December 6 NHL History
1987: If a five-goal night can be a ho-hum occurrence for anyone, it’s Wayne Gretzky. He scores three times in the first period, and once each in the second and third, to help the Edmonton Oilers defeat the Minnesota North Stars 10-4 at Northlands Coliseum.
It’s the fourth five-goal game of Gretzky’s NHL career, the most by a modern-era player (though Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins later equals his mark). Gretzky scores five times in a game twice in 1981 and again on Dec. 15, 1984. The five goals give Gretzky 25 for the season, moving him past Lemieux for the NHL lead.
Gretzky also has an assist on Esa Tikkanen’s goal 42 seconds into the first period for a six-point game.
1988: Greg Millen of the St. Louis Blues makes 23 saves in a 3-0 victory against the North Stars for his third consecutive shutout. He’s the first goaltender since Tony Esposito of the Chicago Blackhawks in 1971-72 to have back-to-back-to-back shutouts. Millen finishes the season with an NHL-leading six shutouts and a 3.38 goals-against average.
1989: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Larry Robinson scores his 200th NHL goal and gets his 900th point in a 5-4 overtime victory against the Vancouver Canucks. Robinson becomes the first player in NHL history to score 200 goals without getting 20 in a single season at least once.
1990: The NHL stakes out new territory and returns to one of its former homes when Tampa Bay and Ottawa are awarded expansion franchises. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators will make the NHL a 24-team league when it begins play in the 1992-93 season. The Lightning are the first NHL team to make its home in Florida; the new Senators bear the name of the team that wins the Stanley Cup six times before playing its last game in Ottawa in 1933-34.
2011: Goaltender Mike Murphy of the Carolina Hurricanes is charged with the loss in the Calgary Flames’ 7-6 victory at Scotiabank Saddledome despite not allowing a goal. Murphy relieves Cam Ward midway through the third period with the Hurricanes trailing 6-3. He makes two saves before being removed for an extra attacker, but Calgary’s Jarome Iginla hits the empty net to make it 7-4. However, the Hurricanes score at 19:32 and 19:55, making Murphy the losing goaltender. He is the first goalie in history to earn a loss before allowing his first NHL goal.
2014: Mike Babcock becomes the 19th coach in NHL history to reach 500 wins when the Detroit Red Wings rally from down two goals to defeat the New York Rangers 3-2. Babcock’s first 69 wins come with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim; the next 431 are with Detroit, where he coaches from 2005-15. He’s the 18th NHL coach to reach 500 wins and the third to have worked with the Red Wings, joining Scotty Bowman and Bryan Murray.