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This Date in NHL History

Feb. 20: Phil Esposito gets 50th goal on birthday

Plus: Clint Benedict first goalie to wear mask; Islanders win 15th straight game

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Esposito had a number of birthday celebrations.

1971: On his 29th birthday, Esposito becomes the fourth player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season, joining Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull and Bernie Geoffrion. The Boston Bruins center scores in a 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at the Forum in Inglewood, California.


1972: On Esposito's 30th birthday, he scores two goals, including his 50th of the season, and has an assist in Boston's 3-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at Chicago Stadium. It's Esposito's second straight 50-goal season.


1974: Two years later, Esposito again reaches 50 goals on his birthday. This time, he becomes the first player in NHL history with four straight 50-goal seasons by scoring three times for his 22nd NHL hat trick in Boston's 5-5 tie against the Minnesota North Stars at Met Center.



1930: Clint Benedict of the Montreal Maroons becomes the first goaltender to wear a mask in an NHL game. Benedict dons the mask after being hit in the face by a puck during a 3-3 tie against the New York Americans.


1944: The Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs played the only "perfect game" in NHL history. Goaltenders Mike Karakas of Chicago and Paul Bibeault of Toronto battle to a 0-0 tie, and referee Bill Chadwick does not call a penalty. The game is played in 1:55.


1971: Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens becomes the second player in NHL history to reach 1,200 career points when he has three assists in a 7-1 win against the Blackhawks at the Forum. Montreal's Pete Mahovlich scores twice in five seconds during the third period, and rookie Phil Roberto has his first NHL hat trick.


1981: Rookies Peter Stastny and Anton Stastny each has a hat trick to help the Quebec Nordiques to a 9-3 victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Pacific Coliseum. Peter had three assists for a six-point night; Anton had two assists.


1982: The New York Islanders break the NHL record for consecutive victories by defeating the Colorado Rockies 3-2 at Nassau Coliseum for their 15th consecutive win. John Tonelli broke a 2-2 tie when he beat former teammate Glenn Resch through the five-hole with a slap shot for the win, surpassing the 52-year-old record set by the Bruins in 1929-30. New York averages 6.5 goals per game during the streak.

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