Oct. 18 has seen some memorable victories in National Hockey League history, including the first for two expansion teams. There were also plenty of personal milestones reached including first goals, first shutouts and even a very important first professional contract.
A Foursome of Historic Wins
The third time was the charm for the Philadelphia Flyers. After losing the first two games of their inaugural season of 1967-68, on Oct. 18, 1967, they hit the win column for the first time with a 2-1 victory at the fellow expansion St. Louis Blues. Ed Hoekstra’s third-period tally proved to be the first game-winning goal in franchise history. Goaltender Doug Favell made 34 saves to earn the win.
On Oct. 18, 1986, the Montreal Canadiens earned their 5,000th all-time point when they beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-3, at the Forum. Stephane Richer led the way with two goals and an assist while Claude Lemiuex added to the offensive attack with a goal and an assist. The win brought the Canadiens’ 70-year league record totals to 2,174 -1,290-653 in 4,117 games.
The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Flyers 4-2 at the Civic Arena, on Oct. 18, 1988, for their 600th all-time victory. Mario Lemieux had a big night factoring in all four goals with his 14th career hat trick and an assist.
In their sixth-ever game, on Oct. 18, 2000, the Minnesota Wild earned their first win in franchise history with a 6-5 come-from-behind win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Rookie Marian Gaborik scored a pair of goals, in less than three minutes, to help lead the comeback.
Crosby Makes History
The Penguins defeated the New York Islanders 3-1 on Oct. 18, 2014. Captain Sidney Crosby had helpers on two of the three goals to bring his career total to 500 assists. The milestone came on Patric Hornqvist’s late empty-net goal after earning an assist on Evgeni Malkin’s power-play tally in the middle frame.
Crosby became the fifth-fastest player to earn 500 assists in league history, as it took just 554 games to reach this plateau. The only players who needed fewer games were Wayne Gretzky, Lemieux, Peter Stastny, Bobby Orr and Peter Forsberg.
Plenty of Personal Firsts
On Oct. 18, 1958, Detroit Red Wings’ legend Alex Delvecchio scored his first career hat trick in a 3-1 win at the Chicago Blackhawks. He went on to score two more hat tricks before his retirement in 1974.
Rookie Jacques Lemaire scored the first goal of his NHL career, on Oct. 18, 1967, in the Canadiens’ 2-2 tie at the New York Rangers. Lemaire spent his entire 12-season playing career with Montreal, where he scored 366 goals and 835 points in 853 games. He was a member of eight Stanley Cup championship teams.
Gretzky picked up his first professional assist while playing in the World Hockey Association (WHA), on Oct. 18, 1978, in the Indianapolis Racers’ 4-0 victory over the Quebec Nordiques. It took three WHA games for the Great One to earn his first professional point.
Bobby Smith, the number one overall pick of the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft, scored the first goal of his NHL career on Oct. 18, 1978. He also added an assist in the Minnesota North Stars’ 7-2 win over the visiting Vancouver Canucks.
On Oct. 18, 1980, Edmonton Oilers’ rookie Jari Kurri lit the lamp for the first time in his career during a 5-5 tie with the Islanders. Earlier that night, the Islanders raised the first of four straight Stanley Cup banners at the Nassau Coliseum.
Current Flyers’ head coach Alain Vigneault scored his first NHL goal, on Oct. 18, 1981, in the Blues’ 5-3 defeat to the Rangers. This was one of only two goals Vigneault, a defenseman, had during his playing career, as he appeared in 42 total games for St. Louis.
On this same night, another player who went on to a successful coaching career, Darryl Sutter, scored his first career hat trick to lead the Blackhawks to a 7-5 win over the Oilers. He scored a total of three hat tricks during his eight-season playing career.
Joe Nieuwendyk scored his first career hat trick, on Oct. 18, 1987, but it wasn’t enough as the Calgary Flames lost the Boston Bruins 6-5. This was three of Nieuwendyk’s 51 goals during the 1987-88 season, where he won the Calder Trophy for being the league’s top rookie. He finished his Hall of Fame career with 14 hat tricks, 10 of which came with the Flames.
One year later, on Oct. 18, 1988, Canucks’ rookie Trevor Linden scored the first goal of his NHL career in a 3-2 loss to the Islanders. Linden went on to score 318 goals in Vancouver, which are the third-most in franchise history.
Brett Hull scored three goals, on Oct. 18, 1989, in the Blues’ 9-3 route of the Penguins in Pittsburgh. This was his first hat trick with St. Louis and the second of his young career. He had five hat tricks during the 1989-90 season. Of his 34 career games with three goals or more, 27 of them came with the Blues.
Goaltender Ed Belfour recorded his first NHL shutout, on Oct. 18, 1990, to lead the Blackhawks to a 3-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Exactly 13 years later, in 2003, October 18, 2003, Belfour earned his 66th career shutout to tie Patrick Roy for 11th place on the all-time. This shutout came as a member of the Maple Leafs, in a 1-0 win over at the Canadiens.
Odds & Ends
After a poll in the local newspapers, on Oct. 18, 1930, the Detroit Cougars are rebranded as the Falcons. The name would last for two seasons before it was changed again to the Red Wings after James Norris buys the team.
On Oct. 18, 1944, the Red Wings signed amateur Ted Lindsay to his first professional contract. He went on to play in 862 games for Detroit, scoring 335 goals and 728 points. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966.
George Armstrong scored a goal, on Oct. 18, 1967, to give him 600 points in his NHL career, in a Maple Leafs’ 3-2 loss to the Red Wings. He retired with 713 points, which are the fifth-most in team history.
Another Maple Leafs legend, Dave Keon, became the seventh player in team history to score 200 goals on Oct. 18, 1969. He helped Toronto earn a 4-1 win over the visiting Blackhawks. Keon’s 365 career goals for the Maple Leafs are still the third-most in the history of the franchise.
Phil Esposito led the Rangers to a 6-3 win over the Canucks, on Oct. 18, 1979, by scoring three straight goals. This was the 32nd and final hat trick of his career, which was the most in NHL history at the time. He has since been pushed down to fifth on the all-time list.
Both Brian Propp and Ilkka Sinisalo scored their second career hat tricks, on Oct. 18, 1984, as the Flyers rolled the Canucks 13-2, at the Spectrum. They outshot Vancouver 58-19 in the domination performance. This tied the franchise record for the most goals in a single game, which was set the previous season with a 13-4 win over the Penguins on March 22, 1984.
On Oct. 18, 1989, Paul Coffey assisted on three goals to become the sixth defenseman in NHL history to record 600 career assists, following Orr, Denis Potvin, Brad Park, Larry Robinson, and Borje Salming. However, that was the only bright spot on the night as the Penguins were beaten 9-3 by the Blues.
Defenseman Teppo Numminen became the Phoenix Coyotes’ franchise all-time leader in games played, on Oct. 18, 2001, when he appeared in his 951st contest with the team. The milestone came in a 3-1 loss at the Dallas Stars. He finished his career with 1,098 games which are now second to Shane Doan, who played in 1,540 for the franchise.
Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews scored a shorthanded goal in overtime, on Oct. 18, 2014, to give his team a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators. This was the first regular-season shorthanded overtime goal since Glen Wesley scored one for the Carolina Hurricanes on Feb. 22, 2007.
Patrick Marleau played in his 1,500th game, on Oct. 18, 2017, a 6-3 Maple Leafs’ win over the Red Wings. He was the 18th player in NHL history to accomplish this feat. This was only his seventh game with Toronto after he played the first 1,493 games with the San Jose Sharks.
Happy Birthday to You
A total of 18 players who have skated at least one game in the NHL have been born on this date. The best-known names of this group are Hilliard Graves (70), Kjell Samuelsson (62), Doug Lidster (60), Normand Lacombe (56) and the late Mush March.