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This Date in NHL History

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

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

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1981: Wayne Gretzky, 20, has the first five-goal game of his NHL career to help the Edmonton Oilers to a 9-2 victory against the St. Louis Blues at Northlands Coliseum.

Gretzky breaks a 2-2 tie when he scores early in the second period against Mike Liut, then blows the game open by scoring four times in a span of 7:58 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. 

Video: Wayne Gretzky all-time leader in goals, points
Exactly eight years later. Gretzky scores two goals and has 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: Alex 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: One week after the final game at the "old" Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers inaugurate the "new" 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 win.


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 the season 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.


1972: Jean Ratelle scores a goal and assists on another in the Rangers' 2-2 tie against the California Golden Seals in Oakland, giving him 100 points for the season. He becomes the first player in Rangers history to score 100 points in one season.


1990: Defenseman Ray Bourque has the biggest scoring night of his 22-year NHL career, finishing with six points (one 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.

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