So many historic events occurred on Oct. 13 throughout National Hockey League. “Mr. Hockey” scored his first NHL goal in eight years, numerous big names lit the lamp for the first time in their careers, some legendary goaltenders earned shutouts and the first-ever All-Star Game was played in Toronto.
Howe Gets Back in the Goal Column
Gordie Howe returned to the NHL in 1979 when the Hartford Whalers merged into the league after the World Hockey Associated (WHA) ceased operations. On Oct. 13, 1979, he scored his first NHL goal since 1971, in the Whalers’ second game, a 3-3 tie at the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The 51-year-old scored in the first period for his 787th career goal, which was the most in NHL history at the time. Howe incredibly played in all 80 games during the 1979-80 season in his early 50s. He scored 15 goals and 41 points in his 32nd and final season playing professional hockey.
Two First Wins
The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim took to the ice for the just the third time in franchise history on Oct. 13, 1993. After losses to the Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders, they tried their luck versus the Edmonton Oilers. The Ducks roared out to a 4-0 lead midway through the second period but had to fight off a big-time comeback effort. In the end, goaltender Ron Tugnutt made 28 saves in a 4-3 Ducks win, their first in the NHL.
Five years later, on Oct. 13, 1998, it was the Nashville Predators turn to find the win column for the first time ever. In just their second game, they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, at the old Nashville Arena. Andrew Burnette scored the first goal in franchise history after they were shutout in their league debut. J.J. Daigneault scored the game-winning goal in the third period, while goaltender Mike Dunham made 34 saves.
A Huge Date for First Goals
Islanders’ legend Mike Bossy made his NHL debut and scored his first goal, on Oct. 13, 1977, in a 3-2 loss at the Buffalo Sabres. This was his first of 53 goals during the 1977-78 season, which ended with Bossy winning the Calder Trophy for being the rookie of the year.
On Oct. 13, 1979, the Oilers played their first NHL home game, at the Northlands Coliseum, after coming over from the WHA. In a 3-3 tie with the Red Wings, Mark Messier scored the first goal of his career. He scored 693 more before retiring in 2004.
In that same game, Red Wings’ rookie Mike Foligno also scored his first NHL goal, as well as adding an assist. Exactly six years later, on Oct. 13, 1987, Foligno scored the 250th goal of his career, as a member of the Sabres, in an 8-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Defenseman Chris Chelios scored his first NHL, on Oct. 13, 1984, during the Montreal Canadiens’ 4-3 victory over the Penguins.
On that same night, Kirk Muller lit the lamp for the first time. His goal was only one for the New Jersey Devils in a 4-1 loss at the Red Wings.
Wendel Clark enjoyed scoring his first goal so much, on Oct. 13, 1985, he scored a second one in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 5-1 win at the Chicago Blackhawks.
Esa Tikkanen also scored his first NHL goal on this evening. He had the game-winning goal in the Oilers’ 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
On Oct. 13, 2002, Henrik Zetterberg scored his first career NHL goal in a 4-2 Red Wings’ road win at the Mighty Ducks. Zetterberg scored 337 goals, all with the Red Wings, during his 15-season career.
From First Goals to No Goals
Jacques Plante started a big date for shutouts, on Oct. 13, 1956, by recording the 18th of his career as the Canadiens beat the Boston Bruins, 3-0, at the Forum.
The game between the Red Wings and Blackhawks, on Oct. 13, 1962, featured a battle between two goaltending legends. Terry Sawchuk and Glenn Hall dueled to a 0-0 tie. It was the 89th career shutout for Sawchuk and the 47th of Hall’s career.
On Oct. 13, 1964, Charlie Hodge recorded his 15th career shutout, leading the Canadiens to a 3-0 win at the New York Rangers.
Tony Esposito recorded the 24th shutout of his career, on Oct. 13, 1971, in the Blackhawks’ 1-0 win over the visiting Blues. The Hockey Hall of Famer retired in 1984 with 76 shutouts.
The Philadelphia Flyers became just the fourth team in NHL history to open a season with two straight shutouts, on Oct. 13, 1973, as Bernie Parent recorded the 16th of his career in a 6-0 blanking the Islanders.
On that same night, Dan Bouchard earned his third career shutout to lead the Atlanta Flames to a 1-0 win versus the Blues. Leon Rochefort scored the game-winning goal at 16:57 of the final period.
Kirk McLean became the first goaltender to record 20 career shutouts with the Vancouver Canucks, on Oct. 13, 1997, in a 3-0 win over the visiting Oilers.
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On Oct. 13, 2001, Kevin Weekes picked up his seventh career shutout as Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their first victory of the season. Vinnie Prospal netted the only goal of a 1-0 win at the Kings, improving the Lightning’s all-time record against Los Angeles to 8-1-1.
Three Straight Milestones for Gartner
Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Gartner had memorable moments on this date three years in a row. First, on Oct. 13, 1984, he began a Washington Capitals’ team-record 17-game point streak with a power-play goal in a 4-2 loss to the Flyers.
One year later, Gartner scored twice to give him 250 career NHL goals in another Washington 4-2 loss to the Flyers. He was the first player to ever score 250 goals as a member of the Capitals.
Gartner picked up his 300th career assist, on Oct. 13, 1986. He also two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to lead the Capitals to a 7-6 win over the Rangers. Gartner had 397 goals and 789 points in his 10 seasons in Washington before being traded to the Minnesota North Stars in 1989.
Dionne Makes His Mark
Marcel Dionne was another member of the Hockey of Fame who did some damage on this date. Starting on Oct. 13, 1974, Dionne had five assists to lead the Red Wings to a 7-3 win over the Oakland Seals at the Olympia.
Now in Los Angeles, on Oct. 13, 1981, Dionne scored twice to become the first player to score 300 goals as a member of the Kings. The milestone came in a 4-3 win versus the visiting Calgary Flames.
Finally, on Oct. 13, 1984, Dionne scored the franchise’s first goal while the team was short two men. However, his goal on the 5v3 disadvantage was wasted in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Canucks.
Odds & Ends
On Oct. 13, 1930, Maple Leafs’ general manager Conn Smythe resigned as head coach and hired Art Duncan as his replacement. On this same day, the NHL approved the transfer of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise to Philadelphia, where the team became known as the “Quakers” and played for just one season before folding.
The first-ever NHL All-Star Game was played, on Oct. 13, 1947, as the defending the Stanly Cup champion Maple Leafs hosted a squad of stars from the other five teams. Doug Bentley of the Blackhawks scored the game-winning goal in a 4-3 victory for the NHL All-Stars. The game was held as benefit for the players’ pension fund.
Steve Kasper scored at 19:59 of the third period, on Oct. 13, 1989, to give the Kings a 6-5 win at the Canucks. The game-winning goal was set up by Wayne Gretzky for the 1,849th assist of his career, putting him one behind Howe for the all-time record.
The Blackhawks beat the North Stars 4-1, on Oct. 1990, for the 1,700th victory in franchise history. Steve Larmer was the offensive hero by scoring the fifth hat trick of his career and assisting on the other Blackhawks’ goal.
On that same night, Bruins legend Ray Bourque played in his 800th game, a 7-1 loss in Los Angeles.
On Oct. 13, 1993, Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman recorded the 600th assist of his career in a 5-2 loss the Blues.
Those same two teams got together again, six years later, on Oct. 13, 1999. This time the Red Wings won 4-2, but Blues’ forward scored his 400th career goal in the losing effort. He eventually became one of just 45 players to score at least 500 goals, retiring with 515 tallies.
Joel Quenneville became the winningest coach in Blues’ history, on Oct. 13, 2000, when he picked up his 154th career victory. Quenneville broke the record of 153 wins set by Brian Sutter. Rookie goalie Brent Johnson recorded first 1st career shutout and Alex Khavanov scored his first NHL goal in a 2-0 win versus the Minnesota Wild.
Alex Ovechkin scored a power-play goal, on Oct. 13, 2017, in the Capitals 5-2 win at the Devils. With the tally, he became the first player since 1967 to have nine goals in his team’s first five games of a season. Ovechkin finished the season with a league-leading 49 goals.
Happy Birthday to You
There are 17 current and former NHL players sharing birthdays on this date. The most notable birthday boys are Paul Cavallini (55), Sean O’Donnell (49), Marc-Andre Bergeron (40), Andrej Meszaros (35), Jakob Silfverberg (30), Igor Ozhiganov (28) and Lias Andersson (22).