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This Date in NHL History

Jan. 1: Penguins win inaugural Winter Classic

Plus: O'Ree scores first NHL goal; Orr ties record with six assists

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


2008: The NHL rings in the New Year by staging the inaugural Winter Classic, with the Pittsburgh Penguins defeating the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in a shootout before 71,217 fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.

Video: Dan Rosen recounts first-ever Winter Classic

The big crowd for the first NHL outdoor game in the United States is still getting settled when Pittsburgh forward Colby Armstrong scores 21 seconds after the opening face-off. Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell ties the game 1:25 into the second.

Neither team scores through the remainder of regulation time and the five-minute overtime during a game played in a snow globe-like setting. Falling snow provides an almost surreal atmosphere.

Sidney Crosby scores the deciding goal in the third round of the shootout to give the Penguins the victory. Ty Conklin makes 36 saves through regulation and two more in the tiebreaker.

Video: 2008 Winter Classic: Sidney Crosby's SO game-winner



1961: Boston Bruins rookie Willie O'Ree, the first black player in League history, scores his first goal. He beats Charlie Hodge for what turns out to be the game-winner in the Bruins' 3-2 victory against the Montreal Canadiens at Boston Garden.  


1973: Bobby Orr ties an NHL record for defensemen with six assists in Boston's 8-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Pacific Coliseum. Orr ties the record set by Babe Pratt on Jan. 8, 1944 and matched by Pat Stapleton on March 30, 1969. Phil Esposito scores three goals and Johnny Bucyk becomes the first player to score 400 goals for the Bruins.


1997: The Ottawa Senators defeat the visiting Bruins 3-2 for their first win against Boston since entering the League in 1992. The Senators are 0-20 with two ties against Boston before the victory; the Bruins are the final remaining NHL team the Senators haven't defeated.


2014: A crowd of 105,491 fans, the largest ever to attend an NHL game, fills Michigan Stadium to see the Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout to win the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Tyler Bozak scores in the third period to put Toronto ahead 2-1, then gets the winning goal in the third round of the shootout.

Video: Remembering the 2014 Winter Classic in Michigan


2015: Troy Brouwer scores the tiebreaking goal with 12.9 seconds remaining in the third period to give the Washington Capitals a 3-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park in Washington. With Chicago's Jonathan Toews off for hooking, Brouwer beats goalie Corey Crawford to break a 2-2 tie.

Video: 2015 Winter Classic: Caps last-minute winner


2016: Paul Byron scores two goals and the Montreal Canadiens defeat the Boston Bruins 5-1 in the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Montreal goalie Mike Condon, a Boston-area native, makes 27 saves, allowing only a third-period goal to Adam McQuaid.

Video: MTL@BOS: Byron knocks in rebound past Rask


2017: The NHL kicks off the celebration of its 100th year with the first Scotiabank Centennial Classic at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. The 40,148 fans on hand see Auston Matthews score with 1:20 remaining in overtime to give the Maple Leafs a 5-4 victory against the Red Wings. Toronto leads 4-1 before Detroit rallies in the final 6:06 of the third period, tying the game on a goal by Anthony Mantha with 1.1 seconds remaining.


2018: J.T. Miller's power-play goal at 2:43 of overtime gives the New York Rangers a 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres in the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field in New York. First-period goals by Paul Carey and Michael Grabner put New York ahead 2-0, but Sam Reinhart gets one back for Buffalo 56 seconds into the second period. Rasmus Ristolainen ties the game when he beats Henrik Lundqvist 27 seconds into the third.


2019: Sean Kuraly's go-ahead goal midway through the third period helps the Bruins defeat the Blackhawks 4-2 in the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Chicago leads 1-0 and 2-1, but the Bruins tie the game each time with a power-play goal before taking the lead when Kuraly scores his fourth goal of the season. Brad Marchand's empty-net goal seals the win.

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