Today in Hockey History: Nov. 2
Both the “Great One” and “Mr. Hockey” had multiple memories on Nov. 2. Plus, there were plenty of monumental wins, personal milestones reached, and even a handful of big trades made on this date in NHL history. The THW time machine is fired up and ready to take us back through the decades to relive all the best this date has given us.
Gretzky Comes to Edmonton
The Edmonton Oilers changed the future of their franchise on Nov. 2, 1978, when they acquired Wayne Gretzky. While still in the World Hockey Association (WHA), the Oilers purchased the contracts of Gretzky, goaltender Eddie Mio and forward Peter Driscoll from the Indianapolis Racers, who were having major financial struggles at the time.
Gretzky finished his one and only WHA season with 46 goals and 110 points. He and the Oilers were one of four teams to merge with the NHL in 1979 when the league folded. Edmonton made a wise move and protected Gretzky from the dispersal draft, and they eventually built a dynasty around him.
Five years later, on Nov. 2, 1983, Gretzky had one of his many big nights for the Oilers as he scored twice and added three assists in an 11-3 win against the visiting Washington Capitals.
Howe Proves Age is Just a Number
Legend Gordie Howe was able to rewrite the NHL record book not only because of his talent but also because of his longevity. His professional career began as a teenager in 1946 and continued until he retired for good at age 52 in 1980.
On Nov. 2, 1969, Howe scored the 19th and final hat trick of his NHL career to lead the Detroit Red Wings past the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3. He became the oldest player to ever score a hat trick at the ripe age of 41.
In his final NHL season with the Hartford Whalers, on Nov. 2, 1979, Howe scored two goals and added an assist in a 5-3 win against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, at the age of 51. He played in 80 games during the 1979-80 season and scored 15 goals and 41 points.
Franchise Streaks and Milestones
The Montreal Canadiens began a team-record 13-game home winning streak on Nov. 2, 1943, with a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers. Rookie goaltender Bill Durnan won his second straight game on his way to an NHL-record 12-0-2 start to his career.
The Philadelphia Flyers recorded their 500th win in team history on Nov. 2, 1980, with a 4-2 victory over the visiting Boston Bruins. The win came at a time when no other expansion team had even reached the 400-victory plateau.
The New York Islanders had their 30-game regular-season unbeaten streak end on Nov. 2, 1982, when they lost on home ice 3-1 to the Penguins. They went an incredible 28-0-2 during their point streak.
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On Nov. 2, 1989, the Boston Bruins became the second NHL team to win 2,000 games, when they beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 in overtime. Cam Neely led the scoring with two goals and an assist as the Bruins extended their home undefeated streak versus the Kings to 13 straight games (12-0-1). Larry Robinson scored his first goal for the Kings in the losing effort. This tied him with former Bruin Brad Park for third on the all-time scoring list for defensemen with 896 points.
The New Jersey Devils played their 800th home game, on Nov. 2, 2002, and beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1. The victory improved the Devils’ all-time home record to 418-294-88.
Goaltender Carey Price picked up his 37th career shutout on Nov. 2, 2016, in the Canadiens’ 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Montreal’s eighth straight victory improved their start to 9-0-1 as they remained the only team without a regulation loss on the season.
The Islanders beat the Buffalo Sabres 1-0 on Nov. 2, 2019, to extend their winning streak to nine games. This was their longest such streak since the 1989-90 season. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov stopped all 27 shots he faced while Derick Brassard scored the only goal of the night.
Personal Milestones Hit
On Nov. 2, 1950, Roy Conacher scored to become the 19th player in NHL history to score 200 career goals in a 5-2 Blackhawks’ win against the visiting Bruins.
Rick Kehoe became the second player in Penguins’ franchise history to score 300 goals on Nov. 2, 1983, in a 6-3 road win at the Winnipeg Jets. His 312 goals still have him in sixth place on the all-time Pittsburgh goal list.
Nov. 2, 1991, was a huge night as three Hockey Hall of Famers hit personal milestones. First, Mario Lemieux scored two goals and added an assist in the Penguins’ 6-5 loss to the Whalers to reach 900 points in his career. Dino Ciccarelli hit the 800-point plateau with a goal and two assists during the Capitals’ 7-4 victory versus the Islanders. Finally, Luc Robitaille became the fifth player in Kings’ franchise history to score 250 goals with the team. He had a pair of goals and an assist in a 5-2 win at the Maple Leafs.
John MacLean became the first player to score 600 points as a member of the Devils on Nov. 2, 1995, in a 3-3 tie at the San Jose Sharks. His 701 career points are second all-time in franchise history behind Patrik Elias, who finished with 1,025.
On Nov. 2, 2000, Mike Keenan became just the fifth coach in NHL history to be behind the bench for 1,000 games. Jason Allison had two goals and a pair of assists to lead Keenan’s Bruins to a 5-4 win over the Blackhawks.
Ed Belfour became the Dallas Stars’ all-time leader in career shutouts on Nov. 2, 2001, in a 3-0 blanking of the visiting Nashville Predators. This was his 27th shutout with the team, breaking the previous mark of 26 set by Cesare Maniago while the franchise was in Minnesota.
Niklas Backstrom replaced an injured Manny Fernandez on Nov. 2, 2006, and led the Minnesota Wild to a 5-2 victory over the Canucks. Backstrom became the first goaltender in the modern era to win two games before making his first career start.
Nov. 2, 2021, was a night of games-played milestones as TJ Brodie and Pierre Engvall of the Toronto Maple Leafs played their 700th and 100th respectively, and Mikael Granlund of the Nashville Predators and Sean Monahan of the Calgary Flames played their 600th.
Adam Fox scored his 100th point in his 135th game on Nov. 2, 2021, as his Rangers lost to the Canucks 3-2 in overtime. Among defensemen to debut with the franchise, only Brian Leetch (102 games) and Sergei Zubov (108) reached that milestone in fewer games.
Finally, rookie Ryan Merkley logged a milestone of his own on this night in 2021 by scoring his first NHL goal in only his second game. He did it in a win too, as the Sharks prevailed over the Sabres 5-3.
A Big Date for Trades
You usually don’t see too many significant trades during the month of November, but that was not the case on this date.
In one of hockey’s biggest trades, on Nov. 2, 1947, the Blackhawks traded forwards Max Bentley and Cy Thomas to the Maple Leafs in exchange for forwards Gus Bodnar, Bud Poile, Gaye Stewart, and defensemen Bob Goldham and Ernie Dickens. Bentley had been the NHL’s leading scoring in each of the two previous seasons. He scored 122 goals and 256 points and won three Stanley Cups over the next six seasons in Toronto.
The Oilers traded center Jimmy Carson and winger Kevin McClelland to the Red Wings for forwards Petr Klima, Joe Murphy, and Adam Graves and defenseman Jeff Sharples. Carson was the big piece in the return of the infamous Gretzky trade to the Kings in 1988.
On Nov. 2, 1993, the Blackhawks traded forward Steve Larmer and defenseman Bryan Marchment to the Whalers in exchange for blueliner Eric Weinrich and center Patrick Poulin. Larmer was then traded by Hartford, along with winger Nick Kypreos, defenseman Barry Richter and a sixth-round draft pick to the Rangers for center Darren Turcotte and defenseman James Patrick.
Odds & Ends
The “new” Forum in Montreal opened on this date in 1968, after the building had extensive remodeling done to it. The Canadiens liked their new digs as they beat the visiting Red Wings 2-1, with Jean Beliveau scoring the first goal early in the game.
Ralph Backstrom set a Kings’ record for the fastest two goals by a player on Nov. 2, 1972, by scoring six seconds apart in the third period of a 5-2 win over the Bruins. It was the Kings’ sixth straight win, also a new team record.
On Nov. 2, 1975, goaltender Ed Giacomin played in his first game at Madison Square Garden just two days after being claimed off of waivers by the Red Wings. He had played in 539 games for the Rangers over the previous 11 seasons. He made 42 saves to lead his new team to a 6-4 win over his former mates, while the New York fans chanted his name.
Dennis Maruk scored all four Cleveland Barons goals on Nov. 2, 1977, in a 4-4 tie with the St. Louis Blues. He became just the fourth player in league history to account for all his team’s offense in a game with four or more goals scored.
The Kings set yet another team record on Nov. 2, 1985, when they scored their fastest five goals ever, within a span of 5:37 of the third period, in an 8-1 blowout of the Whalers.
On that same night, the Devils had their biggest comeback in team history. They entered the third period down 4-0 to the Rangers before scoring five goals to force overtime. Mel Bridgman gave the Devils a 6-5 victory by scoring in the extra time. Pete McNab was the offensive hero with two goals and two assists for New Jersey.
Daniel Alfredsson scored the first of his eight-career regular-season hat tricks on Nov. 2, 1995, to lead the Ottawa Senators past the Whalers 6-0. Goaltender Don Beaupre made 41 saves to record the 17th shutout of his career.
On Nov. 2, 1996, the Colorado Avalanche and Buffalo Sabres skated to a 0-0 tie as two legendary goaltenders stole the show. Patrick Roy picked up the 33rd shutout of his career, while Dominik Hasek became the Sabres’ all-time leader in shutouts with 15.
Teemu Selanne extended his team-record goal-scoring streak to seven straight games on Nov. 2, 1997, in the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim’s 4-3 loss at Detroit. He scored in four more consecutive games before his streak was snapped.
The Avalanche retired defenseman Adam Foote’s No. 52 on Nov. 2, 2013, before their game against the Canadiens. Foote played in 967 games with the Quebec Nordiques and Avalanche over 17 seasons. He was a part of both of the franchise’s Stanley Cup wins in 1996 and 2001. Colorado scored three third-period goals to beat Montreal that night.
On that same night, the Canucks retired Pavel Bure’s No. 10 before their 4-0 win over the Maple Leafs. Bure played the first 428 games of his Hall of Fame career with Vancouver. He is fifth all-time in franchise history with 245 goals and seventh with 478 points.
The Jets beat the Blackhawks on Nov. 2, 2014, 1-0 at the United Center. Michael Frolik scored the game’s only goal just 20 seconds after the opening draw. This set the NHL record for the earliest goal scored in a game with a 1-0 final score.
Auston Matthews became just the fourth player in league history to be awarded two penalty shots in the same game on Nov. 2, 2017. He scored on his first attempt but missed on the second in the Maple Leafs’ 5-3 loss at the Kings. Max Pacioretty (2014), Erik Cole (2005), and Mud Bruneteau (1938) are the only other players with two penalty shots in one game.
Two years later, Matthews and the Maple Leafs had their longest shootout in franchise history. Andreas Johnsson scored in the 11th round to give Toronto a 4-3 win over the Flyers. Goaltender Frederik Andersen stopped 10 out of the 11 attempts he faced.
Happy Birthday to You
A total of 20 current and former NHL players call Nov. 2 their birthday. Among the most notable of the lot are Rick Meagher (69), Jason Smith (49), Ruslan Salei (48), Matt Cullen (46), Luke Schenn (33), Filip Hronek (25), and the late Hall of Famer Bill Mosienko.
*Originally constructed by Greg Boysen
Matthew Zator is the assistant managing editor at THW and a writer who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.
Matthew also hosts The Hockey Writers Prospect Corner on YouTube and is the co-host of The Hockey Writers Podcast & Western Centric Podcast.