This date has been huge in both Detroit and Toronto as some of the greatest players in National Hockey League history had career highlights. There have also been a bunch of first for both players and teams, as well as, a ton of personal milestones along the way.
Detroit Rock City
There is no date more important than Nov. 18 in the history of NHL hockey in Detroit. On this date in 1926, the Detroit Cougars, who became the Red Wings in 1932, made their league debut with a 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins. The Cougars played all their home games during their inaugural season at the Border Cities Arena in nearby Windsor, Ontario. The famed Olympia Stadium in Detroit did not open until the following year.
Gordie Howe and Red Kelly each scored a pair of goals, on Nov. 18, 1951, to lead the Red Wings to a 5-2 win at the New York Rangers. This extended the team’s undefeated streak in road games to eight (5-0-3).
On Nov. 18, 1956, Ted Lindsay became the second player in franchise history, and just the fourth player in league history, to score 300 goals. He reached this milestone with his fifth career hat trick in an 8-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. He also had two assists to complete a five-point night.
Two years later, on Nov. 18, 1958, goaltender Terry Sawchuk earned his 73rd career shutout in a 6-0 win over the visiting Bruins. Johnny Wilson scored the second hat trick of his career and Nick Mickoski had a goal and three assists to lead the offensive attack.
Norm Ullman became the fourth player in franchise history to score 200 goals, on Nov. 18, 1964, as he had the only goal in a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Finally, on Nov. 18, 1977, Detroit signed Czechoslovakia native Vaclav Nedomansky. He was the first player to defect from Eastern Europe to play professionally in North American when he signed with the World Hockey Association (WHA) in 1974. He made his NHL debut later that night and picked up three assists in the Red Wings’ 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Flames.
Historic Date in Toronto
The Red Wings aren’t the only “Original 6” team to have a slew of memories on this date. Plenty of legendary names in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs left their mark on the game.
On Nov. 18, 1930, Lorne Chabot became the first NHL goaltender to ever start a season with three straight shutouts as he led the Maple Leafs past the Montreal Maroons 3-0. He earned half of his six total shutouts in the 1930-31 season during the first three games.
Another goaltending great, George Hainsworth became the first goaltender in NHL history to earn 80 shutouts, on Nov. 18, 1934, when he blanked the Blackhawks 5-0.
Former captain Ted Kennedy had a goal and three assists, on Nov. 18, 1950, in Toronto’s 5-4 victory over the Rangers. Exactly four years later, he picked up his 500th career point with an assist in the team’s 5-4 loss at the Canadiens.
Hall of Fame defenseman Tim Horton became the first player to dress in 1,000 games for the Maple Leafs, on Nov. 18, 1967, in a 2-2 tie with the Blackhawks. Rookie Gary Unger scored the first of his 413 career goals in the second period.
In more recent history, on Nov. 18, 2000, Jonas Hoglund scored his first career hat trick during another win in Montreal. The 6-1 victory was the 100th for Pat Quinn with the team, becoming the seventh head coach in franchise history with at least 100 wins.
Fun Times in Vancouver
On Nov. 18, 1979, the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Canadiens 5-2 at the old Pacific Coliseum. This marked the first time the Canucks beat Montreal on home ice since joining the league in 1970. Until this night, the Canadiens were 15-0-6 all-time in Vancouver.
Exactly one year later, on Nov. 18, 1980, the Canucks defeated the Winnipeg Jets 6-1 and set a new team record with 57 shots on goal. They outshot the Jets 57-23.
Petri Skriko set a franchise record, on Nov. 18, 1986, by scoring two shorthanded goals 71 seconds apart. Both of his goals came during the same penalty in the second period as the Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 5-0. He completed his hat trick in the third period as Richard Brodeur picked up his sixth and final career shutout.
There is a First Time for Everything
The Canadiens played their first game at the Forum, on Nov. 18, 1926, and beat the Ottawa Senators 2-1. The Forum remained the team’s home for the next 70 years and hosted many of the greatest hockey players who ever lived.
Rookie Andy Bathgate scored the first goal of his NHL career, on Nov. 18, 1953, in the Rangers’ 3-1 win over the Blackhawks. The future Hall of Famer scored 272 of his 349 career goals with New York.
On Nov. 18, 1981, Ron Francis picked up the first goal and assist of his career in the Hartford Whalers 8-5 victory against the Maple Leafs. Francis retired in 2004, after 23 NHL seasons, with 549 goals and 1,798 points in 1,731 games.
Doug Wilson became the first defenseman in Blackhawks history to score 600 career points, on Nov. 18, 1987, in a 5-2 win over the visiting Minnesota North Stars. Duncan Keith became the second defenseman in Chicago’s 600-point club during the 2019-20 season.
Mark Recchi had a six-point game, including his first NHL hat trick, on Nov. 18, 1991, to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 7-3 road victory at the Quebec Nordiques. Kevin Stevens also had a hat trick for the Penguins.
Reggie Savage became the fourth player in NHL history to score his first NHL goal on a penalty shot, on Nov. 18, 1992, in the Washington Capitals’ 5-4 loss to the North Stars. Ralph Bowman, Phil Hoene and Ilkka Sinisalo were the other three players to accomplish this feat.
One year later, on Nov. 18, 1993, John MacLean scored two goals to become the first player in New Jersey Devils history to score 250 goals. The milestone came in a 5-2 victory in Ottawa, for the Devils’ fourth straight road win, tying a team record.
Staying in Ottawa, Marian Hossa scored his first career hat trick, on Nov. 18, 2000, including two shorthanded and one power-play goal. He also added an assist in at 5-2 win over the visiting Florida Panthers.
On Nov. 18, 2002, Saku Koivu scored his first career hat trick, with two power-play goals and one of the shorthanded variety. He added an assist to cap off a four-point night as the Canadiens beat the Penguins 5-4.
Odds & Ends
Yvan Cournoyer became the ninth player to score 250 goals as a member of the Canadiens, on Nov. 18, 1972, in a 5-3 home loss to the Blackhawks.
The New York Islanders extended their team-record undefeated streak to eight games (7-0-1), on Nov. 18, 1980, with a 7-2 win at the St. Louis Blues. Mike Bossy scored his fourth hat trick of the early season, and 12th of his career, to lead the offense.
Dino Ciccarelli scored his 350th NHL career goal, on Nov. 18, 1989, and had an assist as the Capitals lost 5-3 at the Los Angeles Kings.
Pat LaFontaine collected his 700th career point, on Nov. 18, 1992, with a goal in the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 loss at the Devils.
On that same night, the Whalers beat the Blues 5-2 for their 400th win in franchise history. It took them 18 games into their 14th NHL to hit this milestone.
Tom Barrasso became the 21st goaltender in NHL history to win 250 games, on Nov. 18, 1993, as the Penguins beat the Capitals 3-2. The win improved his all-time record to 250-185-58.
Teppo Numminen became the all-time leader in games played by a defenseman in Phoenix Coyotes history, on Nov. 18, 1996, when he appeared 565th contest against the Red Wings. He broke the previous record held by Randy Carlyle, who played in 564 games while the franchise in Winnipeg.
Brian Leetch had a goal and two assists, on Nov. 18, 2000, in the Rangers 5-4 overtime win at the Flames. The two helpers gave him 616 which put him ahead of Rob Gilbert for the most in franchise history. Theo Fleury tied a team record by scoring his fifth shorthanded goal of the season. He was also kicked out of the game with six seconds remaining in regulation for arguing a penalty call.
Patrick Roy made 33 saves, on Nov. 18, 2001, for his third consecutive shutout, and 56th of his career, as the Colorado Avalanche beat the Devils 2-0. Defenseman Rob Blake had both goals for the Avs after going 12 straight games without scoring.
Eric Lindros scored his 300th career goal, on this same night, in the Rangers’ 6-2 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers. The milestone came with the 12th hat trick of his career and first with New York.
Happy Birthday to You
Nov. 18 is the birth date of 16 players who have skated at least one game in the NHL. The most successful of this lot are Bill Hajt (69), Lane Lambert (56), Jocelyn Lemieux (53), Kamil Kreps (36) and Cal Clutterbuck (33).