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 31st, featuring Mario Lemieux.
We hope that you have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve.
Today in Hockey History
Mario Lemieux Scores Every Way
1988: The Pittsburgh Penguins centre scores in each way possible in an 8-6 win over the New Jersey Devils. Lemieux scores even strength, power play, shorthanded penalty shot and empty net goals for Pittsburgh. It’s the equivalent of hitting for the cycle in baseball.
He also adds three assists to key the Penguins to the victory over their Patrick Division rivals. Lemieux recorded his first career hat trick three years earlier in an 8-4 win over the St. Louis Blues.
Other Notable Events
1975: The Montreal Canadiens and Soviet Red Army play in arguably the greatest game ever played. Montreal and the Soviets play to a 3-3 tie at the Montreal Forum. Goals by Steve Shutt and Yvon Lambert give the Habs a 2-0 lead and Yvan Cournoyer makes it 3-1 in the second period. However, Valeri Kharlamov and Boris Alexandrov tie the game and Vladislav Tretiak withstands a 16-shot barrage by the Canadiens in the third to earn the tie.
1992: New York Islanders coach Al Arbour becomes the losingest coach in NHL history in a 5-1 loss to the Blues. He passed Dick Irvin, but had a mark of 721-522-233 after that game. He finished his career with a 782-577-248 record, the second most NHL wins in history behind Scotty Bowman (1,244).
1997: Buffalo Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek rounds of December with his sixth shutout of the month. He stops 36 shots in a 3-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators. George Hainsworth was the last goalie to get six shutouts in a month in one month.
2017: Vegas Golden Knights forward William Karlsson gets the first hat trick in franchise history. He scores three and gets an assist in a 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs as the Knights go 11-1-1 for the month.
Happy Birthday to You
1904: Charlie Gardiner
1948: René Robert
1954: Terry Ruskowski
1955: Gary McAdam
1963: Paul Gillis
1984: Corey Crawford
1991: Brandon Tanev