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This Date in NHL History

Nov. 17: Howe, Gretzky face each other for first time in NHL

Plus: Black Hawks win first game; Bossy ties hat trick record

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1979: Two of hockey's greatest players, 51-year-old Gordie Howe and 18-year-old Wayne Gretzky, face each other for the first time in their NHL careers during the Hartford Whalers' 4-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers at the Hartford Civic Center.

Howe assists on a second-period goal by Mike Rogers that gives the Whalers a 2-0 lead. Gretzky and the Oilers are unable to score on 23 shots against Hartford goalie Al Smith.

It's the first of four games between the "Great One" and "Mr. Hockey" (who retires after the 1979-80 season). Howe does not have a point in any of the other three; Gretzky scores a goal in a 3-0 win at Northlands Coliseum on Dec. 9 and has an assist in a 3-3 tie in Edmonton on Jan. 2. Neither gets a point in Hartford's 6-2 home win on Feb. 19.

Video: Gordie Howe, 'Mr. Hockey,' enjoyed five-decade career



1926: The Chicago Black Hawks (they don't officially become known as the Blackhawks until 1986) defeat the Toronto St. Patricks (later the Maple Leafs) 4-1 in their first NHL game, played before a packed house at the Coliseum in Chicago. George Hay and Dick Irvin each score in a span of one minute early in the first period and that's more than enough offensive support for goalie Hugh Lehman.


1932: It's a case of too much red when the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens play for the first time in the 1932-33 season. The teams' sweaters are an almost-identical shade of red, so the visiting Red Wings are forced to wear white pullovers. Montreal wins the game 1-0 in overtime. George Hainsworth earns his 68th NHL shutout.


1973: Bobby Orr sets another NHL record when he has four assists for the Boston Bruins in an 8-0 win against the Red Wings at Boston Garden. The four assists give him 456 for his career, the most by a defenseman in League history, and come in his 458th NHL game. He passes the previous mark of 452 held by Doug Harvey.

In the same game, center Phil Esposito scores his 20th goal of the season in Boston's 18th game. At the time, Esposito is the fastest player to reach 20 goals.

Video: Bobby Orr revolutionized defensive position


1984: Mike Bossy scores three goals and Bryan Trottier has four assists in the New York Islanders' 10-4 victory against the New York Rangers at Nassau Coliseum. Bossy's hat trick is the 32nd of his career, tying him with Esposito for the NHL record.


1988: The St. Louis Blues end 16-plus years of failure at the Spectrum when Bernie Federko scores twice in a 3-1 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers. It's the first win for St. Louis in Philadelphia since Jan. 6, 1972, ending a drought of 34 games (31 losses, three ties).


1997: The Hockey Hall of Fame inducts two of the all-time great centers, Mario Lemieux and Trottier, as well as Glen Sather, the architect of the Edmonton Oilers' dynasty. Lemieux is honored one season after retiring; the Hall waives the standard three-year waiting period. However, he returns to the ice in 2000 and becomes the third player to play an NHL game as a member of the Hall of Fame.


2016: Markus Granlund scores with 44.5 seconds remaining in the third period gives the Minnesota Wild a 1-0 victory against the Bruins at Xcel Energy Center. Granlund's attempted pass hits the skates of two Bruins before deflecting into the net. Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk makes 25 saves and shuts out the Bruins for the second time in three weeks.


2017: NHL general managers meet at the historic Windsor (then a hotel, now an office building) in Montreal to celebrate the League's first 100 years, with the unveiling of a bronze plaque produced by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. According to the handwritten minutes taken 100 years ago, a meeting was called there "to ascertain if some steps could not be taken to perpetuate the game of hockey." The NHL officially comes into being on Nov. 26, 1917. "The NHL was born here," Commissioner Gary Bettman says, "and it will live here forever."


2018: The Tampa Bay Lightning blow a four-goal lead in the third period but defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-5 at Wells Fargo Center on a goal by Anthony Cirelli at 1:47 of overtime. The Lightning lead 5-1 with less than 11 minutes remaining in the third period, only to allow four goals in a span of 6:04. The Lightning became the sixth team in NHL history to squander a four-goal lead in the third period and by win the game, and the first since the Dallas Stars defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-5 on Dec. 8, 2015. The Flyers became the ninth team to rally from a four-goal deficit in the final 10 minutes of the third period and tie the game.


2019: Marc-Andre Fleury makes 34 saves for his 449th NHL victory, helping the Vegas Golden Knights defeat the Calgary Flames 6-0 at T-Mobile Arena. The shutout, Fleury's second of the season and 58th of his NHL career, ties John Ross Roach for 19th in League history.

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