Skip to Main Content
This Date in NHL History

Nov. 12: Maple Leaf Gardens hosts first NHL game

Plus: Gretzky gets 20th hat trick; Tikkanen scores fastest two shorthanded goals in League history

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1931: The first NHL game is played at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Toronto Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe manages to get the new arena built in a remarkable five-month span during the depths of the Great Depression. An opening-night crowd of 13,233, the largest ever to attend a hockey game up to that time, pays anywhere from 95 cents (general admission) to $2.75 (best seats in the house).

Pipe Major James Fraser and the 48th Highlanders of Canada Pipes and Drums commence precisely at 8:30 p.m. to indicate the start of the opening ceremony, during which Toronto captain Hap Day boldly predicts that the Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup.

The Maple Leafs disappoint the big crowd by losing 2-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks, but they come through when it matters most by fulfilling Day's prediction and winning the Cup.

The Maple Leafs play at the Gardens until they move to Air Canada Centre in 1999.



1942: Bep Guidolin, a 16-year-old forward, becomes the youngest player in NHL history when he plays for the Boston Bruins in a 3-1 loss at the Maple Leafs. Guidolin plays 10 seasons with the Bruins, Detroit Red Wings and Blackhawks, scoring 107 goals in 519 NHL games, and coaches the Bruins from 1972-74 and the Kansas City Scouts from 1974-76. He also coaches the Edmonton Oilers for 63 games during the 1976-77 World Hockey Association season.


1983: Wayne Gretzky gets his 20th NHL hat trick and sets up two other goals to help Edmonton to a 7-3 victory against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. The Oilers set a team record (since broken) with their eighth consecutive victory.

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


1988: Esa Tikkanen sets an NHL record for the fastest two shorthanded goals during a 6-2 Oilers win in Toronto. Tikkanen scores at 10:44 of the first period and again at 10:56, breaking the previous record of 16 seconds set by Pep Kelly of the Chicago Blackhawks against the Montreal Canadiens at the Forum on Dec. 26, 1940. Tikkanen also scores in the third period to complete a hat trick.


2005: The Atlanta Thrashers set a single-game team record for goals with a 9-0 road win against the Carolina Hurricanes, ending Carolina's nine-game winning streak. Ilya Kovalchuk scores twice for Atlanta. The loss is the worst for the Hurricanes since moving from Hartford in 1997.


2009: Florida Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun has a perfect night against the Bruins at TD Garden, making 40 saves through overtime and four more in a shootout before Cory Stillman scores to make him a 1-0 winner. Vokoun is at his best in the second period, when Boston outshoots Florida 19-1. It's Vokoun's third shutout in four starts after beginning his season 1-7-1.


2016: Carey Price becomes the first goalie in NHL history to win his first 10 games in a season when he makes 25 saves in Montreal's 5-0 victory against the Red Wings at Bell Centre. It's Price's 13th consecutive win, including his final three decisions in 2015-16, and his 38th NHL shutout. The Canadiens (13-1-1) set a team record with their 10th straight win at home from the start of a season and have the most victories through 15 games in their history.

Video: Habs net five as Price shuts out the Red Wings


2017: The New Jersey Devils win a game after trailing by three goals for the first time in 11 years. Miles Wood's first NHL hat trick helps the Devils rally for a 7-5 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. Wood scores his second goal of the game late in the second period to start New Jersey's rally after Chicago takes a 4-1 lead. It's the first time the Devils win after trailing by three goals since April 18, 2006.


2018: Henrik Lundqvist ties Jacques Plante for seventh place on the all-time NHL wins list when he makes 25 saves to help the New York Rangers defeat the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 at Madison Square Garden. It's the 437th NHL win for Lundqvist, who moves within eight victories of tying Terry Sawchuk (445) for sixth.


2019: The Florida Panthers become the 19th team overall and ninth road team in NHL history to win a game after trailing by at least four goals in the third period. The Panthers trail the Bruins 4-0 entering the final 20 minutes at TD Garden, but rally to tie the game before winning 5-4 when Mike Hoffman scores the deciding goal in the shootout. It's the third time in 2019-20 that a team wins a game after trailing by at least four goals. The Panthers are the first team to win after trailing by at least four goals in the third period since the Minnesota Wild top the Blackhawks 6-5 in a shootout on Jan. 9, 2010, and the first road team to do so since the St. Louis Blues defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-5 in overtime on Nov. 29, 2000.

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.