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NHL Centennial

This Week in Centennial History

Plante first goaltender to wear mask; Gretzky joins Oilers @NHLdotcom

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 Oct. 29-Nov. 4:


Nov. 4, 1987: Wayne Gretzky beats Marcel Dionne to the 1,000-assist mark -- in person. The two centers each enter the New York Rangers' game against the Edmonton Oilers with 998 assists. But Gretzky gets to the milestone with two assists (in addition to a hat trick) in Edmonton's 7-2 victory at Northlands Coliseum. Assist No. 1,000 comes in his 645th NHL game.

Video: Wayne Gretzky all-time leader in goals, points


Nov. 3, 2007: Hockey Hall of Famer Al Arbour gets one more game behind the bench with the New York Islanders. At the suggestion of coach Ted Nolan, Arbour, the coach during their Stanley Cup dynasty years and at the time the second-winningest coach in NHL history, returns to lead his old team one last time, giving him an even 1,500 games coached with New York. Forward Miroslav Satan scores twice and the Islanders rally to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 at a sold-out Nassau Coliseum.


Nov. 2, 1978: Gretzky becomes a member of the Edmonton Oilers after eight games with the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association. With Indianapolis struggling financially, owner Nelson Skalbania sells Gretzky, then 17, along with goaltender Eddie Mio and forward Peter Driscoll to Edmonton. Gretzky finishes the season with 110 points (46 goals, 64 assists) and is named the last WHA Rookie of the Year. He comes to the NHL with the Oilers in 1979.


Nov. 1, 1959: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jacques Plante makes history when he wears a mask during an NHL game for the first time. Plante is cut by a rising shot taken by Rangers forward Andy Bathgate 3:06 into the first period of the Canadiens' 3-1 win at Madison Square Garden. Plante goes off for repairs; when he returns, he's wearing a fiberglass mask.

Video: Memories: Plante becomes first goalie to wear a mask


Oct. 31, 1981: Gretzky becomes the first player in NHL history to have seven hat tricks before his 21st birthday when he scores four goals (and has an assist) in an 11-4 victory against the Quebec Nordiques at Northlands Coliseum. Gretzky scores early in the second period to give the Oilers a 3-0 lead, then finishes his big night with three more goals (and the assist) in the third period to give him 13 goals in Edmonton's first 13 games.


Oct. 30, 1943: One of the most famous lines in NHL history makes its debut when the Montreal Canadiens open their season with a 2-2 tie against the Boston Bruins at the Forum. Montreal coach Dick Irvin puts center Elmer Lach between left wing Toe Blake and right wing Maurice Richard (wearing No. 9 for the first time), a trio that quickly becomes known as the "Punch Line."


Oct. 29, 1970: Longtime Detroit Red Wings linemates Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio each make history in a 5-3 victory against the Bruins at Olympia Stadium. Playing on the 23rd anniversary of the first time he wore No. 9, Howe has two assists to become the first player in NHL history to reach 1,000 for his career. Delvecchio scores twice, and his third-period goal (assisted by Howe) is the 400th of his NHL career.

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