If Bryan Trottier wrote this post, he would be so humble that readers might not realize his achievements. The center said once, “Right from the start, I just wanted to contribute somehow, whether it was by bumping somebody, making a pass or scoring a goal. I liked to earn my pay every day.” At Nassau Coliseum on February 13 eight years apart, Trottier’s goals were definitely worth bragging about and came in multiples of five.
In 1982, the New York Islanders were on their way to the Stanley Cup championship for their third of four straight victories. Trottier played in all four of them. On February 13, before the regular season ended, Trottier set a NHL record for number of goals in one period and tied the Islanders’ record for most in one game. Records really had not been kept by the period, but Ron Andres, the NHL’s director of information and statistics, said a record had been set.
The game started at 5 p.m., earlier than usual, to allow the Islanders to leave for another game. Only 66 seconds later, rookie Brent Sutter scored the first Islanders’ goal. Trottier followed that during a power play. As his teammate left the penalty box, he passed the puck to Mike Bossy “who deked a Flyer defenseman and ripped the puck off the right post. It caromed out to Trottier, who tipped it past Peeters at 9:02.”
Then came the third period. Among the Philadelphia Flyers opposing the Islanders was Darryl Sittler, who (when playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs) had set a modern record for goals in one game. He (and everyone else) could not help noticing Trottier. “In the third period I knew he’d have a shot at [beating the record]. It was one of those games where the puck came to Bryan. He was in the right place at the right time. I was thinking about the night I had the six goals and four assists. This reminded me of the way things went for me.”
Trottier’s spree began at 1:04 during another power play. The New York Daily News reported, “Bossy took a swipe at the loose puck. Trottier got the rebound and chipped it in.” Near the middle of the period, the Islanders enjoyed and took advantage of 1:37 of five-on-three. Trottier earned his third hat trick of the season and eleventh of his career when “Bossy backhanded the puck toward the net and the 25-year-old center tapped it in.” Then, according to the recap, “Bossy slipped a pass through the crease that went past two Flyers before Trottier, standing unguarded at the right post, knocked the puck into the net.” To finish off the game, at 18:32, Trottier scored his only goal of the night while at even strength. Again, Bossy “stole a rebound” and “backhanded the puck to Trottier.”
Trottier had scored four goals in one period and five in the game. His first four goals were during power plays. “Right place, right time,” commented the humble Trottier. “A lot of the goals were the result of hard work by the other players. We should have had more goals. We would have, if I’d passed the puck better.” While Bossy had not had any luck scoring his own goals, he certainly passed. He assisted on all four of Trottier’s third-period goals to set his own record. The Islanders defeated the Flyers 8-2 and extended their winning streak to eleven games.
In 1990, Trottier was playing in his second-to-last of 15 seasons with the New York Islanders and was the last active player remaining from the Stanley Cup streak. On February 13, the 15,011 fans witnessed the Islanders’ 4-2 loss to the Calgary Flames. However, they were also able to celebrate Trottier’s 500th goal. Trottier was the 15th NHL player to score 500 goals and the second for the Islanders, after Bossy.
Almost halfway through the game, Pat LaFontaine kept feeding the puck to Trottier until they succeeded. The first pass and shot was blocked by Rick Wamsley. The puck came back out and LaFontaine passed to Gary Nylund whose shot also failed. When the puck bounced off to the side, LaFontaine again sent it over to Trottier. According to the Daily News, “He took one swing, then poked his own rebound through Wamsley’s legs at 9:57.” Trottier himself described the sequence, “Pat LaFontaine made a great play to set me up, but I handcuffed myself the first time. But Pat got the puck back to Gary Nylund, who pounded it. Wamsley got a piece of it, I poked at it and the second time I got it.” Having given up the goal, Wamsley did not feel too bad. “Even though you’re down 1-0, it’s one of those special moments in sports. You can kind of be happy for him. You like to see good people succeed.”
Immediately, recapped the Daily News, the “new multi-million dollar scoreboard flashed a big 500, the fans gave their hero a standing ovation, and GM Bill Torrey got up from his seat in a skybox with a clenched fist in the air.” His coach made Trottier stand for a curtain call. As predicted, Trottier commented, “It was kind of embarrassing. It was humbling in a way at the same time. Their feelings for me are no different than mine for them. It’s a very special relationship.” He continued, “It was very, very special and the reaction was fantastic. It’s something I will always treasure and now I have to go out and get 501.” Instead, the celebration slowed the Islanders’ momentum and less than a minute later, the Flames tied up.
After one more season with the Islanders, Trottier signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Immediately, they won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships (in 1991 and 1992). Trottier retired in 1994 having played 1279 games (524G, 901A, 1425P). He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame the requisite three years later.
- Mary Flannery, “Trottier’s 5 goals demolish Flyers for Isles 11th in row,” New York Daily News, 14 Feb. 1982, p. 108.
- Larry Weisman, “Trottier scores 5 in Isles rout,” White Plains Journal News, 14 Feb. 1982, p. D1.
- Sam Marchiano, “Trot’s 500th up in Flames,” New York Daily News, 14 Feb. 1990, p. 53.
- John Kreiser, “Trottier scores 500th goal but Calgary trips Isles, 4-2,” White Plains Journal News, 14 Feb. 1990, p. D4.