Perhaps the most famous hockey game ever played took place on this date, as two Olympic tournaments had memorable days. On the National Hockey League stage, the 1980s provided us with plenty of big performances while a handful of netminders made their presence felt. Let’s take our daily trip back in time to look at the best moments Feb. 22 has had to offer us over the years.
Olympic Miracles & Memories
Feb. 22, 1980, is a date that many feel is one of the most important in the history of the sport. This was the date when the United States pulled off their “Miracle on Ice” by beating the Soviet Union 4-3 in the medal round of the Winter Olympics.
The USSR entered the tournament as the heavy favorites and winners of the last four gold medals in Olympic play. Head coach Herb Brooks led the youngest team in Olympic history, made up of mostly college players, into battle against a Russian team made up of veteran professionals. These two teams met at Madison Square Garden, just before the tournament started, with the Soviets cruising to a dominant 10-3 win.
The two sides traded goals in the first period to the first intermission tied at 2-2. Buzz Schneider scored first for the Americans before Mark Johnson tied the game with just one second left in the opening frame. In a surprising move, Soviet head coach Viktor Tikhonov pulled legendary goaltender Vladislav Tretiak and replaced him with backup Vladimir Myshkin. The move paid off initially, with the Russians outplaying the Americans and taking a 3-2 lead into the final frame.
Johnson struck again at the 8:39 mark of the third period, tying the game with a power-play goal. Exactly halfway through the frame, captain Mike Eruzione scored the most important goal in American hockey history by giving the U.S. a 4-3 lead. The young Americans hung on for the final 10 minutes and Al Michaels gave us one of the most memorable calls in sports history:
“Do you believe in miracles? YES!!!”
From that moment on, all American hockey fans became believers.
Exactly 18 years later, on Feb. 22, 1998, Russia lost another big Olympic game, but it wasn’t quite the major upset as before. This time, they lost the gold medal game to the Czech Republic 1-0. Just like in the previous five tournament games, goaltender Dominik Hasek was stellar by stopping all 20 shots he faced. Petr Svoboda scored the only goal of the game to give the Czech’s the gold. In six games, Hasek posted a remarkable 0.97 goals-against average and .961 save percentage.
The Awesome 80s
Just two days after each scoring six points, on Feb. 22, 1981, Anton and Peter Stastny upped the ante by each putting up eight points in the Quebec Nordiques’ 11-7 win at the Washington Capitals. Peter had four goals and four assists, while Anton scored three goals and assisted on five others. Each bother assisted on three of the other brother’s goals. They joined Maurice Richard, Bert Olmstead, Tom Bladon and Bryan Trottier as the only players to have an eight-point game.
On that same night, a pair of U.S.-born head coaches faced each other for the first time in NHL history. Larry Pleau’s Hartford Whalers beat Craig Patrick’s New York Rangers 6-5 in this historic game.
Marcel Dionne became the first player to score at least 40 goals in nine different seasons, on this date in 1983. He scored goal No. 40 in the Los Angeles Kings’ 5-3 win over the visiting Boston Bruins.
Wayne Gretzky scored four goals for the second straight night, on Feb. 22, 1984, as his 10th career hat trick led the Edmonton Oilers to a 9-2 win at the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Ray Bourque collected an assist for his 500th career point, on Feb. 22, 1986, as the Bruins beat the Oilers 6-5 in overtime. Keith Crowder was Boston’s offensive hero with his first career hat trick and two assists.
One year later, Mike Foligno reached the 500-point plateau with a goal and two assists in the Buffalo Sabres’ 5-3 win over the Whalers.
Brian Propp scored a goal and an added assist to give him 800 career points, as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Rangers 6-4.
Great Feats in Goaltending
Alec Connell’s record streak of six consecutive shutouts came to an end, on Feb. 22, 1928, when he allowed a goal to Duke Keats of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hall of Fame goaltender went an unreal 460:29 in between goals allowed. He gave up a second goal, but the Senators won the game 3-2.
Gerry Cheevers set an NHL record by extending his unbeaten streak to 24 games (18-0-6), on Feb. 22, 1972, in the Bruins’ 4-3 road win at the Vancouver Canucks. John McKenzie scored on his 200th career goal on this night.
Sean Burke picked up his 100th career victory, on Feb. 22, 1995, by making 42 saves in the Whalers’ 3-2 overtime victory against the Bruins.
Pekka Rinne became the 34th goaltender to win 300 NHL games, on Feb. 22, 2018, by leading the Nashville Predators to 7-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks.
Odds & Ends
On Feb. 22, 1964, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Rangers pulled off one of the bigger trades in league history. The Leafs defensemen Arnie Brown and Rod Seiling with forwards Bill Collins, Dick Duff and Bob Nevin to New York for forwards Andy Bathgate and Don McKenney. Bathgate and McKenney played big roles in the Maple Leafs’ Stanley Cup win later that spring. On Feb. 22, 2009, the 45th anniversary of this deal, the Rangers retired Bathgate’s No.9. He scored 272 goals and 729 points in 719 games before getting moved to Toronto.
John Bucyk became the first player in Bruins’ history to score a game winning-goal at 19:59 of the third period, on Feb. 22, 1968, when his last-second goal gave Boston a 3-2 win at the Detroit Red Wings.
Doug Gilmour set a new Maple Leafs’ team record with his 73rd assist of the season, on Feb. 22, 1993, during an 8-1 road win at the Canucks. He finished 1992-93 with 95 assists and 127 points, both of which are still single-season records in Toronto.
Teemu Selanne lit the lamp, on Feb. 22, 1997, in the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim’s 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. This made him the first player in NHL to score a goal against 24 different teams in one season.
John LeClair scored his 300th career NHL goal, on Feb. 22, 2000, in the Flyers 3-1 win over the visiting Blackhawks.
One year later, Dave Andreychuk became the 32nd player in NHL history to record 1,200 career points with his game-winning goal in the Sabres’ 1-0 win at the New Jersey Devils. Hasek earned his second straight shutout, which was also his eighth of the season and 53rd of his career.
Patrick Kane extended his point streak to 20 games with a goal, on Feb. 22, 2019, during the Blackhawks’ 5-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. This made him just the seventh player to have more than one point streak of at least 20 games in his career. He and five others did it twice, while Gretzky had seven.
Happy Birthday to You
Pat Lafontaine, who turns 56 today, is one of three Hall of Famers born on this date, joining the late Eddie Gerard and Sid Abel. Other notable players among the 29 other NHLers celebrating birthdays today include Tim Young (66), Joe Reekie (56), Dominic Roussel (51), Jason Marshall (50), Paul Postma (32), Curtis McKenzie (30), Nicolas Deslauriers (30), William Lagesson (25) and Ilya Samsonov (24).