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This Date in NHL History

Oct. 6: Gretzky shines in first game with Kings

Plus: Canadiens retire Richard's No. 9; Golden Knights win NHL debut

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1988: Wayne Gretzky's debut with the Los Angeles Kings is a Hollywood smash.

Gretzky, acquired by the Kings in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers less than two months earlier, scores on his first shot and assists on three other goals in an 8-2 victory against the Detroit Red Wings.

The game draws a full house of 16,005 to the Forum in Inglewood, California. It's the first opening-night sellout for the Kings since entering the NHL in 1967.

Video: Memories: Gretzky's first game with the Kings



1955: Glenn Hall begins a streak that likely will never be equaled when he takes the ice for the Red Wings in their season-opening 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. It's the first of 502 consecutive starts for Hall, by far the longest such streak by a goalie in NHL history. Hall is traded to the Blackhawks before the 1957-58 season, but the streak rolls on until he finally has to come out of a game on Nov. 7, 1962, when his back tightens up midway through the first period against the Boston Bruins. He's relieved by Denis DeJordy. Three nights later, the streak officially ends when DeJordy goes all the way in a 3-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens at the Forum.

On the same night, Toe Blake is a winner in his NHL coaching debut when the Canadiens defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 at the Forum. Jacques Plante makes 23 saves for his 11th NHL shutout. Blake guides Montreal to the Stanley Cup in each of his first five seasons as coach.


1960: The Canadiens retire Maurice Richard's No. 9 prior to their season-opening game against the Maple Leafs at the Forum. The honor comes a few weeks after Richard announces that he's retiring. He's the second player in Canadiens history to have his number raised to the rafters at the Forum, joining Howie Morenz (No. 7, in 1937). The celebration continues into the game, when Plante gets his 48th NHL shutout in a 5-0 victory.


1976: Minnesota North Stars forward Roland Eriksson ties an NHL record by assisting on four goals in his first game, matching the performance of Detroit's Dutch Reibel in 1953. Despite Eriksson's efforts, the North Stars lose 6-5 to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.


1982: For the first time, the Quebec Nordiques ice a lineup that includes all three Stastny brothers. Peter Stastny and Anton Stastny, in their second NHL season after defecting from Czechoslovakia, are joined by older brother Marian Stastny, and all three contribute to a 6-4 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Memorial Auditorium. Peter scores three goals and has an assist, Anton scores a goal and has an assist, and Marian has two assists.


1993: Roger Neilson becomes the first in NHL history to coach six teams when he's behind the bench for the expansion Florida Panthers' first game. Florida has a one-goal lead with less than four minutes remaining but settles for a 4-4 tie against the Blackhawks at Chicago Stadium.


2000: Rookie forward Marian Gaborik scores the first goal in Minnesota Wild history, but the Wild lose 3-1 at the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in their first NHL game.


2017: The NHL's 31st team, the Vegas Golden Knights, wins its first game by rallying to defeat the Dallas Stars 2-1 at American Airlines Center. James Neal scores twice in the third period for Vegas; the second goal comes with 2:44 remaining in the third period. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury makes 45 saves for the Golden Knights, who become the first NHL expansion team to win its debut since the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning each do it in 1992.


2018: The New Jersey Devils defeat the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 before 12,044 fans at Scandinavium in Gothenburg, Sweden, in the NHL Global Series. Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac score two goals apiece for New Jersey. It's the 11th NHL regular-season game to be played in Sweden, but the first in Gothenburg.


2019: The Carolina Hurricanes rally to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in overtime at PNC Arena and start the season 3-0-0 for the first time since 1995-96, when they were the Hartford Whalers. The Hurricanes outshoot the Lightning 44-13, including 16-0 in the second period -- becoming the first team in NHL history to hold the reigning Presidents' Trophy winner without a shot in a period during the ensuing regular season.

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