former Ranger goaltender Jacques Plante for seventh place on the NHL all-time list for goaltender victories.
Big Names Shine in Edmonton
The Edmonton Oilers set a team record, on Nov. 12, 1983, with their eighth straight victory by beating the Red Wings 7-3. Wayne Gretzky scored his 20th career hat trick and added two assists to lead the attack.
Five years later, on Nov. 12, 1988, Esa Tikkanen set the NHL for the fast two shorthanded goals ever scored in a 6-2 win at Toronto. He scored two goals on a first-period penalty kill just 12 seconds apart. This broke the old record of 16 seconds set by Pep Kelly of the Blackhawks in 1940. He finished off his night by completing his hat trick in the third period.
On Nov. 12, 1991, Oilers sent Jeff Beukeboom to the Rangers, in exchange for David Shaw, to complete the Mark Messier trade that was made on Oct. 4, 1991. Beukeboom played the next eight seasons in New York and was part of their 1994 Stanley Cup win. Shaw appeared in just 12 games for the Oilers.
Odds & Ends
At the annual meeting of the National Hockey Association (the predecessor to the NHL), on Nov. 12, 1910, a new rule was passed changing the game from two 30-minute periods to three 20-minute periods.
Bep Guidolin became the youngest player in NHL history, on Nov. 12, 1942, when the 16-year-old forward dressed for the Bruins in their 3-1 loss at the Maple Leafs. He went on to play over 500 NHL games with the Bruins, Red Wings and Blackhawks. He returned to Boston in 1972 and spent two seasons as their head coach.
Red Kelly was a four-time winner of the Lady Bing Trophy for being the most gentlemanly player in the game. Jean Beliveau was also known for being a relatively clean player throughout his legendary career. However, on some nights emotions take over and these two players dropped the gloves and fought each other on Nov. 12, 1955. Beliveau got the last laugh with a goal and an assist as Plante earned the 14th shutout of his career in a 3-0 win over the Red Wings.
The bitter rivalry between the Blackhawks and the St. Louis Blues began, on Nov. 12, 1967, when the two teams met for the first time at the old Chicago Stadium. Ken Wharram scored the 200th goal of his career and added an assist in Chicago’s 5-2 win.
On Nov. 12, 1975, Phil Esposito was named the new team captain of the Rangers. He replaced Brad Park, who was traded to the Bruins five days earlier for Esposito.
Happy Birthday to You
Nov. 12 has been the birth date of 20 current and former NHL players over the years. The biggest names celebrating today include Denis DeJordy (82), Mark Hunter (58), Bryan Little (33), Adam Larsson (28), Tomas Hertl (27) and Elias Pettersson (22).