Halloween has provided us with plenty of (hat) tricks and treats through the history of the National Hockey of History. The Great One haunted goaltenders across the league, while some of the biggest names to play in Montreal and New York had big nights on this date.
Gretzky Scares More Goaltenders
No player in NHL history caused more nightmares for goaltenders than Wayne Gretzky. He terrorized a couple more netminders on Halloween.
On Oct. 31, 1981, Gretzky became the first player ever to score seven hat tricks before turning 21 in the Edmonton Oilers’ 11-4 win at the Quebec Nordiques. After scoring a goal in the second period, he exploded for three more goals and an assist during the final frame. This gave him 13 goals in 13 games to start the 1981-82 season, which he finished with 92 goals and 212 points.
Eight years later, on Oct. 31, 1989, Gretzky had a six-point night to lead the Los Angeles Kings to an 8-4 win at the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored his 46th career hat trick and added three assists in his big night. Mario Lemieux had a pair of assists in the losing effort to start a 46-game points scoring streak. It wound up being the second-longest streak in NHL history, five games shy of Gretzky’s all-time mark of 51.
Hat Trick or Treating
A lot of hats have been thrown onto the ice on Halloween night over the years. On Oct. 31, 1968, Frank Mahovlich scored his seventh career hat trick, his first with Detroit Red Wings, and had an assist to lead the way in a 7-5 win against the visiting Boston Bruins.
Simon Nolet scored four goals, his second career hat trick, on Oct. 31, 1971, and added an assist to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-3 win over the Canadiens at the Spectrum.
Dave Taylor scored his fifth career hat trick, Oct. 31, 1984, as the Kings earned a huge 10-3 road win at the Vancouver Canucks.
On that same night, Uli Hiemer became the first rookie and the first defenseman to ever score a hat trick in New Jersey Devils franchise history. However, the team came up short in a 7-6 loss to the Penguins.
Kevin Stevens scored his first career hat trick, on Oct. 31, 1989, in an 8-4 Penguins’ loss to the Kings on home ice. Exactly two years later, Stevens scored a pair of goals and added two assists, to give him 100 helpers in his career, in Pittsburgh’s 8-1 victory over the Minnesota North Stars.
Calgary Flames’ forward Sergei Makarov scored his third career hat trick, on Oct. 31, 1992, in a 5-3 win versus North Stars.
On Oct. 31, 1998, Geoff Sanderson scored his first hat trick with the Buffalo Sabres, and sixth overall in his career, in a 6-3 road win at the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Memories in Montreal
Maurice Richard played in his first NHL game, on Oct. 31, 1942, in a 3-2 win over the Bruins at the forum. He picked up the first of his 966 points career points with an assist in the second period.
On Oct. 31, 1989, goaltender Patrick Roy recorded his 10th career shutout in the Canadiens’ 3-0 victory at the New York Islanders. Three years later, Roy became the fourth netminder in franchise history to record 200 victories. The milestone came in a 4-3 win over the visiting Rangers. He was the 37th goalie in league history.
When the Canadiens scored another win over the Bruins, on Oct. 31, 1995, Mario Tremblay set a new NHL record for the best start as a new head coach with his sixth straight victory. The previous record of five games was set by Bruins coach Bep Guidolin at the start of the 1973-74 season. Marc Crawford of the Colorado Avalanche tied it to kick off the 1995-96 season.
Big Hits on Broadway
Rookie Vic Hadfield scored the first goal of his NHL career, on Oct. 31, 1961, in the Rangers 4-2 win at the Chicago Blackhawks. He spent the next 13 seasons in New York, scoring 262 goals and 572 points.
On Oct. 31, 1967, Rod Gilbert scored his 100th career goal as the Rangers beat the Los Angeles Kings 6-1 in the first game ever between the two teams. Gilbert still leads the franchise with 406 goals.
Marcel Dionne became just the third player in league history to score 700 goals, on Oct. 31, 1987, as the Rangers lost 8-2 to the New York Islanders. He joined Gordie Howe and Phil Esposito, who also scored his 700th goal with the Rangers, as the only players to accomplish this feat, at the time.
Defenseman Brian Leetch reached 500 points in his career, on Oct. 31, 1995, with two assists in the Rangers’ 5-3 victory at the San Jose Sharks.
Odds & Ends
George “Wingy” Johnston scored two goals, on Oct. 31, 1945, in his first game after two years of military service, to lead the Blackhawks to a 5-1 win over the Rangers. 18,877 fans crammed into the Chicago Stadium for the largest weeknight crowd in NHL history.
On Oct. 31, 1966, Andy Bathgate scored a goal and added three assists as the Maple Leafs beat the visiting Blackhawks. Exactly six years later, now with the Penguins, Bathgate played in his 1000th career game, a 5-2 loss in Chicago,
The Blackhawks set a team record, on Oct. 31, 1987, with two shorthanded goals 12 seconds apart, early in the third period of a 6-5 loss at the Maple Leafs. Troy Murray and Denis Savard scored to set the mark.
The Canucks signed Russian forward Pavel Bure to his first NHL contract, on Oct. 31, 1991. He made his league debut five days later and finished his rookie season with 34 goals and 60 points in 65 games.
Bernie Nicholls scored his 400th career goal on Oct. 31, 1993, as the New Jersey Devils lost 4-1 to the Rangers, at a neutral site game in Halifax. He became the 43rd player in NHL history to reach the 400-goal mark.
Brian Boucher became the first goaltender in Flyers history to record shutouts on consecutive nights, on Oct. 31, 2001, when he led the team to a 3-0 win over the visiting Penguins. This came one night after shutting out the Washington Capitals by the same 3-0 score.
On Oct. 31, 2003, the Canucks became the second team in NHL history to score the first goal in its first 11 games of the season. Trevor Linden started the scoring in Vancouver’s 4-1 win at the Phoenix Coyotes.
Rookie Jonathan Toews scored a goal, on Oct. 31, 2007, in the Blackhawks’ 5-4 victory over the Dallas Stars. This gave him at least one point in each of the first 10 games of his career, the second-longest such point streak in league history.
Happy Birthday to You
There are 23 current and former NHL players who have called Halloween their birthday. The most notable of his bunch are Eric Nesterenko (87), Phil Goyette (87), Risto Siltanen (62), Mats Naslund (61), Tomas Plekanec (38), Steve Eminger (37), Nick Foligno (33), Evgeny Svechnikov (24), Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (24) and the late Hall of Famer, Newsy Lalonde.