Today in Hockey History: Wayne Gretzky Plays Final Game for New York Rangers

Wayne Gretzky

During the NHL’s hiatus, we at the Last Word on Hockey are going to look back at each date’s historical significance to the game. We’ll remember the moments that shaped the sport of hockey that happened on this day. Here’s our look at this date in hockey history for April 18th, featuring Wayne Gretzky.

Today in Hockey History

Wayne Gretzky Plays Final NHL Game

1999: The Great One, now playing for the New York Rangers, gets an assist and his 2,857th point in his final NHL game. New York would lose 2-1 in overtime to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jaromir Jagr seal the win with a goal at 1:22 of OT.

Gretzky would get a videotaped message from his idol Gordie Howe before the game. Number 99 would skate around the ice at Madison Square Garden in a few victory laps. He’d finish with 894 goals and 1,963 NHL assists for his final numbers.

Other Notable Events

1942: The Toronto Maple Leafs cap an improbable rally by beating the Detroit Red Wings, 3-1, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Sweeney Schriner scored twice as the Leafs were the first team to overturn an 0-3 hole.

1959: The Montreal Canadiens are the first team to win the Stanley Cup four years in a row. Montreal would beat Toronto, 5-3, in Game 5 thanks to two Bernie Geoffrion goals.

1963: Dave Keon is the first to score two shorthanded goals in a playoff game. The Leafs beat the Wings, 3-1, in Game 5 of the Final.

1968: Both the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota North Stars win their first Game 7s in franchise history. St. Louis tops the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-1, while Minnesota beats the Los Angeles Kings, 9-4.

1987: Pat LaFontaine ends the “Easter Epic”with a goal at 68:47 of overtime. The New York Islanders outlast the Washington Capitals, 3-2, in one of the longest games in NHL history.

1994: The San Jose Sharks shocked the Red Wings, 5-4, in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. San Jose is the first team since the Isles in 1975 to win their first playoff game.

1996: Brian Bellows scores 9:05 into OT as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat Philadelphia 2-1 in Game 2 of the Eastern quarterfinals. It’s the first post-season win for Tampa Bay.

2001: Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche is the first goalie to play in 200 post-season games as the Avs beat the Vancouver Canucks, 5-1. It’s also Roy’s 125th playoff win.

2012: Pittsburgh routs Philadelphia, 10-3, to equal the most goals by a road team. The Pens set a record for most goals It’s the most goals ever by a facing elimination.

Happy Birthday to You

1966: Valeri Kamensky

1969: Vladimir Tsyplakov

1971: Oleg Petrov

1982: Scott Hartnell

1993: Mika Zibanejad