THIS DATE IN HISTORY: Dec. 30
1981: Wayne Gretzky doesn't just break the record for the fastest 50 goals. He shatters it.
Three nights after scoring four goals against the Los Angeles Kings, Gretzky takes the ice for the Edmonton Oilers at Northlands Coliseum against the Philadelphia Flyers with 45 goals in 38 games, putting him on track to better the mark of 50 goals in 50 games held by Maurice Richard and Mike Bossy.
Gretzky has a game for the ages and reaches 50 goals by scoring five times in the Oilers' 7-5 victory.
Video: 1981: Wayne Gretzky scores 50 goals in 39 games
He scores twice in the first period, once in the second and gets his fourth goal of the game early in the third period to give the Oilers a 6-3 lead. The Flyers score twice midway through the period to cut the Oilers' lead to 6-5; with time running out, they pull goalie Pete Peeters for an extra skater. The move backfires when Gretzky scores into an empty net to get No. 50.
He goes on to finish the season with 92 goals, still the NHL single-season record
1934: Tiny Thompson of the Boston Bruins and Dave Kerr of the New York Rangers are flawless in a 0-0 tie at Madison Square Garden. It's the first of Boston's 37-game undefeated streak in overtime, the longest such streak in NHL history. Boston goes 10-0 with 27 ties in OT during a four-year stretch.
1967: The Los Angeles Kings open their new home, the Forum, in Inglewood, California. The opening game comes after they spend the first 2 1/2 months playing their home games at Los Angeles Sports Arena and Long Beach Arena. A crowd of 14,366 turns out to see the Kings lose 2-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers. Doug Favell makes 25 saves for the shutout.
1978: Frank Udvari becomes the oldest man to referee an NHL game when he comes out of retirement to officiate the game between the New York Islanders and Atlanta Flames at Nassau Coliseum. Udvari is a few days short of his 55th birthday and 12 years removed from his last game; he's serving as a supervisor of officials when Dave Newell has to leave with a bad cut. Udvari puts on Newell's striped shirt, borrows a pair of skates from Islanders center Bryan Trottier and takes the ice to complete the game. The Islanders win 4-2, even though Udvari disallows a goal by Trottier.
1989: The Toronto Maple Leafs trail 6-1 with 1:05 remaining in the second period, but score six goals in a row to defeat the Boston Bruins 7-6 in overtime at Maple Leaf Gardens, ending a seven-game losing streak. Wendel Clark gets the winning goal at 3:19 of overtime.
1999: Jaromir Jagr scores three goals for his sixth NHL hat trick and sets up four others in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 9-2 win against the visiting Islanders. The seven points are a career high.
Video: Jaromir Jagr second on NHL points list
2006: Martin Brodeur sets an NHL record for most career shutouts with one team when he helps the New Jersey Devils defeat the Islanders 2-0 at Nassau Coliseum. It's the 86th shutout of his NHL career, all with the Devils. That's one more than Terry Sawchuk's 85 shutouts with the Detroit Red Wings.
2017: Barry Trotz passes Lindy Ruff for fifth place on the all-time list with his 737th NHL coaching victory when the Washington Capitals defeat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 at Capital One Arena.