October 12th, with the NHL season still fresh, has proven a night of numbers for the league. In 1980, a forward scored the 100,000th goal. Eleven years later, in 1991, all of the league’s teams played each other on the same night.
When NHL teams first played, on December 19, 1917, the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 7-4 while the Montreal Wanderers beat the Toronto Arenas 10-9. With a start like this, surprisingly, it took 64 more seasons before the NHL reached its 100,000th goal. With 14 seconds left in a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Philadelphia Flyers, Wilf Paiement shot the historic goal into the Flyers’ empty net bringing the score to 4-2. In this, his second season with the Leafs, Paiement would go on to score 40 goals, enough for a personal best and to tie for 17th place among the season’s score leaders.
The first game day of the NHL had all four teams playing each other. In its 75th season, the league had grown to 22 teams, and on October 12, 1991, they all played each other in eleven games. Seven of the home teams won, one tied, and four lost to the visiting teams.
The scores that night shook out as:
- Montreal Canadiens vs Boston Bruins (home) 6-0
- Edmonton Oilers (home) vs Calgary Flames 3-1
- Hartford Whalers (home) vs New York Rangers 5-2
- Winnipeg Jets vs Los Angeles Kings (home) 3-3
- Minnesota North Stars (home) vs Detroit Red Wings 3-2
- New Jersey Devils (home) vs Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1
- New York Islanders (home) vs Philadelphia Flyers 5-4
- Buffalo Sabres vs Quebec Nordiques (home) 5-4
- St. Louis Blues (home) vs. San Jose Sharks 6-3
- Vancouver Canucks vs Toronto Maple Leafs (home) 2-1
- Chicago Blackhawks (home) vs Washington Capitals 7-2
The very next October saw two additional teams added (Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning), and the one after that another two (Florida Panthers and Mighty Ducks). By 2000, the NHL had grown to 30 teams, and on October 5, 2005, they would once again all play each other.