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This Date in NHL History

Oct. 7: Lightning play their first game

Plus: Islanders defeat Flames in debut for each franchise; Stan Mikita third to 1,300 points

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1992: The Tampa Bay Lightning give their fans plenty to cheer about during the first game in their history.

Forward Chris Kontos scores four goals (his first career NHL hat trick), and defenseman Joe Reekie has four assists to help the Lightning to a 7-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at Expo Hall. Kontos scores the first two goals in Lightning history before the game is six minutes old, and then beats goalie Ed Belfour twice more in the second period. The four goals remain a single-game Lightning record (Martin St. Louis tied it Jan. 18, 2014, against the San Jose Sharks).

It's the highlight of a debut season that ends 23-54-7.



1954: The Detroit Red Wings extend their unbeaten streak on opening night to 15 games (14-0-1) by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 at the Olympia.


1972: The New York Islanders and Atlanta Flames face off at Nassau Coliseum in the first game for each of the NHL's two newest franchises. The Flames win 3-2 on third-period goals by Bobby Leiter and Rey Comeau. Ed Westfall scores the first goal in Islanders history after Morris Stefaniw gets the first one for the Flames.


1976: Seventeen years to the day that he scored his first NHL goal, Blackhawks center Stan Mikita becomes the third player in NHL history to reach 1,300 career points. The milestone comes when he scores a goal in Chicago's 6-5 road win against the St. Louis Blues.


1983: In one of the wildest games in NHL history, the Vancouver Canucks defeat the Minnesota North Stars 10-9 at Pacific Coliseum. The teams combine for 10 power-play goals (six by the Canucks, four by the North Stars) before Patrik Sundstrom's unassisted goal with 4:56 remaining breaks a 9-9 tie.


1986: The Red Wings name 21-year-old center Steve Yzerman as their new captain, the youngest in their history. Yzerman remains captain until his retirement in July 2006.


1995: Cam Neely of the Boston Bruins becomes the first player in NHL history to have a hat trick on opening night twice in his career. Neely scores once in each period in Boston's 4-4 tie against the visiting Islanders. He had a hat trick on Jan. 22, 1995, when the Bruins opened the shortened 1994-95 season with a 4-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers.


1996: Mike Gartner scores three times for his 18th career NHL hat trick, and the Phoenix Coyotes, playing in their second game since relocating from Winnipeg, win 5-2 at the Bruins. Gartner's goal at 7:11 of the first period is the first for Phoenix and comes one night after a 1-0 loss at the Hartford Whalers.

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