Perhaps the greatest defenseman in National Hockey League history hit a pair of milestones, with two different teams, on this date. Plus, the Nassau Coliseum hosted a handful of memorable moments, and a current general manager built his Hall of Fame credentials during his playing career. So, let’s take a journey back in time and relive all the great moments from Oct. 24.
Orr Makes Even More History
When you had the career Hall of Fame defenseman Bobby Orr had, you could mention him nearly every day in these types of history posts. Oct. 24 was particularly memorable as he had big moments with two different teams.
First, on Oct. 24, 1969, Orr had three assists, including the 100th of his NHL career as the Boston Bruins picked up a 4-2 road victory at the Oakland Golden Seals 4-2.
Exactly seven years later, on Oct. 24, 1976, Orr scored a pair of goals to help the Chicago Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 7-2 at the old Chicago Stadium. Both goals came against his former teammate in Boston, goaltender Eddie Johnston, to give him 900 career points.
Orr became the first defenseman to score 900 points in the NHL, hitting this milestone in 638 games. Since then, 11 more defensemen have scored at least 900 points, two of which will appear later in the column. This was one of the final big moments of Orr’s legendary career as he only played in 19 more games before knee injuries finally forced him to retire in 1978.
Roy Resets the Bar
On Oct. 24, 2002, Patrick Roy helped lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 road win at the Phoenix Coyotes. The victory came in his 972nd career game, passing the legendary Terry Sawchuk for the most games played by a goaltender in NHL history.
Roy retired in 2003 with 1,029 games played. He held onto his record until Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils passed him up in 2009. He currently sits third on the all-time games played list for goaltenders, with Roberto Luongo in second.
Nassau Coliseum Memories
Shortly after the New York Islanders joined the NHL, they hosted the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 24, 1972, at the Nassau Coliseum. The Canadiens won the first-ever meeting between these two franchises, 4-3. Jacques Lemaire scored three goals and assisted on the fourth Montreal goal to post the first hat trick in the building’s history. This was one of 60 losses for the Islanders during their inaugural season.
On Oct. 24, 1981, the Islanders beat the Washington Capitals, 6-4, on home ice. Mike Bossy had a goal and two assists to lead the offensive attack. He became the first member of the Islanders ever to score 250 goals. He accomplished this feat in 315 games, which made him the fastest player to ever do so at the time.
Exactly seven years later, on Oct. 24, 1988, Bossy officially announced his retirement. He missed the entire 1987-88 season due to a back injury and was unable to make a comeback. He retired with 573 goals and 1,126 points in just 752 games, leaving many to wonder how far up the all-time scoring list he could have climbed if it wasn’t for the bad back.
Finally, on Oct. 24, 1992, Benoit Hogue scored his first career NHL hat trick to lead the Islanders to a 4-2 win over the Hartford Whalers. Hogue was originally acquired in the trade that sent Pat LaFontaine to the Buffalo Sabres. He scored 105 goals and 229 points in his 258 games with the Islanders over four seasons.
Francis’ Big Date
Long before Ron Francis became the first general manager of the Seattle Kraken, he scored 1,798 points during his 23-season Hall of Fame playing career. He reached two personal milestones on this date.
On Oct. 24, 1987, Francis picked up an assist, in the Hartford Whalers’ 5-3 win over the Blackhawks, for the 500th point of his career. He scored 382 goals and 1,175 points in his two stints with the Whalers and Carolina Hurricanes.
In 1991, Francis was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was with the Penguins, on Oct. 24, 1992, where he picked up two assists to record his 900th career NHL point in a 4-3 win at the Devils.
Odds & Ends
On Oct. 24, 1968, 44-year-old defenseman Doug Harvey assisted on two goals in 28 seconds during the third period to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 2-1 win against the Bruins.
The Minnesota North Stars, on Oct. 24, 1971, picked up a big 6-3 road win at the Los Angeles Kings. Forward Murray Oliver played a part in all the scoring with a goal and five assists. One of those assists came on Bob Nevin’s goal, which was the 500th point of the veteran’s NHL career.
Gilbert Perreault scored a goal, on Oct. 24, 1986, in the Sabres’ 5-4 loss to the visiting Whalers. The goal was the 508th of his career, moving him ahead of Canadiens’ legend Jean Beliveau for 11th place on the league’s all-time scoring list.
One year later, on Oct. 24, 1987, Phil Housley scored a goal to become the Sabres’ all-time leading scorer among defensemen with 352 points. However, it wasn’t enough as Buffalo lost to Pittsburgh, 5-3, thanks to Mario Lemieux scoring three goals in the third period for the ninth hat trick of his career.
Brian Propp scored the 400th goal of his career, on Oct. 24, 1991, in a 5-2 loss to his former team, the Philadelphia Flyers. He was the 35th player in league history to score 400 goals. Propp scored the first 369 goals of his career in his 11 seasons with the Flyers.
On that same night, Paul Coffey scored his 310th career goal to tie Islanders’ Hall of Famer Denis Potvin as the highest goal-scoring defenseman in NHL history. The milestone goal came in a 4-2 Penguins’ loss to the Devils.
The Bruins retired Terry O’Reilly’s No. 24 in a pre-game ceremony, on Oct. 24, 2002, before their first home game of the 2002-02 season. O’Reilly spent his entire 14-season career in Boston, scoring 202 goals and 606 points in 891 games. Once the game began, the Bruins tied 2-2 with the visiting Ottawa Senators.
On Oct. 24, 2003, the Detroit Red Wings set a franchise record with their 15th consecutive home victory, in a 4-0 win over the Dallas Stars. Goaltender Dominik Hasek recorded his 62nd career shutout and first since returning from a one-year retirement.
Goaltender Carey Price came up huge with 49 saves on Oct. 24, 2015, as the Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 at the Bell Centre. The win gave the Habs a perfect 9-0-0 record to start the season, with all the wins coming in regulation. This broke the record for the most consecutive regulation wins to begin a season, initially set by the 1975-76 Sabres.
However, the Canadiens missed the playoffs this season, despite the incredible start. The biggest reason for the misfortune was that Price only played five more games after this one due to injury.
Happy Birthday to You
A total of 16 current and former NHL players were born on Oct. 24. The most recognizable names include longtime defenseman Harold Snepsts (66), former blueliner and current broadcaster Joe Micheletti (67), Jim Peplinski (61), Jamal Mayers (47), Jonas Gustavsson (37), Kyle Rau (29), and Tony DeAngelo (26).
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.