October 16 NHL History
1946: Gordie Howe makes an instant impact in his first NHL game.
The 18-year-old scores a goal and gets into two fights during the Detroit Red Wings’ 3-3 tie with the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.
Howe wears No. 17 to score the first of his 801 NHL goals. The last one comes April 9, 1980, when Howe, now 52, is playing for the Hartford Whalers.
1960: Forward Jerry Toppazzini of the Boston Bruins becomes the last non-goaltender to play goalie. He steps in after Don Simmons is injured with 30 seconds remaining in the third period of a 5-2 road loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, but does not face any shots.
1971: Norm Ullman of the Toronto Maple Leafs becomes the fourth NHL player to reach 1,000 career points. Ullman has two assists during a 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.
1979: Rookie forward Mike Gartner scores his first NHL goal in the Washington Capitals’ 8-6 victory against the visiting Los Angeles Kings. Gartner has 36 goals in his first season and finishes his career with 708.
1982: Forward Victor Nechayev becomes the first Soviet-trained player to appear in an NHL game. He went scoreless for the Kings in a 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. Nechayev, 27, scores one goal in three games with the Kings; they are his only appearances in the NHL.
1986: Denis Potvin is credited with the 684th assist of his NHL career, breaking a tie with Brad Park for the most by a defenseman in League history. He reaches the milestone during the Islanders’ 7-4 win against the Capitals at Nassau Coliseum. The record-setting assist comes exactly 13 years after Potvin’s first NHL point.
1988: Hockey Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur scores his first NHL goal in nearly four years. It’s also his first with the New York Rangers after spending 14 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and retiring in 1984. Lafleur finishes with two points (goal, assist) to help the Rangers defeat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 at Madison Square Garden.
2015: Mike Babcock gets his first win as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6-3 against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Maple Leafs start the season 0-2-1 under Babcock, who comes to Toronto after coaching the Detroit Red Wings for 10 seasons. Captain Dion Phaneuf presents him with the game puck.