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This Date in NHL History

Oct. 15: Wayne Gretzky passes Gordie Howe

Plus: Stan Mikita, Nicklas Lidstrom reach 1,000 points, Mario Lemieux has eight points vs. Blues

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor

Gretzky Becomes NHL Points Leader

Wayne Gretzky passes Gordie with 1851 all-time points

Oct 15, 1989: Oiler fans cheered Gretzky's goal for LA, as he tallied his 1,851st point, passing Gordie Howe's mark in just his 11th season

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1989: Wayne Gretzky passes Gordie Howe to become the NHL all-time scoring leader, and he does it in front of the fans who cheered for him for nearly a decade.

Gretzky ties Howe's record of 1,850 points when he has an assist on Bernie Nicholls' first-period goal, giving the Los Angeles Kings a 1-0 lead against Gretzky's former team, the Edmonton Oilers, at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton. Gretzky had 1,669 points during nine seasons with the Oilers.

The Kings rally from deficits of 2-1 and 3-2, but the Oilers score again and take a 4-3 lead into the final minute of the third period. With time running out, Gretzky picks up a loose puck to the left of the crease and flips a backhand shot past Oilers goaltender Bill Ranford with 53 seconds remaining to tie the game and pass Howe.

"My initial reaction was, 'Hey, we've tied it,'" Gretzky says. "Then it struck me, 'Wow, that's the record breaker.'"

Gretzky gets a three-minute standing ovation from the crowd of 17,503. The game is stopped for a 15-minute celebration that includes Howe and Gretzky's parents.

To cap the evening, Gretzky scores again at 3:24 of the third period to give the Kings a 5-4 victory.



1955: Two Richard brothers are too much for the New York Rangers. Maurice Richard scores two goals and younger brother Henri Richard, a rookie, gets the winning goal in a 4-1 victory at the Montreal Forum.


1972: Stan Mikita of the Chicago Blackhawks becomes the sixth NHL player with 1,000 points. He has an assist on Cliff Koroll's goal in a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues at Chicago Stadium.


1983: The Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs combine to score five goals in a span of 1:24, setting an NHL record for the fastest five goals by two teams. The Blackhawks score three of the five goals during the record-setting outburst, which runs from 16:49 to 18:13 of the second period, but the Maple Leafs win the game 10-8 at Maple Leaf Gardens.


1988: Mario Lemieux has two goals and six assists for an eight-point game in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 9-2 defeat of the St. Louis Blues at Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. Lemieux's linemate, Rob Brown, has his first NHL hat trick.


2009: Nicklas Lidstrom becomes the first European-born NHL defenseman with 1,000 points when he has two assists in the Detroit Red Wings' 5-2 victory against the Los Angeles Kings at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

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