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NHL records that don't figure to be broken

Tuesday, 07.24.2012 / 1:16 PM / NHL Insider

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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NHL records that don't figure to be broken
NHL.com looks at a sampling of records that aren't likely to be eclipsed any time soon -- if ever.

Not all that long ago, Gordie Howe's 801 goals and Terry Sawchuk's 103 shutouts were deemed to be records that would stand the test of time. Then along came Wayne Gretzky and Martin Brodeur, who dropped the former Detroit teammates back to No. 2 in their respective categories.

Players like Gretzky and Brodeur have set standards for the players of today and tomorrow to shoot at. But there are some records that don't figure to be broken for a long time, if ever. Here are a few of them.

Most consecutive complete games by a goaltender: Glenn Hall, 502

Hall was as brilliant as he was durable -- a combination that landed him in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Hall took the ice for the Detroit Red Wings on opening night in 1955-56 and played all 70 games. He did the same thing the following season. The Wings sent him to Chicago in the summer of 1957, and he played all 70 games for the Hawks for five consecutive seasons, leading Chicago to a Stanley Cup in 1961.

Gretzky's point-scoring streak, Bowman's coaching wins mark and Robinson's astronomical career plus-minus total are records that aren't likely to be eclipsed any time soon -- if ever. (Photos: Getty Images)

Hall's streak of playing every minute grew to 502 games. It showed no signs of ending until Nov. 7, 1962, when he had to be lifted in the first period against Boston due to a back injury. Hall wound up playing "only" 66 of Chicago's 70 games. Ironically, though his career lasted through the 1970-71 season, he played more than 50 games only once after 1963-64.

Grant Fuhr holds the single-season mark for games played with 79 -- meaning that he had three nights off. That's three more than Hall had in a span of more than seven seasons. In the era of the 82-game season, Hall's mark is secure for the ages.

Most goals by a defenseman in one game: Ian Turnbull, 5

Since the NHL was launched in 1917, only 44 players have scored five or more goals in a game. Only one of those was a defenseman, and an unlikely one at that. Ian Turnbull, a 23-year-old for the Toronto Maple Leafs, scored five times in a 9-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 2, 1977 at Maple Leaf Gardens. Even more impressive was the fact that he scored his five goals on just five shots, the only player ever to do so.

Turnbull finished the 1976-77 season with a career-best 22 goals and was out of the NHL before he turned 30. Amazingly, he also had a four-goal game for Los Angeles against Vancouver in December 1981 -- one of only three four-goal games by a defenseman since Turnbull's record night.

Longest consecutive point-scoring streak: Wayne Gretzky, 51 games

Just as Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak remains the gold standard in baseball, Gretzky's streak of getting at least one point in each of the first 51 games in 1983-84 is one that figures to be almost impossible to top. The only serious run at it came six years later, when Mario Lemieux had points in 46 consecutive games before injuries knocked him out of the lineup -- proving that health is as important a factor as skill.

While Gretzky's career marks for goals, assists and points will be hard to top -- it would take record-setting brilliance for at least a couple of decades -- the scoring streak mark figures to be the hardest to top. Aside from the Great One's record streak and Lemieux's 46-gamer, only Gretzky (39 games in 1985-86 and 30 games in 1982-83) and Quebec's Mats Sundin (30 in 1992-93) have scored in as many as 30 consecutive games. Sidney Crosby's 25-game streak in 2010-11 is the longest in the NHL since Sundin's run.

Consider also that not only did Gretzky score every night during the streak, he scored a lot -- 153 points, or three points a game, during his run.

Fastest three goals: Bill Mosienko, 21 seconds

The Chicago Blackhawks were trailing the New York Rangers entering the third period of their season finale on March 23, 1952 -- until Mosienko scored what's still the fastest hat trick in NHL history. The future Hall of Famer beat goaltender Lorne Anderson at 6:09, at 6:20 and again at 6:34 of the final period, helping the Hawks end their season with a 7-6 victory. All three goals were scored at even strength, and all were set up by Gus Bodnar, who owns the mark for the fastest three assists.

Mosienko's mark hasn't been serious threatened in the 60 years since. The second-fastest hat trick belongs to Montreal's Jean Beliveau, who scored three times -- all on two-man advantages -- in a 44-second span on Nov. 5, 1955. No one has come any closer since then.

NHL INSIDER

Players looking to avoid one-hit label

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist
In the world of music, they're known as "one-hit wonders" -- artists with a big-time record who couldn't replicate that kind of success. The NHL has its own version -- players who were in the right spot at the right time for a season, but found out that repeating their success wasn't as easy. READ MORE ›

Most consecutive top-five finishes in the scoring race: Gordie Howe, 20

To watch clips of Howe on the NHL Network today doesn't do Mr. Hockey justice. From 1949-50, when he was a 21-year-old in a six-team League dominated by defense, through 1968-69, when he was a 40-year-old in an expanded 12-team League, Howe was one of the NHL's top five scorers. Every year. It's a record of consistency that no player in hockey -- or any other sport -- figures to match any time soon.

Howe won five scoring titles, the last in 1962-63. But he still had six more top-five finishes in him -- including the best season of his career, a 103-point performance as a 40-year old in 1968-69, when he finished third. He "slumped" to ninth in the League in 1969-70 with 71 points in 76 games -- at age 41.

As great as Gretzky was, he finished in the top five in scoring for "only" 13 straight seasons. That's how tremendous Howe was -- greater that the Great One.

Most coaching victories: Scotty Bowman, 1,244

When it comes to coaching success, there's Bowman -- and then there's everyone else. Bowman began his coaching career with the St. Louis Blues in the late 1960s and ended it after leading Detroit to the Stanley Cup in 2002, amassing a record of 1244-573-324 and leading his teams to nine championships -- five with Montreal, one in Pittsburgh and three with the Wings.

For perspective on how hard it will be for anyone to catch Bowman's mark, consider that runner-up Al Arbour (a Bowman protégé) has 782 wins. The difference -- 462 wins -- means that Arbour is closer to 20th place than he is to Bowman's record. The winningest active coach, Chicago's Joel Quenneville, would have to nearly double his career total of 624 to catch Bowman.

Best plus-minus total for a career: Larry Robinson, plus-730

Robinson was one of the great defensemen in NHL history -- he and recently retired Detroit star Nicklas Lidstrom are the only players to make the playoffs in 20 consecutive seasons without missing once. He owns five Stanley Cup rings from his time with Montreal in the 1970s, where he, Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe formed one of the best defensive trios of all-time.

Robinson piled up 197 goals and 883 points during his 20 seasons -- but more amazing was the fact that he went plus-730 in that span. That includes a high of plus-120 in 1976-77, when the Canadiens rolled to the second of four straight Stanley Cups.

Perhaps even more amazing is that Robinson was a plus player in all 20 of those seasons. The closest the streak came to ending was in 1991-92, his final season, when he was plus-1 in 56 games with Los Angeles.

Robinson's career is far ahead of runner-up Bobby Orr at plus-597. Ray Bourque is third at plus-528, with Wayne Gretzky next at plus-518. Among players who've seen action in the last decade, the leader is Nicklas Lidstrom at plus-450, 10th on the list.

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