Wayne Gretzky achieved his first major milestone with the Kings, albeit a personal one, 27 years ago today on November 23, 1988 – scoring his 600th career NHL goal against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
“It’s always nice to get a milestone and it’s always nice to play in Detroit, but we’re playing for for first place and that’s always more important,” Gretzky said following the Kings’ 8-3 win.
In what was just his 22nd game in a Kings uniform, Gretzky, already with 44 points (16G, 28A) on the young season, and his new club rolled into the game just three points behind the Calgary Flames for first place in the Campbell Conference and Smythe Division with a 14-7-0 record (28 PTS).
Gretzky’s 600th gave the Kings a 2-0 lead after Gord Walker opened the scoring; he tacked on five assists, including one to Luc Robitaille, before finishing the night with six points, his second-highest total of the 1988-’89 season.
It only took Gretzky 718 games to reach the 600-goal mark, which is the fastest of any player in NHL history.
“[The 600th goal] is nice and I enjoy it,” Gretzky said. “But it’s over and time to move on to the next game.”
The Kings would lose 4-1 to the Calgary Flames in that next game…with the goal coming from Gretzky.