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This Date in NHL History

Oct. 4: Messier traded to Rangers by Oilers

Plus: Sharks play first NHL game; Bruins retire Bourque's No. 77

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1991: The future of two teams is altered dramatically when the Edmonton Oilers trade their captain, Mark Messier, to the New York Rangers.

After playing on all five of the Oilers' Stanley Cup-winning teams from 1984-90 (two more than the Rangers' total from 1926-91), Messier holds out and is traded to New York for forwards Bernie Nicholls, Steven Rice and Louie DeBrusk.

Messier's effect on the Rangers is immediate: They win the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's best regular-season team in 1991-92 and again in 1993-94, then end a 54-year championship drought by winning the Stanley Cup in 1994, with Messier scoring the Cup-winning goal in Game 7 of the Final.

The Oilers don't return to the Cup Final again until 2006, then fail to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs again until 2017.

Video: Mark Messier was one of NHL's greatest leaders



1926: The Detroit Cougars, one of three new teams set to begin play the following month, purchase the Victoria Cougars from the defunct Western Hockey League for $100,000. Players from Victoria make up nearly half of the first-year Detroit team.


1958: Maurice Richard scores two goals, and brother Henri Richard gets the game-winner and has two assists to help the Stanley Cup-champion Montreal Canadiens to a 6-3 win in the NHL All Star Game at the Forum.


1991: The San Jose Sharks make their NHL debut in a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks at Pacific Coliseum. Forward Craig Coxe, a native of Chula Vista, California, scores the first goal in Sharks history. The Sharks go 17-58 with five ties in their inaugural season.

On the same night, Jari Kurri scores three goals in his first game with the Los Angeles Kings, who defeat the Winnipeg Jets 6-3 at Winnipeg Arena. The hat trick is the 21st of Kurri's NHL career.


1999: The Sharks have the first "double hat trick" in their history. Owen Nolan and Jeff Friesen each scores three goals in a 7-1 win against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. Nolan also has three assists for a six-point night.


2001: Brendan Shanahan scores three goals in the Detroit Red Wings' 4-3 overtime win at San Jose to become the second player in NHL history to have an opening-night hat trick twice in his career.

On the same night, the Boston Bruins retire Ray Bourque's No. 77 before their season opener, then defeat the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 4-2.

Video: Ray Bourque capped career with dramatic Cup in 2001


2008: The NHL plays its first regular-season games in Stockholm, Sweden, and Prague, Czech Republic. Tyler Kennedy's overtime goal gives the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 win against the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm, and Brandon Dubinsky's goal stands as the game-winner in the Rangers' 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Prague.


2017: In his first game with the Toronto Maple Leafs after 19 seasons with the San Jose Sharks, Patrick Marleau scores two goals in a 7-2 victory against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place. Marleau's first NHL goal for a team other than the Sharks comes at 8:32 of the second period and is set up by Auston Matthews , who finishes with a goal and two assists to become the fourth player in NHL history to start each of his first two seasons with at least three points in his team's opening game.


2019: Cam Atkinson ties an NHL record by scoring in his sixth straight season-opening game, equaling the mark held by Mud Bruneteau of the Red Wings (1940-41 through 1945-46) and Yvan Cournoyer of the Canadiens (1973-74 through 1978-79). However, Atkinson's second-period goal is the only offense for the Blue Jackets, who start their season with a 4-1 loss to the Maple Leafs at Nationwide Arena.

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