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NHL Centennial

This Week in Centennial History

Howe, Gretzky play against each other for first time; Rangers enjoy winning debut @NHL

As part of the League's Centennial Celebration, is taking a look back at memorable events each week.

Here are Centennial highlights for the week of Nov. 12-18:

Nov. 18, 1926: Detroit's new NHL franchise, known as the Cougars,plays its first game but loses 2-0 against the Boston Bruins. Center Duke Keats scores an early goal and sets up one by forward Archie Briden to give Boston a two-goal lead before the game is five minutes old, and Bruins goaltender Doc Stewart makes 21 saves.


Nov. 17, 1979: Forward Gordie Howe and center Wayne Gretzky face each other for the first time in their NHL careers during the Hartford Whalers' 4-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers at the Hartford Civic Center. Howe, age 51, assists on a second-period goal by center Mike Rogers that gives the Whalers a 2-0 lead. Gretzky, 18, and the Oilers are unable to score on 23 shots against Hartford goaltender Al Smith.

Video: Gordie Howe, 'Mr. Hockey,' enjoyed five-decade career


Nov. 16, 1926: The New York Rangers are a hit on opening night. One season after the New York Americans join the League and show that hockey can be a big draw in the Big Apple, the Rangers (owned by Madison Square Garden, where the Americans are a tenant) draw more than 13,000 fans for their first NHL game, a 1-0 victory against the defending Stanley Cup champion Montreal Maroons.


Nov. 15, 1973: Defenseman Bobby Orr has a special night, even by his standards. Orr scores three goals and assists on four others for the first seven-point game by a defenseman in NHL history, helping the Boston Bruins to a 10-2 victory against the Rangers at Boston Garden.

Video: Memories: Orr sets record with seven-point game


Nov. 14, 1998: Forward Brett Hull becomes the 53rd player in NHL history to reach the 1,000-point mark when he scores two goals and has an assist to help the visiting Dallas Stars defeat the Bruins 3-1. He also becomes part of the first father-son tandem to score 1,000 points in the League: Forward Bobby Hull has 1,170 points (610 goals, 560 assists) in 1,063 NHL games before retiring in 1980.

Video: Brett Hull fourth leading goal-scorer in NHL


Nov. 13, 1968: The St. Louis Blues use three goaltenders to defeat the Rangers 3-1 at Madison Square Garden. After Glenn Hall is ejected 2:01 into the game, rookie backup Robbie Irons plays three minutes; that's enough time for Jacques Plante to go from the press box to the locker room, get dressed and take over. Plante makes 22 saves for the win.


Nov. 12, 1931: The first NHL game is played at Maple Leaf Gardens. An opening-night crowd of 13,233, the largest ever to attend a hockey game up to that time, pays anywhere from 95 cents (general admission) to $2.75 (best seats in the house) to see the Toronto Maple Leafs lose 2-1 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

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