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This Date in NHL History

Oct. 7: Lightning win NHL debut

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

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1992: The brand-new Tampa Bay Lightning put on a show for their fans in their NHL debut.

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, 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 against the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 18, 2014).

It's the highlight of a debut season that ends 23-54 with seven ties.

Video: Memories: Tampa Bay wins first regular-season game



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


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 teams. 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. It's the only goal of Stefaniw's NHL career.


1976: Seventeen years to the day that he scores his first NHL goal, Blackhawks center Stan Mikita becomes the third player in NHL history to reach 1,300 points in his career. The milestone comes when he scores a goal in Chicago's 6-4 road win against the St. Louis Blues.

Video: Stan Mikita Chicago's all-time leading scorer


1983: The Vancouver Canucks defeat the Minnesota North Stars 10-9 at Pacific Coliseum in one of the wildest games in NHL history. The teams combine for 10 power-play goals (six by the Canucks, four by the North Stars) before an unassisted goal by Vancouver's Patrik Sundstrom 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 Detroit's captain until his retirement in July 2006.

Video: Steve Yzerman was Detroit's captain for 19 seasons


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 a 4-4 tie against the Islanders at Boston Garden. He also has a hat trick on Jan. 22, 1995, when the Bruins open the shortened 1994-95 season with a 4-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers.


1996: Mike Gartner scores three times for his 18th NHL hat trick and the Phoenix Coyotes, playing in their second game since relocating from Winnipeg, defeat the Bruins 5-2 at Fleet Center. 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.


2017: The Vegas Golden Knights become the first NHL expansion team in 50 years to win its first two games when James Neal scores at 3:46 of overtime for a 2-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. The Golden Knights trail 1-0 until defenseman Nate Schmidt ties the game with 1:12 remaining in the third period. Neal scores his third goal in two nights when he skates out in front from behind the net after taking a pass from David Perron and beats Antti Raanta for the win. The Golden Knights join the 1967-68 Oakland Seals and Los Angeles Kings as the only expansion teams to start 2-0-0.

On the same night, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals becomes the first NHL player in 100 years to have hat tricks in each of his team's first two games of the season. Ovechkin scores four goals, three in the first period, in a 6-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Capital One Arena. He becomes the first player with back-to-back hat tricks at the start of an NHL season since 1917-18. Capitals rookie forward Nathan Walker becomes the first Australian national to play in an NHL regular-season game and scores a goal at 18:05 of the second period.


2018: John Tavares scores three goals in his third game with the Toronto Maple Leafs during a 7-6 overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. Tavares, a center who signs with his hometown team as a free agent after nine seasons with the New York Islanders, scores twice in the second period and once in the third before defenseman Morgan Rielly scores the game-winner 19 seconds into overtime. Chicago forward Patrick Kane ties the game twice in the final 1:24 of the third period to help Chicago get a point.

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