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This Date in NHL History

Oct. 16: Howe makes quick impact in NHL debut with Red Wings

Plus: Ullman gets 1,000th point, Gartner scores first goal

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1946: Gordie Howe makes an instant impact in his first NHL game.

The 18-year-old scores a goal and is a physical presence during the Detroit Red Wings' 3-3 tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs at Olympia Stadium.

Howe scores the first of his 801 NHL goals while wearing No. 17. He switches to No. 9 the following season. His final NHL goal comes April 9, 1980, when Howe, now 52, is playing for the Hartford Whalers.



1926: The 10-team NHL realigns into two divisions. The Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Maroons, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and New York Americans are placed in the Canadian Division. The American Division includes the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Pirates, as well as the League's three newest franchises -- the New York Rangers, Detroit Cougars (later the Red Wings) and Chicago Black Hawks (then two words).


1960: Jerry Toppazzini of the Bruins, a forward, becomes the last non-goaltender to play goalie in an NHL game. He steps in after Don Simmons is injured with 30 seconds remaining in the third period of a 5-2 loss at Chicago but does not face any shots.


1971: Norm Ullman of the Maple Leafs becomes the fourth NHL player to reach 1,000 career points. Ullman has two assists during a 5-3 loss to the Rangers at Maple Leaf Gardens.


1979: Mike Gartner scores his first NHL goal in the Washington Capitals' 8-6 victory against the visiting Los Angeles Kings. The rookie forward scores 36 goals in his first season; he finishes his career with 708.

Video: Mike Gartner had 17 seasons with 30-plus goals


1982: Victor Nechayev becomes the first Soviet-trained player to appear in an NHL game. He went scoreless for the Kings in a 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. The 27-year-old forward scores one goal in three games with the Kings; they are his only appearances in the NHL.


1986: Denis Potvin is credited with the 684th assist of his NHL career, breaking a tie with Brad Park for the most by a defenseman in League history. He reaches the milestone during the Islanders' 7-4 win against the Capitals at Nassau Coliseum. The record-setting assist comes exactly 13 years after Potvin's first NHL point.

Video: Denis Potvin was captain of Islanders' 1980s dynasty


1988: Hockey Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur scores his first NHL goal in nearly four years. It's also his first with the Rangers after spending 14 seasons with the Canadiens before retiring in 1984. Lafleur finishes with two points (one goal, one assist) to help the Rangers defeat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 at Madison Square Garden.


2015: Mike Babcock gets his first win as coach of the Maple Leafs, 6-3 against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Maple Leafs start the season 0-2-1 under Babcock, who comes to Toronto after coaching the Red Wings for 10 seasons. Captain Dion Phaneuf presents him with the game puck.


2018: Connor McDavid sets an NHL record by having a point on each of the Edmonton Oilers' first nine goals of the season. McDavid scores two goals and assists on two more during a 5-4 overtime win against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place. He is involved in the Oilers' first four goals, three in the third period, before Darnell Nurse scores the game-winner at 1:25 of OT. McDavid breaks the record of seven games set by Adam Oates with the Detroit Red Wings in 1986-87.


2019: McDavid has the first five-point game of his NHL career when he scores one goal and assists on four others in the Oilers' 6-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Rogers Place. McDavid joins Wayne Gretzky (five times) as the second Oilers player to have at least 17 points through Edmonton's first seven games of an NHL season. The Oilers win despite being outshot 52-22; Edmonton goalie Mikko Koskinen makes 49 saves.

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