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This Date in NHL History

March 29: Gretzky breaks Esposito's single-season record for points

Plus: Canadiens first to win 1,000th home game; Leetch set mark for goals by rookie defenseman

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1981: Wayne Gretzky breaks Phil Esposito's NHL record for most points in a season by getting three assists in the Edmonton Oilers' 5-2 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Civic Arena.

Gretzky assists on Mark Messier's second-period goal and sets up third-period goals by Brett Callighen and Jari Kurri, moving him past Esposito's record of 152 points set in 1970-71.

Exactly 18 years later, Gretzky scores the 894th and final regular-season goal of his NHL career for the New York Rangers in a 3-1 victory against the New York Islanders. It's the 1,072nd goal of his career (regular season and playoffs, NHL and WHA), surpassing Gordie Howe as the leading scorer in pro hockey history.

Video: Memories: Gretzky's 153rd point sets season record



1970: Chicago Blackhawks rookie goaltender Tony Esposito gets his 15th shutout of the season, an NHL record for rookie goalies, in a 4-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Chicago Stadium. Esposito, claimed from the Montreal Canadiens in the intraleague draft, wins the Calder and Vezina trophies as the League's outstanding rookie and goaltender. The 15 shutouts are the most by any goalie since 1929.


1973: Philadelphia Flyers center Bobby Clarke becomes the first player from an expansion team to score 100 points in a season. His 100th point is a goal that helps the Flyers defeat the Atlanta Flames 4-2 at the Spectrum.


1975: The Canadiens become the first team in NHL history to win 1,000 home games when they defeat the Kansas City Scouts 4-1 at the Forum. Guy Lafleur scores his 50th goal for the first of six straight seasons, an NHL record at the time.


1982: Islanders forward Mike Bossy sets an NHL record for right wings with his 81st assist of the season in a 7-3 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.


1989: Brian Leetch of the Rangers sets an NHL record for most goals by a rookie defenseman when he scores his 23rd of the season, breaking the mark of 22 set by Barry Beck in 1977-78. It comes in a 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.


2000: Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche becomes the first goaltender in League history to win 30 games in a season 10 times. Roy's 30th victory of 1999-2000 comes in a 3-2 win against the visiting Oilers.

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