THIS DATE IN HISTORY: Jan. 8
Two Hockey Hall of Famers make their NHL debut on this date, 23 years apart.
1950: Goaltender Terry Sawchuk of the Detroit Red Wings plays his first NHL game in place of injured starter Harry Lumley in a 4-3 loss to the Boston Bruins at Olympia Stadium. Sawchuk plays seven games before Lumley returns, winning three times and getting the first of his 103 NHL shutouts. He takes the starting job the following season.
1973: Defenseman Larry Robinson takes the ice for the first time with the Montreal Canadiens in a 3-3 tie with the Minnesota North Stars at the Forum. Robinson gets the chance to play because injuries left the Canadiens short on defense; he shows enough to stay with Montreal after the injured players heal and goes on to play 17 seasons with the Canadiens, winning the Stanley Cup six times, before finishing his career by playing three seasons with the Los Angeles Kings.
1944: Babe Pratt becomes the first NHL defenseman to get six assists in a game. Pratt's big game powers the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 12-3 victory against the Bruins at Maple Leaf Gardens. Pratt shares the record with five other defenseman, including Bobby Orr.
1947: Forward Howie Meeker sets an NHL single-game record for goals by a rookie when he scores five times in Toronto's 10-4 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at Maple Leaf Gardens. The record has been matched once, in 1976 by Don Murdoch of the New York Rangers.
1986: Not even Wayne Gretzky's 37th NHL hat trick can prevent the Edmonton Oilers from losing 11-9 to the Maple Leafs at Maple Leaf Gardens. Gretzky also contributes three assists for a six-point night, and Jari Kurri has a goal and four assists, but Toronto forward Miroslav Frycer scores his fourth goal of the game midway through the third period to break a 9-9 tie.
1990: Mario Lemieux extends his point streak to 31 games by scoring four goals to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 7-5 win against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. It's the 24th NHL hat trick of Lemieux's career. Lemieux's streak becomes the third-longest in League history; he extends it to 46 games before a back injury forces him to sit out a game.
1994: Dino Ciccarelli of the Red Wings becomes the 19th member of the NHL 500-goal club. Ciccarelli scores the milestone goal early in the third period of Detroit's 6-3 road victory against the Kings.
2008: Two 40-somethings help the Red Wings defeat the Colorado Avalanche 1-0 at Joe Louis Arena. Dominik Hasek, playing three weeks before his 43th birthday, makes 19 saves. Defenseman Chris Chelios becomes the second-oldest player in history to play an NHL game. He's 45 years, 348 days old, one day older than Moe Roberts, who played for the Blackhawks on Nov. 25, 1951. Gordie Howe (52) is the only player older than Chelios to skate in an NHL game.
2010: The Tampa Bay Lightning end a 10-game losing streak against the New Jersey Devils with a 4-2 victory at Prudential Center in a game that takes 48 hours to complete because of a lighting malfunction two nights earlier. Tampa Bay leads 3-0 with 9:12 remaining in the second period when the lights go out; Lightning goaltender Mike Smith completes the victory, finishing with 33 saves.