Wayne Gretzky scored his 700th career NHL goal 25 years ago today in a Kings’ 6-3 win over the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veteran Memorial Coliseum.
Midway through the first period of the Kings’ January 3, 1991 visit to the former Islanders’ arena, Gretzky backhanded home a pass from Brian Benning past New York’s Glenn Healy to register goal number 700. He added another pair later in the game to record a hat-trick.
Gretzky became just the fourth player in NHL history at the time to reach the milestone, behind Gordie Howe, former King Marcel Dionne, and Phil Esposito. Gretzky, who played eight more seasons thereafter, would surpass all three in goals scored, totaling 894, where he continues to sit atop the NHL record books today.
Marcel Dionne scored 550 of his 731 career goals with the Kings in his 12 seasons in Los Angeles, but netted number 700 as a member of the New York Rangers. Dionne, like Gretzky, scored his 700th versus the New York Islanders, and did so by beating future Kings netminder Kelly Hrudey.
Gretzky is the fastest and youngest player in NHL history to score 700 goals, doing so in 886 games at the ripe age of 29 years and 342 days.
Of course it being 1991, a couple of hockey cards were created in honor of Gretzky’s feat.
246 of Gretzky’s 894 goals came in a Kings uniform.
Jaromir Jagr is the most recent NHL player to reach the 700-goal milestone, when he did so with the New Jersey Devils on March 1, 2014. Seven players now, including Gretzky, grace the league’s 700-goal club.
Colorado’s Jarome Iginla is currently sitting on 599 goals, and with one more, will join the likes of the NHL’s 600-club, which currently only situates 18 players, including former Kings Jari Kurri (601) and Luc Robitaille (668). Of Iginla’s 599 goals, 29 have come against the Kings, including two hat-tricks.