Historical Hockey Moments in the NHL

You can always bet on the NHL to deliver. Since the league's inception in 1917, there have been numerous great moments – some of these were significant at the time, such as Wayne Gretzky passing Gordie Howe for the most goals scored or a franchise winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in decades. Other occurrences may not have seemed significant at the time, but we have since learned how they influenced the game.

Some joyful moments came to an end. Others resulted in debate. They all had a massive impact on the National Hockey League, which has been around for almost a century. There have been countless moments in hockey history that have left the audience speechless, many of which have become legendary among hockey fans throughout the world. So let's get straight into the thick of the action and reminisce about these great sporting moments in NHL history.

Easter Epic

The "Easter Epic" between the New York Islanders and the Washington Capitals at the Cap Centre in Landover, Maryland, on April 18, 1987, was the longest seventh and deciding game in NHL playoff history. The teams were tied at 2-2 at the end of regulation. Then, after a fourth overtime, goalies Kelly Hrudey and Bob Mason battled it out until Pat LaFontaine's goal concluded the game at 68:47. Kelly Hrudey made an impressive 73 saves in the game, which is still an NHL playoff record. On Easter morning, the game ended at 1:58 a.m. ET, roughly six hours and 18 minutes after it began. It is still remembered as one of the most gruelling and fascinating playoff games ever played in the NHL.

A Rookie Move

Rookies aren't supposed to be in charge. Nevertheless, Teemu Selanne, the 10th overall pick in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft, did precisely that. Perhaps it was because he was a little older than the average greenhorn: after being selected, he returned to Finland to play for Jokerit, and by the time he arrived in North America before the 1992-93 season, he was 22 years old. Whatever the cause, Selanne and the Jets flourished with No. 13 at the helm. His explosive offensive abilities were instrumental in the Jets earning a playoff berth.

Selanne seemed incapable of making a mistake with the puck that season, as he lit up the scoreboard with 76 goals and 56 assists for a total of 132 points. Mike Bossy previously owned the rookie goal record with 53 with the 1977-78 New York Islanders. However, with more than a month remaining in the season, Selanne sneered at that statistic, scoring his 54th goal on March 2 against the Quebec Nordiques. He gave the world the legendary "machine gun" celebration after scoring his 54th goal, which completed one of his five hat tricks that season.

1942 Toronto Maple Leafs

The first and still only comeback from a 0-3 hole in Stanley Cup Final history was recapped by Toronto forward Syl Apps, whose words poured from the boisterous home dressing room at Maple Leaf Gardens after the fish and fists flew, the rookies stood up, and the fines came down. "By Jiminy!” he yelled out, according to the Canadian Press.

The 1942 Maple Leafs had stormed back against the Red Wings ten years after the franchise's previous title, while the war raged in the Pacific and European theatres. A pair of brothers, one of whom was called in to substitute duty before Game 4, was among the heroes, while 16,218 people witnessed the final Game 7, the highest Canadian crowd ever recorded. Before long, the event's improbability was being put into historical context. The Leafs appeared even more stunned at the time than the Red Wings.

Canadian First

People nowadays take it for granted that they can watch their favorite team play on television thanks to satellite and cable television and the NHL Center Ice package. That wasn't always the case, though. On October 11, 1952, the Montreal Forum hosted the first televised NHL game in Canada. Rene Lecavalier called the game as the Canadiens defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. Three weeks later, Foster Hewitt would make his first English-language broadcast. The crowd was tiny, but history was being made as Canadians were finally able to watch their heroes play from the comfort of their own homes.

51 And Out

Markus Mattsson, a Finnish goalie, let up Gretzky's first goal. On November 2, 1978, in his debut game as an Oiler, Gretzky scored 14 seconds into the second period. Gretzky had recently been bought from the Indianapolis Racers. They had been forced to sell the junior sensation owing to owner Nelson Skalbania's financial difficulties. More than five years later, Mattsson got his revenge on Wayne in the NHL. He was a goalie with the Los Angeles Kings at the time. On January 28, 1984, Mattson was in the nets for the game. Gretzky's remarkable 51-point scoring streak came to an end on that night.