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This Date in NHL History

Oct. 15: Gretzky passes Howe

Plus: Mikita, Lidstrom reach 1,000 points, Lemieux has eight points against Blues

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: Oct. 15

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 gets 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. The first 1,669 points come during Gretzky's nine seasons with the Oilers.

The Kings rally from down 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 overtime to give the Kings a 5-4 victory.

Video: Memories: Gretzky tops Howe, becomes leading scorer

 

MORE MOMENTS

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, gets the game-winner in the Montreal Canadiens' 4-1 victory at the Forum.

 

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

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 Cliff Koroll's goal 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 defeat of 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 European-born NHL defenseman to reach 1,000 points when he gets two assists in the Detroit Red Wings' 5-2 victory against the Kings at Joe Louis Arena.

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