NHL History

February 5: This Day in NHL History

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Feb. 5 NHL History

1980: Gordie Howe receives one of the greatest spontaneous ovations ever given in sports when he steps onto the ice for the NHL All-Star Game at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

The crowd of 21,002, the largest to see an NHL game at that time, stands as one when Howe is the final player to be introduced. The ovation lasts for four minutes, with fans chanting “Gordie, Gordie,” and continues to roar until the singers for the national anthems are introduced.

It’s Howe’s 23rd and final All-Star Game, but the first when he represents a team other than the Red Wings. He retires in 1971 but makes a comeback two years later with the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association. Howe plays six seasons in the WHA, the final two with the Hartford Whalers, and returns to the NHL when the Whalers are one of four teams that join the NHL in 1979.

Howe doesn’t score, but steals the puck and sets up the final goal of the game, by Real Cloutier, in the Wales Conference’s 6-3 win against the Campbell Conference.

The game also signals the changing of the guard in the League: The Campbell Conference includes a 19-year-old center named Wayne Gretzky who grows up idolizing Howe and goes on to break most of his offensive records.

1989: Steve Yzerman reaches the 50-goal mark for the second straight season when he scores twice in Detroit’s 6-2 road win against the Winnipeg Jets. After scoring exactly 50 goals in 1987-88, Yzerman finishes the 1988-89 season with an NHL career-high 65.

1991: Dave Taylor has two assists in the Los Angeles Kings’ 3-2 victory against the Flyers at the Spectrum to become the 29th NHL player to reach 1,000 points. The milestone comes in Taylor’s 930th NHL game.

1994: Peter Bondra scores four goals on four shots in a span of 4:12 during the first period of the Washington Capitals’ 6-3 win against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning. Bondra sets an NHL record for fastest four goals by one player. He scores his fifth goal of the game at 19:30 of the second period.

1997: Ron Francis becomes the second player in NHL history to have 500 or more points with two teams. Francis has two assists in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 6-3 road win against the Montreal Canadiens, giving him 500 points with the Penguins. Francis comes to the Penguins after earning 821 points with the Hartford Whalers.

1999: Patrick Roy, 33, becomes the youngest goalie in NHL history to earn 400 victories when he makes 26 saves in the Colorado Avalanche’s 3-1 win against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. It’s the 10th win in a row for Roy and the 11th straight for the Avalanche.

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