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This Date in NHL History

Feb. 18: Gretzky's first five-goal game in NHL

Plus: Vezina earns League's first shutout; Rangers open new Madison Square Garden with win

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1981: Wayne Gretzky scores five goals for the first time in his NHL career to help the Edmonton Oilers to a 9-2 victory against the St. Louis Blues at Northlands Coliseum.

The 20-year-old center breaks a 2-2 tie when he scores at 4:44 of the second period against Mike Liut, then blows the game open by scoring four times in less than eight minutes in the third period.

It's the first of Gretzky's four five-goal games in the NHL. He also becomes the first player in League history to score three or more goals in a game five times before the age of 21.

Exactly eight years later. Gretzky gets seven points (two goals, five assists) in the Los Angeles Kings' 11-3 victory against the Quebec Nordiques at the Forum in Inglewood, California, giving him 1,800 points in 754 NHL games.



1918: Georges Vezina of the Montreal Canadiens becomes the first goaltender in NHL history to earn a shutout. The 9-0 victory against Toronto comes in the NHL's third month of play in the League's first season.

Video: Georges Vezina was ironman goalie for the Canadiens


1928: Alec Connell of the Ottawa Senators gets his sixth consecutive shutout, an NHL record, in a 1-0 win against the visiting Canadiens. It's Connell's 12th shutout of the season and the 47th of his NHL career.


1968: The New York Rangers inaugurate the "new" Madison Square Garden by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1. Wayne Hicks of the Flyers scores the new arena's first goal, but second-period goals by Bob Nevin, Don Marshall and Orland Kurtenbach give the Rangers the victory. It comes one week after their final game at the "old" Garden, a 3-3 tie against the Detroit Red Wings.


1970: Bobby Orr scores his record-setting 22nd goal of the season, beating Wayne Rutledge during the Boston Bruins' 5-5 tie with the Kings at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Orr breaks his own NHL single-season mark for goals by a defenseman, set the previous season. He finishes with 33 goals.


1971: Gordie Howe scores his 20th goal in the Detroit Red Wings' 6-3 victory against the Minnesota North Stars at Olympia Stadium. He extends his own NHL record by scoring 20 or more goals for the 22nd consecutive season.


1990: Defenseman Ray Bourque has the biggest scoring night of his 22-year NHL career, finishing with six points (goal, five assists) for the Bruins in a 7-2 victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Pacific Coliseum. The five assists make Bourque the seventh defenseman in NHL history to have 600 assists in his career.


1999: Paul Coffey of the Carolina Hurricanes becomes the second player in NHL history (and the first defenseman) to have 1,100 assists. The milestone comes in Carolina's 2-2 tie against the Capitals in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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