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This Date in NHL History

Dec. 19: NHL plays first games

Plus: Gretzky fastest to 1,000 points; Bourque third defenseman to score 300 goals

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor

Memories: First NHL Games

Memories: The NHL starts its 100-year journey

On December 19, 1917, four franchises played the first NHL games in league history; the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators were two of them

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1917: The newly formed NHL begins play in its first season when the visiting Montreal Canadiens defeat the Ottawa Senators 7-4, and the Montreal Wanderers hold off the Toronto Arenas 10-9.

Wanderers defenseman Dave Ritchie scores exactly 1:00 into the game for the first goal in the history of the new league; his second of the game early in the third period stands up as the winner after the Arenas rally from down 10-6. Harry Hyland scores five goals for the Wanderers, and Reg Noble scores four for the Arenas.

Joe Malone of the Canadiens scores five goals, including their first in the NHL, in the win against the Senators. He finishes the season as the NHL leader with 44 goals and 48 points in 20 games.



1943: Harry Lumley becomes the youngest goalie in NHL history when he plays for the Detroit Red Wings in a 6-2 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Lumley is 17 years and 38 days old when he takes the ice for the first time. He ends his NHL career after the 1959-60 season with a 330-329-142 record and is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1980.


1984: Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers reaches 1,000 points in the fewest games in NHL history when he scores two goals and has four assists in a 7-3 victory against the Los Angeles Kings. Gretzky gets his 1,000th point in his 424th game; the previous record-holder, Guy Lafleur, does it in 720 games.

Video: Memories: Wayne Gretzky records 1,000th point


1987: The Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues combine for the fastest two goals in NHL history. Ken Linseman scores with 10 seconds remaining in the third period to get Boston to within 6-5, but Doug Gilmour wins the faceoff and shoots the puck into an empty net two seconds later to wrap up a 7-5 win at Boston Garden.


1993: Boston's Ray Bourque becomes the third defenseman in NHL history to score 300 goals. The milestone comes late in the second period of a 2-1 road victory against the Florida Panthers. Bourque joins Paul Coffey and Denis Potvin in the 300-goal club; he goes on to score an NHL-record 410 before retiring in 2001.

Video: Ray Bourque capped career with dramatic Cup in 2001


1995: The Calgary Flames trade center Joe Nieuwendyk to the Dallas Stars for center Corey Millen and 1995 first-round draft pick Jarome Iginla. The trade works out for each team: Nieuwendyk helps Dallas win the Stanley Cup in 1999, and Iginla becomes Calgary's all-time leader in games played (1,219), goals (525) and points (1,095).


2015: Forward Phil Kessel of the Pittsburgh Penguins becomes the 23rd player in NHL history to play in 500 consecutive games. He doesn't score in the Penguins' 2-1 loss to the visiting Carolina Hurricanes.


2017: The Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate the 100th anniversary of their first NHL game with an 8-1 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs, wearing Toronto Arenas jerseys as part of their "Next Century Game," begin their second hundred years by scoring four goals in the first period and four more in the third. Eight players score and Frederik Andersen makes 32 saves, allowing only a first-period goal to Jeff Skinner.

Video: Maple Leafs celebrate 100th anniversary with 8-1 rout


2019: The Vegas Golden Knights make history despite losing 5-4 in overtime to the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. The overtime loss gives the Golden Knights an 8-0-2 record against the Canucks since entering the NHL in 2017. They are the fifth team in NHL history to have a point streak of at least 10 games against another opponent after entering the League as an expansion team.

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