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This Date in NHL History

Dec. 9: NHL announces expansion plans, will grow to 28 teams

Plus: Gretzky's 30-game point streak ends; Robitaille gets first hat trick

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1989: The NHL announces that it will expand to 28 teams from 21 within the next 10 years. League president John Ziegler unveils the plan at the Board of Governors meeting in Palm Beach, Florida.

A San Jose franchise is already scheduled to begin play in the 1991-92 season; in all, nine franchises are added by 2000, bringing the League to 30 teams. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators begin play in 1992, and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Florida Panthers play their first games in 1993. The Nashville Predators (1998) and Atlanta Thrashers (1999) complete the 28-team plan, and the NHL adds the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets in 2000 to form a 30-team league.

The NHL stays at 30 teams until the Vegas Golden Knights are added for the 2017-18 season.



1933: Howie Morenz of the Montreal Canadiens ties Cy Denneny as the NHL's all-time leading goal-scorer. Morenz scores the 246th goal of his NHL career in a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers at the Forum.


1956: Gordie Howe scores his 324th NHL goal, tying Nels Stewart for second on the League's all-time list, in the Detroit Red Wings' 4-2 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Catching Stewart leaves Howe trailing only Maurice Richard in career goals.


1979: Wayne Gretzky plays against Howe for the second of four times in their NHL careers when the Edmonton Oilers defeat the Hartford Whalers 3-0 at Northlands Coliseum. Gretzky scores a goal for the Oilers; Howe goes without a point but leads Gretzky in career goals, 797-11.


1982: Gretzky's NHL-record 30-game point streak ends when he's held off the scoresheet in the Oilers' 3-3 tie with the Los Angeles Kings at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Rookie goalie Gary Laskoski makes 32 saves for Los Angeles.


1986: Kings rookie Luc Robitaille scores three goals for his first NHL hat trick in a 7-2 win against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. Robitaille scores the tie-breaking goal in the second period and gets two more in the third.


2007: Milan Hejduk scores three goals and has three assists in the Colorado Avalanche's 9-5 victory against the St. Louis Blues at Pepsi Center. The line of Hejduk, Paul Stastny (two goals, three assists) and Ryan Smyth (goal, two assists) combines for 14 points.


2017: Henrik Lundqvist earns his 419th NHL win when the New York Rangers defeat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 at Madison Square Garden. Lundqvist passes Hockey Hall of Famer Tony Esposito (418 with the Chicago Blackhawks) for the second-most wins by a goalie with one franchise in NHL history. He trails only Martin Brodeur, who gets 688 of his NHL-record 691 wins with the Devils.

Video: Zuccarello, Lundqvist lift Rangers to 5-2 home win


2018: Elias Pettersson has the second five-point game of his rookie season, scoring one goal and assisting on four others in the Vancouver Canucks' 6-1 win against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center. Three of the assists come on goals by Brock Boeser, who gets his second NHL hat trick.


2019: The Islanders get their 20th win when they defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 at Amalie Arena. New York reaches the 20-win mark in its 29th game; the Islanders' previous best was 30 games in 2014-15. In the pre-shootout era, the Islanders reach 20 wins in Game No. 31 three times (1976-77, 1978-79 and 1983-84).

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