Wayne Gretzky Gordie Howe November 17 NHL History
1979: One era ends and another begins when two of hockey's greatest players face each other for the first time in their NHL careers.

November 17 NHL History

1926: The Chicago Black Hawks (they don’t officially become known as the Blackhawks until 1985) defeat the Toronto St. Pats 4-1 in their first NHL game, played before a packed house at the Coliseum in Chicago. George Hay and Dick Irvin each score in a span of one minute early in the first period and that’s more than enough offensive support for goalie Hugh Lehman.

1932: It’s a case of too much red when the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens play for the first time in the 1932-33 season. The teams’ sweaters are an almost-identical shade of red, so the visiting Red Wings are forced to wear white pullovers. Montreal wins the game 1-0 in overtime. George Hainsworth earns his 68th NHL shutout.

1973: Bobby Orr sets another NHL record when he has four assists for the Boston Bruins in an 8-0 win against the Red Wings at Boston Garden. The four assists give him 456 for his career, the most by a defenseman in League history, and come in his 458th NHL game. He passes the previous mark of 452 held by Doug Harvey

In the same game, center Phil Esposito scores his 20th goal of the season in Boston’s 18th game. At the time, Esposito is the fastest player to reach 20 goals.

1979: One era ends and another begins when two of hockey’s greatest players face each other for the first time in their NHL careers during the Hartford Whalers’ 4-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers at the Hartford Civic Center.

Gordie Howe, age 51, assists on a second-period goal by Mike Rogers that gives the Whalers a 2-0 lead. Wayne Gretzky, 18, and the Oilers are unable to score on 23 shots against Hartford goaltender Al Smith.

It’s the first of four games between the Great One and Mr. Hockey (who retires after the season). Howe does not have a point in any of the other three; Gretzky scores a goal in a 3-0 win at Northlands Coliseum on Dec. 9 and has an assist in a 3-3 tie in Edmonton on Jan. 2. Neither gets a point in Hartford’s 6-2 home win on Feb. 19.

1984: Mike Bossy scores three goals and Bryan Trottier has four assists in the New York Islanders’ 10-4 victory against the New York Rangers at Nassau Coliseum. Bossy’s hat trick is the 32nd of his career, tying him with Esposito for the NHL record.

1988: The St. Louis Blues end 16-plus years of failure at the Spectrum when Bernie Federko scores twice in a 3-1 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s the first win for St. Louis in Philadelphia since Jan. 6, 1972, ending an 0-31-3 drought.

1997: The Hockey Hall of Fame inducts two of the all-time great centers, Mario Lemieux and Bryan Trottier, as well as Glen Sather, the architect of the Edmonton Oilers’ dynasty. Lemieux is honored one season after retiring; the Hall waives the standard three-year waiting period. However, he returns to the ice in 2000 and becomes the third player to play an NHL game as a member of the Hall of Fame.

2016: Markus Granlund’s goal with 44.5 seconds remaining in the third period gives the Minnesota Wild a 1-0 victory against the Bruins at Xcel Energy Center. Granlund’s attempted pass hits the skates of two Bruins before deflecting into the net. Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk makes 25 saves and shuts out the Bruins for the second time in three weeks.


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