Today is the 50th anniversary of Maurice Richard’s 500th goal – the Rocket became the first player to reach the 500-goal mark when he scored against Chicago’s Glenn Hall at the Forum during a 3-1 victory. Since then, 38 more players have reached the 500-goal mark. Some lesser-known facts about 500th goals and the players who’ve scored (and allowed) them).
* Toronto’s Mats Sundin is one of only two players to get No. 500 while shorthanded (Gordie Howe was the other). But Sundin is the only one to reach the milestone with a shorthanded tally in overtime. He beat Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff 50 seconds into OT last Oct. 14 to give the Leafs a 5-4 win.
* Nineteen teams have had a player score No. 500; Detroit has the most with five, one more than Montreal and Chicago.
* Nineteen teams (not all the same ones) have surrendered a 500th goal.
* Kiprusoff was the fifth Calgary goaltender to allow one – Vancouver and Colorado are next with four.
* The first three players to reach the 500-goal mark, Richard, Howe and Bobby Hull, all did so against Hall of Famers (Hall, Gump Worsley and Ed Giacomin). The only Hall of Famer to allow a 500th goal since then was Patrick Roy, who surrendered three – more than any other goaltender. No one else has allowed more than one. Five players reached the 500-goal mark in 2006-07, the most in any season. San Jose’s Jeremy Roenick (497) might be the only player to get there this season.
Panthers ‘own’ Habs -- In the long, storied history of the Montreal Canadiens, the Florida Panthers have a unique distinction: They are the only team with a winning record against the Habs in Montreal.
Florida’s 2-1 shootout victory at the Bell Centre Tuesday night improved the Panthers’ record against the Canadiens in Montreal to 13-7-3 with four overtime/shootout losses. In their last three visits to the Bell Centre, the Panthers have allowed just one goal in regulation time.
Overall, the Panthers are 26-16-6, with four overtime/shootout losses, against the Canadiens since entering the NHL in 1993. The Buffalo Sabres are the only other team with a winning record against Montreal -- they bring a record of 97-91-31, with two overtime losses, to the Bell Centre Saturday night.
Home, sweet home -- Anaheim’s games at the Honda Center against Minnesota Sunday and Detroit Monday marked only the fifth time in the Ducks’ 14 NHL seasons that they’ve played home games on consecutive nights. They split this pair, losing to Minnesota, 2-0, before a 6-3 victory over Detroit. The Ducks hadn’t played back-to-back home games since March 12-13, 2004, when they beat Chicago and San Jose on consecutive nights.
It’s a new season, part one -- Though Pittsburgh led the NHL last season with 94 power-play goals, the Penguins were just 2-for-23 in eight games against the New Jersey Devils. The Penguins needed less than 40 minutes in their first meeting in 2007-08 to better than total – they connected three times in their first five chances against the Devils Wednesday night when the teams met for the first time in the new season.
It’s a new season, part two -- Among the things the Nashville Predators did well on the way to piling up 110 points last season was not allow shorthanded goals. The Preds surrendered a league-low two in 82 games. So much for last season: Nashville matched that total by allowing shorthanded tallies in back-to-back games on Oct. 11 and 13.
Rally to remember -- Colorado’s 5-4 shootout victory over Calgary marked only the third time since the start of the 2005-06 season that a team rallied to win after trailing by four goals. Pittsburgh spotted Washington a 4-0 lead last Dec. 11 before rallying to win 5-4 in a shootout, and Dallas fell behind 4-0 to Los Angeles on Oct. 5, 2005, the opening night of the 2005-06 season, before rallying for a 5-4 victory.
Totally dominated -- How badly did the Atlanta Thrashers struggle while losing their first six games of the season? Consider that the two goals they scored in the first period in their 5-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday night matched the total they scored in the first period in their previous six games combined. They allowed the first goal all six times, were never ahead after the first period and had been out-shot in every period. The Thrashers were also equal-opportunity losers: They were 0-2-0 against each of the three divisions in the Eastern Conference.
Unique goal -- When Marc-Andre Bergeron of the New York Islanders scored against the Rangers on Oct. 10, he accomplished something that hadn’t been done in more than four years. Bergeron’s goal with less than four seconds left in the first period was scored with the teams skating 3-on-3. It was the first regulation goal scored with both teams having three skaters since Feb. 27, 2003, when Montreal defenseman Craig Rivet scored at 16:41 of the second period of a 6-3 home loss to Minnesota. There have been four 3-on-3 goals scored since then, but they all came during overtime – with each team skating down one man after starting 4-on-4.
Road power -- The New York Islanders aren’t getting many power-play chances on the road, but they’re making the most of the ones they receive. The Isles have just 17 power-play opportunities in their first four road games, but have cashed in on seven of them, including three in Thursday night’s 5-2 victory at Washington. In contrast to their road success (41.2 percent), the Isles are just 1-for-14 (7.1 percent) in three home games.