Today in Hockey History: Nov. 7

One of the biggest trades in National Hockey History went down on this date as two heated rivals swapped star players. Also, Nov. 7 has seen some of the best players to ever skate in Detroit have big moments and multiple defensemen have big nights on the scoresheet.

Esposito Opens on Broadway

The Boston Bruins and New York Rangers completed one of the biggest trades in NHL history, on Nov. 7, 1975. The Bruins sent elite center Phil Esposito and defenseman Carol Vadnais for center Jean Ratelle, defenseman Brad Park and minor league defenseman Joe Zanussi.

Esposito was famously not happy about being traded to one of his most-hated rivals. In fact, back in 2013, he showed that he had yet to move on.

I didn’t choose to leave Boston. I signed a contract in Boston for less money than I could have gotten from going to the WHA. I could have made millions doing that. And you know how they repaid me? Three weeks later, they traded me (to the New York Rangers).

From “Esposito brothers split on how much Boston-Chicago final means” by Steve Simmons – Toronto Sun, 6/11/13

He didn’t let his feelings affect his play, as later that night, Esposito was in uniform for the Rangers. He scored two goals and added an assist in the Rangers’ 7-5 win over the Oakland Seals.

All-Time Great Goaltenders Add to Legacies

Hall of Fame goaltenders Jacques Plante and Glenn Hall were connected during their lengthy careers. They spent years as rivals before eventually spending two seasons as teammates with the St. Louis Blues. Both netminders had numerous memories on this date.

On Nov. 7, 1957, Plante recorded his 27th career shutout in the Montreal Canadiens 6-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Maurice Richard and Claude Provost each scored a goal and added two assists to lead the offense.

Plante was a legend in Montreal. (THW Archives)

Two years later, on Nov. 7, 1959, Plante started a game for the Canadiens wearing a face mask for the first time in his NHL career, six days after initially putting it on, in a 2-2 tie with Hall and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Hall earned the 38th shutout of his career, on Nov. 7, 1961, as Bill Hay racked up four assists in the Blackhawks’ 6-0 victory over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.

One year later, on Nov. 7, 1962, Hall made his 502nd consecutive start in a 3-3 tie against the Bruins. He had played in every minute of the previous 501 games, but that streak came to an end when a back injury forced him out of the game and Denis DeJordy replaces him.

Glenn Hall
Hall’s record will never be broken. (THW Archives)

On Nov. 6, 1965, Hall recorded another shutout in a 9-0 beating of Toronto. Bobby Hull was the star of the night by scoring his 15th career hat trick and adding three assists. He went on to score a league-record 54 goals during the 1965-66 season.

Finally, on Nov. 7, 1968, Plante recorded his 65th career shutout in the Blues’ 8-0 win at the Philadelphia Flyers. St. Louis center Red Berenson scored six goals and added an assist to become the first player to have a six-goal game in the NHL since the Red Wings’ Sid Howe back in 1944.

Red Wings’ Legends Shine

Rookie Alex Delvecchio scored the first two goals of his NHL career, on Nov. 7, 1951, and added an assist in the Red Wings’ 4-4 tie against the Rangers. 22 years later, on Nov. 7, 1973, the Red Wings fired head coach Ted Garvin and named Delvecchio as his replacement. However, he hadn’t retired yet, so Garvin coached his final game that night. Delvecchio officially retired two days later and began coaching.

On Nov. 7, 1954, Ted Lindsay became the first player in franchise history and the fifth-ever in the NHL to score 250 goals. Goaltender Terry Sawchuk earned his 48th career shutout in a 1-0 victory over the Rangers.

Gordie Howe picked up an assist, on Nov. 7, 1968, for the 1600th point of his remarkable career. The milestone helper came on Delvecchio’s first-period goal in a 5-2 win over the Minnesota North Stars.

A Big Date for Defensemen

Jon Van Boxmeer had a huge night, on Nov. 7, 1981, in the Buffalo Sabres’ 6-2 road win at the New York Islanders. He scored a natural hat trick and added two assists to set a single-game franchise record for the most points by a defenseman.

Bruce Driver became the all-time leading goal-scorer among the New Jersey Devils’ defensemen, on Nov. 7, 1990, in a 6-3 loss to the Islanders. He has since been passed by a pair of Hall of Famers, Scott Niedermayer and Scott Stevens.

Scott Stevens
Stevens passed Driver for the most goals by a Devils blueliner. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Defenseman Doug Crossman scored his first career hat trick, on Nov. 7, 1992, including the winning goal in overtime. He also picked up three assists to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 6-5 win at the Islanders, to give Terry Crisp his 150th NHL win.

Brian Leetch scored in overtime, on Nov. 7, 2002, to lead the Rangers past the Calgary Flames 1-0. With the tally, he became the first defenseman to score seven regular-season overtime goals in league history.

Odds & Ends

Darryl Sittler picked up an assist, on Nov. 7, 1979, to become only the third player to ever score 700 points with the Maple Leafs. Defenseman Borje Salming added four assists as Toronto won 7-4 in St. Louis.

The Edmonton Oilers beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-2, on Nov. 7, 1980. Playing in just his 92nd career game, Wayne Gretzky picked up the 100th assist of his early career.

Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
Gretzky needed just 92 games for 100 assists. (Photo by B Bennett/Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals retired their first number in franchise history, on Nov. 7, 1981, as they sent Yvon Labre’s No. 7 up to the rafters. The defenseman had 12 goals, 96 points and 756 penalty minutes in 334 games.

On Nov. 7, 1982, Gilbert Perreault became the first player in Sabres’ history to score 400 goals as a member of the team. The milestone came in Buffalo’s 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Bernie Nicholls became the fifth player to score 200 goals in a Kings’ uniform, on Nov. 7, 1987, during their 5-4 win over the Rangers. In that same game, former Kings great, Marcel Dionne, became only the third player in NHL history to record 1,000 career assists when he scored two goals and added an assist in the losing effort. He joined Howe and Gretzky in the 1,000-assist club. There are currently 13 players to hit this plateau.

Bobby Holik scored the 5,000th goal in Devils’ franchise history, on Nov. 7, 2001. He had a pair of goals and an assist to lead New Jersey to a 3-2 win versus the visiting Atlanta Thrashers.

Mike Modano scored two first-period goals, on Nov. 7, 2007, to become the highest-scoring player in NHL history who was born in the United States. He reached 1,233 points to pass Phil Housley in a 3-1 road win at the San Jose Sharks.

Mike Modano Dallas Stars
Modano is the top-scoring US-Born player. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

Jaromir Jagr skated in his 1,925th total game, regular season and playoff combined, on Nov. 7, 2017. He moved ahead of Howe for second place on the league’s all-time combined games played list. He finished his career just 51 combined games played behind Mark Messier for the most ever.

On that same night, Roberto Luongo made his 972nd appearance to pass Sawchuk for the third-most in NHL history. He made 45 saves, but it wasn’t enough as his Florida Panthers lost 3-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes. He retired in 2019 with 1,044 games played, second only behind Martin Brodeur.

Happy Birthday to You

Nov. 7 has been the birth date of 17 players who have played at least one game in the NHL. The most notable players of this lot are Metro Prystai (86), Ernie Hicke (73), Mike Commodore (41), Pascal Leclaire (38) and the late Hall of Famer Rusty Crawford.

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