Dec. 11 NHL History
1969: Kate Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” is played at the Spectrum for the first time, and the Philadelphia Flyers respond by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3. The Flyers go 19-1-1 in the next three seasons when “God Bless America” is played.
1977: Tom Bladon of the Flyers sets an NHL single-game record for most points by a defenseman. He has four goals and four assists for an eight-point night in an 11-1 victory against the Cleveland Barons at the Spectrum. Bladon also sets an NHL record with a plus-10 rating. He finishes the season with 35 points (11 goals, 24 assists) in 79 games.
1985: The Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks play one of the wildest games in modern NHL history, combining for 21 goals on 90 shots in Edmonton’s 12-9 victory at Chicago Stadium.
The 21 goals are the most in one game since adoption of the red line in 1943, and the teams set a League record by combining for 12 goals in the second period.
Edmonton leads 6-0 early in the second before Denis Savard gets the Blackhawks on the scoreboard with a power-play goal. Chicago gets as close as 7-5 and 8-6 before goals by Marty McSorley and Glenn Anderson late in the period give Edmonton a 10-6 lead, and Jari Kurri scores two third-period goals to keep the Oilers comfortably in front.
Kurri finishes with a hat trick. Wayne Gretzky doesn’t score a goal but matches the NHL single-game record with seven assists. Troy Murray and Ken Yaremchuk score two goals apiece for Chicago.
1988: Brent Ashton of the Winnipeg Jets scores on a penalty shot for his 200th NHL goal in an 8-6 loss to the Vancouver Canucks at Pacific Coliseum. It’s the first penalty-shot goal for the Jets since the franchise enters the League in 1979.
1992: The NHL names Gary Bettman as its first commissioner, effective Feb. 1, 1993.
2000: Mario Lemieux, already a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, announces he will return with the Pittsburgh Penguins after a layoff of 3 1/2 years. Lemieux retires in 1997 at age 32 and says he’ll never play again, worn down by health issues, as well as frustration with the way the game is being played. In the meantime, he’s became owner of the Penguins when he and some investors purchase the team out of bankruptcy. He becomes the NHL’s first player-owner when he plays 16 days later.
2002: Joe Sakic becomes the 31st player in NHL history to score 500 goals. Sakic reaches the milestone when he scores for the Colorado Avalanche in a 3-1 road loss to the Canucks. He has 625 goals when he retired in 2009.
2003: Dave Andreychuk of the Tampa Bay Lightning passes Johnny Bucyk for the most NHL games played by a left wing. Andreychuk scores his 618th NHL goal in his 1,541st game, but the Lightning lose 3-2 at the Ottawa Senators. Andreychuk finishes his NHL career with 1,639 games played and joins Bucyk in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017.