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This Date in NHL History

Oct. 15: Gretzky passes Howe, becomes NHL all-time scoring leader

Plus: Mikita, Lidstrom reach 1,000 points; Lemieux has six assists for Penguins

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1989: Wayne Gretzky passes Gordie Howe to become the all-time NHL 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 gets an assist on a first-period goal by Bernie Nicholls, giving the Los Angeles Kings a 1-0 lead against Gretzky's former team, the Edmonton Oilers, at Northlands Coliseum. Gretzky's first 1,669 points come during his nine seasons with the Oilers.

The Kings rally after trailing 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 goalie Bill Ranford with 53 seconds remaining to tie the game 4-4 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 overtime to give the Kings a 5-4 victory.

Video: Memories: Gretzky tops Howe, becomes leading scorer



1955: The Richard brothers are too much for the visiting New York Rangers. Maurice Richard scores two goals and younger brother Henri Richard, a rookie, scores the game-winner in the Montreal Canadiens' 4-1 victory at the Forum.


1964: Ted Lindsay of the Detroit Red Wings becomes the fourth player in NHL history to appear in 1,000 games when he plays in a 5-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Olympia Stadium. Only Howe (1,189), Bill Gadsby (1,129) and Red Kelly (1,122) have played in more games to that date.

Video: 'Terrible Ted' Lindsay took on all comers for Detroit


1970: The first NHL game is played at Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo. Montreal's Yvan Cournoyer scores two goals and rookie goalie Phil Myre earns his first NHL shutout, a 3-0 win against the expansion Buffalo Sabres.


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


1983: The Blackhawks and 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 Toronto wins the game 10-8 at Maple Leaf Gardens.


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


2009: Nicklas Lidstrom becomes the first NHL defenseman born in Europe to reach 1,000 points. The native of Sweden reaches the milestone with two assists in the Detroit Red Wings' 5-2 victory against the Kings at Joe Louis Arena.


2018: Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs becomes the fifth player in NHL history to have multiple points in each of his team's first seven games. Matthews has two assists to help the Maple Leafs defeat the Kings 4-1 at Scotiabank Arena. He joins Lemieux and Kevin Stevens of the Pittsburgh Penguins (1992-93), Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders (1984-85) and Gretzky with the Oilers (1983-84).


2019: The Arizona Coyotes get two goals by Christian Dvorak in a 4-2 victory against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place. It's the first win for the Coyotes, who move from Winnipeg to Arizona in 1996, in 11 visits since the current Jets relocate from Atlanta for the 2011-12 season.

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