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This Date in NHL History

Feb. 24: Gretzky sets NHL single-season record for goals

Plus: United States defeats Finland to win Olympic gold in 1980; Yzerman gets 1,000th point

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor

Memories: Gretzky scores 77th

Memories: Gretzky breaks Esposito's record

On February 24, 1982, Wayne Gretzky scores his 77th goal, breaking the single-season NHL record held previously by Phil Esposito

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1982: Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers breaks Phil Esposito's NHL single-season record for goals when he scores No. 77 against goaltender Don Edwards and the Buffalo Sabres at Memorial Auditorium.

Gretzky enters the game with 76 goals, matching the mark set by Esposito in 1970-71. Edwards stops each of Gretzky's first seven shots on goal, but Gretzky steals the puck from forward Stephen Patrick, avoids defenseman Richie Dunn's attempt to hook him and beats Edwards at 13:24 with a low shot from the slot to set the record.

Gretzky scores again at 18:16 and 19:43 to complete a hat trick and finish off Edmonton's 6-3 victory.

Esposito is on hand to see his record broken.

"The only thing I felt nervous about," Gretzky says, "was that Phil had to be here, and I wanted him to get back to the things he had to do. That created all the pressure."

Video: Wayne Gretzky all-time leader in goals, points



1938: Lester Patrick becomes the first NHL coach to have 250 wins when the New York Rangers defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3 at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers become the fifth team in NHL history with 250 victories.


1968: Rod Gilbert of the Rangers sets an NHL record with 16 shots and scores on four of them in a 6-1 victory against the Montreal Canadiens at the Forum. It's the fourth NHL hat trick for Gilbert, a Montreal native. His record for shots on goal is broken on March 21, 1991, when Boston Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque has 19.


1978: Barry Beck of the Colorado Rockies scores his 18th goal, setting an NHL record for rookie defensemen. He surpasses the mark of 17 set by Denis Potvin of the New York Islanders in 1973-74. The goal comes in a 3-2 victory against the Minnesota North Stars at McNichols Arena.


1980: The United States completes the "Miracle on Ice" by scoring three goals in the third period to defeat Finland 4-2 in its final game at the Lake Placid Olympics, winning the gold medal for the first time in 20 years. Rob McClanahan's goal breaks a 2-2 tie and Mark Johnson scores a late shorthanded insurance goal.


1980: Gretzky, in his and Edmonton's initial NHL season, becomes the first player in League history to score 100 points in a season prior to his 20th birthday. Point No. 100 is an assist in a 4-2 loss to the Bruins. It comes in his 61st NHL game.


1993: Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings reaches two milestones on the same night. Yzerman has a goal and three assists in a 10-7 loss to the Sabres in Buffalo, giving him 1,000 points in his NHL career and 100 points for the sixth consecutive season.

Video: Steve Yzerman was Detroit's captain for 19 seasons


1994: Mark Messier of the New York Rangers becomes the 13th player in NHL history to reach 1,300 points. The milestone comes when he has two assists in a 3-1 victory against the New Jersey Devils in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It's the fifth of six consecutive wins against New Jersey by the Rangers, who sweep the season series from the Devils.


2002: Canada wins its first Olympic gold medal in hockey since 1952 by defeating the United States 5-2 at Salt Lake City. Joe Sakic and Jarome Iginla each score two goals for Canada, and Martin Brodeur makes 33 saves.


2013: The Chicago Blackhawks extend their NHL-record point streak from the start of the season to 18 games (15-0-3) with a 1-0 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets at United Center. Corey Crawford (8-0-0) makes 28 saves and Andrew Shaw scores the game's lone goal with 1:27 remaining in the second period.


2019: The New York Rangers score 21 seconds into the first and third periods of their game against the Washington Capitals, the second time since entering the NHL in 1926 that they've scored in the opening 21 seconds of multiple periods in the same game and the first since March 15, 1989, against the Winnipeg Jets. The Rangers also score the game-tying goal with 31 seconds remaining in the third period, but Evgeny Kuznetsov scores with 40 seconds left in OT gives the Capitals a 6-5 win.

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