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This Date in NHL History

Feb. 20: Esposito scores 50th goal of season on birthday three times

Plus: Benedict first goalie to wear mask; Islanders win NHL-record 15th straight game

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Esposito enjoys quite a trio of birthday celebrations.

1971: On his 29th birthday, Esposito becomes the fourth player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season, joining Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull and Bernie Geoffrion. The Boston Bruins center scores in a 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at the Forum in Inglewood, California.


1972: Esposito celebrates his 30th birthday by scoring two goals, including his 50th of the season. He also has an assist in Boston's 3-1 win against his former team, the Chicago Blackhawks, at Chicago Stadium. It's Esposito's second straight 50-goal season.


1974: Two years later, Esposito again reaches 50 goals on his birthday. This time, he becomes the first player in NHL history with four straight 50-goal seasons by scoring three times for his 22nd NHL hat trick in Boston's 5-5 tie against the Minnesota North Stars at Met Center.

Video: Phil Esposito was record-setting goal scorer



1930: Clint Benedict of the Montreal Maroons becomes the first goalie to wear a mask in an NHL game. Benedict dons the mask after being hit in the face by a puck during a 3-3 tie against the New York Americans.


1944: The Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs play the first "perfect game" in NHL history. Goalies Mike Karakas of Chicago and Paul Bibeault of Toronto battle to a 0-0 tie, and referee Bill Chadwick does not call a penalty. The game is played in one hour, 55 minutes.


1971: Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens becomes the second player in NHL history to reach 1,200 points when he has three assists in a 7-1 win against the Blackhawks at the Forum. Montreal's Peter Mahovlich scores twice in five seconds during the third period and rookie Phil Roberto has his first NHL hat trick.


1981: Rookies Peter Stastny and Anton Stastny each has a hat trick to help the Quebec Nordiques to a 9-3 victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Pacific Coliseum. The brothers each have three assists for six-point nights.

Video: Peter Stastny became first rookie to have 100 points


1982: The New York Islanders break the NHL record for consecutive victories by defeating the Colorado Rockies 3-2 at Nassau Coliseum for their 15th straight win. John Tonelli breaks a 2-2 tie at 19:13 of the third period when he beats former teammate Glenn Resch through the five-hole with a slap shot from the left circle for the win. The Islanders break the 52-year-old record set by the Bruins in 1929-30. New York averages 6.5 goals per game during the streak.


2016: Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr scores twice in a 3-1 victory against the Winnipeg Jets at BB&T Center to move past Brett Hull into third on the NHL's all-time list with 742 goals. He ties Hull at 4:53 of the second period with a redirection past Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson, then moves past him by scoring his 20th goal of the season with 6:23 remaining in the third.


2018: The Colorado Avalanche score all of their goals on the power play in a 5-4 overtime victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Defenseman Tyson Barrie scores one goal and assists on the other four, including the game-winner by Nathan MacKinnon at 3:36 of OT that caps Colorado's comeback after the Canucks take a 4-1 lead late in the second period.


2019: Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames and MacKinnon each scores in victories, bringing the number of 30-goal scorers for the 2018-19 season to 16. That's the most through 928 games since 1998-99 (18).

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