Normally we’d be in the closing in on the mid-way point of the regular season, however, we’re in a different world. Last Word on Hockey is still 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 December 30th, featuring Wayne Gretzky.
Today in Hockey History
Wayne Gretzky Nets 50 Goals in 39 Games
1981: The Edmonton Oilers centre shatters the mark for quickest to 50 goals with a five-goal outburst. Gretzky powers Edmonton to a 7-5 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers of 50 goals in 50 games. Both Maurice Richard and Mike Bossy held the mark that Gretzky destroys.
Gretzky had scored four goals in the previous game just three nights before against the Los Angeles Kings. He goes on to score 92 goals for the season, which is still a single-season record.
Other Notable Events
1904: The red line is created in the first game of a best-of-three Challenge Cup matchup between Ottawa HC and Winnipeg Rowing club. Officials create the line to help award goals and the line has been since expanded to the boards.
1934; The New York Rangers and Boston Bruins to a scoreless tie to start the Bruins’ 37-game unbeaten streak in overtime. The streak spans four years, but Boston ties in 27 of these games.
1967: The Kings christen the Great Western Forum in Inglewood with a 2-0 loss to the Flyers. Doug Favell makes 25 saves to earn the shutout for Philadelphia.
1978: Hall of Fame official Frank Udvari becomes the oldest man to referee an NHL game at 55 years old. He’s pressed into service after Dave Newell leaves with a bad cut. Udvari disallows a Bryan Trottier goal despite borrowing a pair of skates from him. The New York Islanders beat the Atlanta Flames, 4-2.
1989: The Toronto Maple Leafs score six unanswered goals to complete a 7-6 overtime win over Boston. Wendel Clark scores at 3:19 of overtime to seal the rally from 6-1 down.
1992: Washington Capitals defenceman Al Iafrate records the first shot to top 100 miles per hour. He recorded a shot of 101.4 mph at the Capitals Superskills competition.
Sweden’s Peter Forsberg sets a World Juniors record with 10 points in a 20-1 rout of Japan. Forsberg would finish the tournament with 31 points as the Swedes won silver.
2006: New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur sets the record for most shutouts with one team in a 2-0 win over the Islanders. It’s Brodeur’s 86th shutout with the Devils to pass Terry Sawchuk‘s mark with the Detroit Red Wings.
Happy Birthday to You
1883: Lester Patrick
1978: Rob Scuderi
1995: Lawrence Pilut; Igor Shesterkin