Today in Hockey History: Nov. 23

A pair of Hockey Hall of Famers scored their 600th goals on this date in National Hockey League history. There were also countless memories for both teams in New York City, and the hockey world mourned the passing of one of the all-time great head coaches. So, let’s hop aboard the THW time machine to revisit all the best moments from Nov. 23.

Getting No. 600

Two years and one day after Wayne Gretzky scored his 500th goal, the Great One hit his next huge milestone. On Nov. 23, 1998, Gretzky scored for the 600th time in his legendary career during the Los Angeles Kings’ 8-3 road win at the Detroit Red Wings. He also picked up five assists to cap off a six-point night in the Motor City.

It took Gretzky 565 games to score his first 500 goals. He needed another 153 games to go from 500 to 600. At the time, he was just the fifth player in NHL history to score 600 career goals. Since this date, 15 more players have reached the 600-goal plateau.

Wayne Gretzky, Los Angeles Kings
Gretzky was one of two players to score his 600th goal on this date. (Photo By Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

One of those 15 players was Dave Andreychuk. He scored career goals No. 600 and 601 on Nov. 23, 2002, to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-1 victory at the New Jersey Devils. He was the 14th player in league history to join the 600-goal club.

Rangers Legends Get It Done

Rod Gilbert played his final NHL game on Nov. 23, 1977, a New York Rangers’ 6-3 win on home ice over the Colorado Rockies. The right winger spent his entire 18-season career with the Blue Shirts. He played in 1,065 games, scoring 406 goals and 1,021 points, which are all still the most in franchise history. Only Brian Leetch has more assists in a Rangers uniform than Gilbert.

When you do something that only Gordie Howe has done, you have really accomplished a major feat. Mark Messier joined Howe as the only players to appear in 1,700 NHL games on Nov. 23, 2003, during the Rangers 6-3 win over the visiting Ottawa Senators. Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis, and Patrick Marleau have since added their names to this list. Marleau broke Howe’s all-time record of 1,767 games played on Apr. 19, 2021.

Henrik Lundqvist earned a shutout on Nov. 23, 2014, to lead New York to a 5-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens. This came after his backup, Cam Talbot, shut out the Philadelphia Flyers in the team’s previous game. This marked the first time since 1977 where the Rangers got consecutive shutouts from two different netminders. Back then, Wayne Thomas and John Davidson shut out the St Louis Blues and Minnesota North Stars, respectively, three days apart.

A Wild Night for the Islanders

The New York Islanders played one of their whackiest games in team history on Nov. 23, 1982, when they skated to an 8-8 tie with the visiting North Stars. Bryan Trottier is the only member of the Islanders to score twice as seven different players light the lamp. They torched Minnesota goaltender Gilles Meloche for eight goals on just 27 shots. Neal Broten and Steve Payne both had hat tricks for the North Stars.

Bryan Trottier New York Islanders
Trottier had a pair of goals in a crazy game. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

On Nov. 23, 2009, the Toronto Maple Leafs threw everything but the kitchen sink at Islanders’ goaltender Dwyane Roloson. They tied a 33-year-old franchise record with 61 shots on goal but lost 4-3 in overtime. The 61 shots allowed were the most New York ever gave up in a single game. Roloson’s 58 saves are still tied for the 10th-most made in a regular-season game.

Odds & Ends

Nov. 23 was a significant date for goaltending legend George Hainsworth. In 1926, he picked up his first career shutout by leading the Canadiens to a 2-0 victory over the New York Americans. He went on to earn 14 shutouts during the 1926-27 season, which was a rookie record until Tony Esposito broke it in 1969-70 with 15 for the Chicago Blackhawks. Hainsworth finished his Hall of Fame career with 94 shutouts, the third-most all-time behind Martin Brodeur and Terry Sawchuk.

Esa Tikkanen‘s crazy month continued on Nov. 23, 1995, when he was traded by the New Jersey Devils to the Vancouver Canucks for a second-round draft pick. This marked the second time Tikkanen was traded in the month. He was first traded to the Devils by the Blues on Nov. 1, 1995, for a third-round pick. So, New Jersey moved up a round in the draft for 11 games of Tikkanen’s service. He played 100 games with the Canucks, scoring 25 goals and 64 points, before being traded to the Rangers in 1997. The Devils used the draft pick to select forward Wes Mason, who never played in the NHL.

The Boston Bruins made history on Nov. 23, 2002, when they beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1. The victory made them just the second team, after the Canadiens, to win 2,500 NHL games. It was also their 1,500th win on home ice in franchise history.

Bruce Boudreau made his NHL head coaching debut on Nov. 23, 2007, in the Washington Capitals’ 4-3 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Birthday boy Nicklas Backstrom scored in the extra session to give Boudreau his first career victory. He replaced Glen Hanlon, who was fired after 21 games. He led the Hershey Bears, Washington’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, to the 2006 Calder Cup championship. Since this date, he’s earned 617 wins, in 1,087 total games, for the Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, and Vancouver Canucks.

Speaking of successful head coaches on Nov. 23, 2014, the hockey world mourned the passing of Pat Quinn, who died at 71 following a long illness. He played 606 career NHL games, as a defenseman, for the Maple Leafs, Canucks, and Atlanta Flames. His most memorable play might be the open-ice hit he threw on Bruins’ legend Bobby Orr during the 1969 postseason, which knocked him unconscious and started a bench-clearing brawl.

Related – Pat Quinn: A Legacy of Hockey Greatness

An ankle injury forced Quinn to retire in 1977, and he was quickly added to the Flyers organization as the head coach of the AHL affiliate, the Maine Mariners. He was promoted to head coach in Philadelphia during the 1978-79 season. He coached 1,400 games in NHL, earning 684 wins, with the Flyers, Kings, Canucks, Maple Leafs, and Edmonton Oilers, also spending time in the front offices of Toronto and Vancouver. He also took the Canucks to the 1994 Stanley Cup Final.

Pat Quinn
Quinn led the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final in 1994. (THW Archives)

The two-time winner of the Jack Adams Award, for being the league’s best coach, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame just six days before his death. He was unable to attend the ceremony.

On Nov. 23, 2018, Joe Thornton picked up an assist on Timo Meier‘s power-play goal in the San Jose Sharks’ 4-0 win over the Canucks. The helper gave him 1,034 career assists, moving him into 11th place on the all-time leader board.

On Nov. 23, 2021, John Klingberg recorded the 67th multipoint game of his NHL career, the fourth-most by a defenseman in Dallas Stars/Minnesota North Stars history. It was done in a win too, as his Stars beat the Oilers 4-1.

It was a milestone day in Tampa Bay on Nov. 23, 2021, as Steven Stamkos passed Martin St. Louis for the most points at home in Lightning history. St. Louis had 491 points in 480 home games, while at the end of the Lightning’s 4-0 shutout win over the Flyers, Stamkos had 493.

Happy Birthday to You

A total of 14 current and former NHL players share birthdays today. The most successful of this bunch are Simon Nolet (82), Brian Glynn (56), former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu (49), Colby Armstrong (41), Nicklas Backstrom (36), Garnet Hathaway (32), and Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog (31).

*Originally constructed by Greg Boysen

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