The 2012-13 NHL season may have been 48 games, but there was no shortage of great contests and amazing performances. NHL.com asked its writers to stroll down memory lane and pick some of their top moments of the season that was.
Today: Top milestones achieved during the 2012-13 season
It didn't take long to see just how exciting the 2012-13 season could be.
Their successes were a precursor for a number of milestone moments during the 2012-13 season. Here is a sampling of a few of the best, in chronological order:
Teemu remains terrific -- Teemu Selanne started the season playing like the Peter Pan of the NHL. With the Anaheim Ducks trailing 2-1 late in the first period against the Vancouver Canucks, he set up Sheldon Souray's game-tying power-play goal. That started a five-goal run for the Ducks that Selanne capped with a power-play goal in the final seconds of the second period that gave the Ducks a 6-2 lead. He also had an assist on Corey Perry's goal in the second, and added a goal in the third period of the Ducks' 7-3 victory. At 42 years, 200 days, Selanne became the oldest player in NHL history with a four-point game since Gordie Howe (42 years, 326 days) in 1971.
The big nights by the NHL's "senior citizens" sparked this postgame opening-night quote from Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau: "So [Selanne] and Jagr are leading the League in scoring? What the [heck] is this world coming to?"
Grand achievements -- The 1,000-game club saw six new members gain admittance, starting with Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier, who entered Jan. 21. Two weeks later, two players joined him: Colorado Avalanche forward Milan Hejduk (Feb. 4) and St. Louis Blues defenseman Wade Redden (Feb. 7). The next month it was Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa (March 3), followed by Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen (March 18) and Phoenix Coyotes forward Steve Sullivan (March 28).
Timonen's milestone game was made sweeter by the fact he played it on his 38th birthday.
Brodeur reaching new heights -- Ninety-five players in the history of the NHL have played 1,200 games; one of them is a goalie. That would be New Jersey Devils likely Hall of Fame member Martin Brodeur, who reached the milestone Feb. 9. He stopped 24 of 25 shots in a 3-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
That wasn't Brodeur's only milestone moment last season. He faced the 30,000th shot of his career during an overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 27. That number also is more than any goalie who's ever played.
Gionta makes history -- The Montreal Canadiens personify the history of the NHL. And the current captain of the team, Brian Gionta, helped the franchise reach another milestone March 5. Gionta's power-play goal at 6:07 of the third period was the 20,000th in the NHL history of the franchise, which dates to 1917.
Blackhawks just can't lose -- Most hockey fans knew the Chicago Blackhawks would be among the better teams in the Western Conference when the 2012-13 season opened. But no one could have predicted the record-smashing success they had: 24 straight games with at least a point to start the season.
Chicago won its first six games, and after a pair of shootout losses, won four more. After another shootout loss, the Blackhawks won their next 11 games. Their remarkable streak ended with their first regulation loss March 8, but at 21-0-3, they set a League record for most games without a regulation loss to open a season and used it as a springboard to their first Presidents' Trophy since 1991, and, two months later, the Stanley Cup.
Jagr a grand helper -- Eleven players in NHL history had at least 1,000 assists entering the 2012-13 season and all had one thing in common: Each was born in Canada.
But March 29, Czech-born Jaromir Jagr changed that when he was credited with a secondary assist on Jamie Benn's goal that held up as the game-winner in the Dallas Stars' 5-3 victory against the Minnesota Wild.
Penguins' perfect March -- The season's third month was the busiest for the Pittsburgh Penguins with 15 games in 31 days. But with the first and last days of the month off, it became 15 games crammed into 29 days. Though a daunting path, the Penguins skated through it perfectly and became the first team in NHL history to go undefeated in a month when a team played that many games.
Among their victories was a 7-6 overtime win March 2 against the Montreal Canadiens that was the highest-scoring game of the season; a 6-1 win against the New York Islanders on March 10 when Sidney Crosby had five assists in 15 minutes of ice time while teammate Chris Kunitz had a hat trick and two assists; and a 35-save shutout from Tomas Vokoun in a 2-0 win against the Islanders on March 30, the Penguins' third straight shutout to close the month.
Family reunion in Carolina -- In June 2012, the Carolina Hurricanes acquired center Jordan Staal from the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he joined captain and older brother Eric Staal. And April 24, the team recalled forward Jared Staal -- the youngest of the four Staal brothers -- from their American Hockey League team. He made his NHL debut April 25, against the New York Rangers, starting the game on a line with his two older brothers. At the game -- but not in the lineup because of injury -- was Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, marking the first time all four brothers were in the same building as NHL players.
"That's something they're going to remember the rest of their lives," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller told the team's website that day. "We're in the NHL, but we have to remember it's just a game sometimes and it's about living the moment. Stuff like that they'll remember the rest of their lives."
Still scoring after all these years -- When Martin St. Louis won the Art Ross Trophy in 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightning forward was a 28-year-old in the prime of his career. Nine years later, St. Louis showed he still was able to fill the nets as well as he did when he was much younger.
St. Louis had a furious closing kick, with 17 points in his final 14 games, to finish with a League-high 60 points in 48 games to win his second scoring title. At 37 when the season ended (he turned 38 in June), he became the oldest player in League history to win the Art Ross. Across 82 games, St. Louis would have had 102 points last season, eight more than he had winning his first scoring title.
Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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