January 19 — Willie O’Ree Night & the All-Star Game Legacy

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

HONORING A LEGEND: Last night, the Boston Bruins retired No. 22 in honor of Willie O’Ree, 64 years to the day since breaking the NHL color barrier. O’Ree made history on Jan. 18, 1958, becoming the first Black player to play in an NHL game when his Bruins visited the Montreal Canadiens. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018, O’Ree has inspired more than 130,000 boys and girls to learn the sport through the Hockey Is for Everyone initiative.

SHOW ME THE MONEY: On Tuesday, the Montreal Canadiens announced the hiring of Kent Hughes as their next general manager. Hughes, an NHL player agent out of Montreal, was representing Patrice Bergeron from the Boston Bruins, Kris Letang from the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Anthony Beauvillier from the New York Islanders—among others—before stepping away to take the GM position.

FINAL FOUR STARS: With the conclusion of the “Last Men In” vote on Monday evening, the NHL announced the final four players voted into the All-Star Game on Tuesday. Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning) will represent the Atlantic Division, Nazem Kadri (Colorado Avalanche) for the Central Division, and Troy Terry (Anaheim Ducks) the Pacific. Mika Zibanejad (New York Rangers) won the vote to represent the Metropolitan Division but cannot attend, so Jake Guentzel (Pittsburgh Penguins) will take his place after finishing second in the voting.

GAME RECAP: Eight games took place in the NHL last night, with two requiring overtime or a shootout to be decided. Carolina surged through Boston, spoiling Willie O’Ree’s banner ceremony, as six of the eight visiting teams skated away with victories.

Wild Card Watch

Eastern Conference

Last Week: Pittsburgh Penguins & Boston Bruins

Pittsburgh Penguins: Washington earned a win against the Winnipeg Jets last night, giving the Capitals a two-point lead over the Penguins, even after winning two games in a row. Pittsburgh is 8-2-0 in their past 10 games as forward Jake Guentzel leads the team with 20 goals and 38 points, including five game-winning goals.

Boston Bruins: The Bruins have safely been in a wild card spot for several weeks now but had their five-game winning streak snapped last night, suffering a 7-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Brad Marchand was the NHL’s first star of the week after earning 10 points (six goals, four assists) as 2022 has been very kind to Boston, winning eight of 10 games this month.

Team to Watch: Toronto Maple Leafs

Western Conference

Last Week: Minnesota Wild & San Jose Sharks

Minnesota Wild: Since our last check-in with the Wild, they played two games and earned three out of four possible points. Last Friday, they scored seven goals in a dominant win over the Anaheim Ducks, led by Mats Zuccarello’s three points (two goals, one assist) and goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen’s 39 saves. On Monday, the team traveled to Denver and suffered a 4-3 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

San Jose Sharks: For the second straight week, the Sharks find themselves in the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. They have a four-point lead over the Calgary Flames and are only one point behind the Anaheim Ducks for the third spot in the Pacific Division. San Jose played three games since our last check-in, only earning one regulation win thanks to Timo Meier’s explosive and history-setting performance.

Team to Watch: Anaheim Ducks

Five for Five

On Monday night, San Jose Sharks right winger Timo Meier scored five goals in a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings, setting a new Sharks franchise record. A player has recorded at least five goals in a game 59 times in NHL history (led by Joe Malone, who had a seven-goal outing in 1920 and scored at least five goals five times during his career), but it has only been done a handful of times since the turn of the 21st century. Here are the five players since 2000 who have found the back of the net five times in a single game.

Timo Meier (Jan. 17, 2022)

Meier started his scoring onslaught with a power-play goal 3:02 into the first period Monday. He then put in two rebounds in the span of 21 seconds late in that opening period to make it 4-0. He added another power-play tally 1:24 into the second period to push the lead to 5-1, then snapped home his fifth with 28 seconds left in the second.

Timo Meier (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

His 45 points (20 goals, 25 assists) are eighth-most, 10 behind league leader Alex Ovechkin, and following his record-setting performance, he is now only seven goals behind Ovechkin for the scoring race. At 21-17-2, San Jose is holding on to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, two points ahead of Calgary and four points behind Vegas at the top of the Pacific Division.

Mika Zibanejad (March 5, 2020)

Before Meier, New York Rangers center Zibanejad was the most recent player to score five times in a game. He accomplished the feat on March 5, 2020, against the Washington Capitals, and like Meier, he started with a power-play goal, knotting the game at one 9:01 into the first period. He gave the Rangers the lead 5:39 into the second, then gave them the lead two more times in the third, the second of which was with the man advantage.

Mika Zibanejad (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The game went into overtime, and Zibanejad’s fifth goal provided New York with the win 33 seconds after starting the extra frame. In 57 games that season, which was cut short due to COVID-19, he had career-highs in points (75) and goals (41). Zibanejad’s offensive outburst helped the Rangers finish the season 37-28-5, enough for the final Eastern Conference spot in the “Qualifying Round,” which they lost three games to one to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Patrik Laine (Nov. 24, 2018)

Laine, who now plays for the Columbus Blue Jackets, was a 20-year-old scoring sensation for the Winnipeg Jets when he found the net five times on Nov. 24, 2018, against the St. Louis Blues. He put the Jets up 2-1 16:26 into the first period, then up 3-2 on a power-play goal 1:41 into the second. He added three consecutive goals late in the second and early in the third period of a game the Jets won 8-4.

Patrik Laine (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

That five-goal game gave Laine 19 goals, which was tops in the league at the time. He ultimately lost steam, finishing the season with 30 goals and 20 assists for 50 points in 82 games, career-lows for the third-year winger. Although his numbers weren’t as strong as his prior two seasons, Laine did help his team make the playoffs. Winnipeg finished 47-30-5, good for second place in the Central Division, although the Jets didn’t make it out of the first round, losing to St. Louis in six games.

Johan Franzén (Feb. 2, 2011)

Franzén, who played 11 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings before retiring in 2016, had a night to remember on Feb. 2, 2011, scoring the Red Wings’ first two goals and their last three in a 7-5 win over the Ottawa Senators. After the first two came within a minute of each other in the first period, Franzén had to wait to complete his hat trick with a power-play tally 30 seconds into the third. Another power-play goal put Detroit up 6-5 with 12:50 remaining in the final stanza before he finished off his five-goal night with an empty-netter in the last minute of play.

Johan Franzén (Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr)

Franzén and the Red Wings, who had won the Stanley Cup three years earlier, made the playoffs with a record of 47-25-10. They lost their second-round matchup against the Sharks in seven games.

Marián Gáborík (Dec. 20, 2007)

The first player to record a five-goal game in the 2000s was Gáborík, who did it almost eight years after the turn of the century. A long-time NHL veteran, who began his career in 2000 and played until 2018, scored five of the Minnesota Wild’s six goals in a 6-3 win over the New York Rangers on Dec. 20, 2007.

Marian Gaborik, Minnesota Wild (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Gáborík finished the season with 42 goals and 83 points. It was the highest single-season goal total of his career, which he matched two years later. With a record of 44-28-10 that season, the Wild finished first in the Northwest Division. However, Gáborík didn’t make it past the first round of that postseason, as Minnesota was upset by the Colorado Avalanche in six games.

Hockey Is Crazy – The Ace Bailey Charity Game

With the forthcoming All-Star Weekend top of mind, let’s look back at the inaugural exhibition game that ultimately brought this whole annual all-star thing to life. Here’s how a brutal, vicious check ended a Hall of Fame career but launched the All-Star Game:

The Hit

On Dec. 12, 1933, Boston Bruins tough guy Eddie Shore got hit hard by King Clancy of the Toronto Maple Leafs and retaliated by charging hard at Ace Bailey, the closest Toronto skater he saw. The brutal, blindside hit caused a fractured skull and two emergency brain surgeries. Though the surgeries were successful, Bailey’s career was over at age 30.

Ace Bailey, Toronto Maple Leafs (Inconnu – Wikimedia Public domain)

The Fallout – Bad

For his part, Shore earned his own trip to the hospital, courtesy of a knockout punch by Red Horner, as well as a 16-game suspension. It could’ve been worse after Bailey’s father, having listened to Foster Hewitt’s radio call of the game, immediately got on a train to Boston with a pistol in hand in search of Shore. Luckily, Toronto general manager Conn Smythe intercepted the elder Bailey and plied him with alcohol until being rendered harmless.

The Fallout – Good

When it came to Bailey’s recovery and life after hockey, some of his fellow NHLers gathered to devise a charity game that pitted the Leafs against a collection of top players around the league. Resulting in a 7-3 win for Toronto, the teams raised more than $20,000 for Bailey, who was on hand for the ceremonial puck-drop. Incredibly, Shore took part in the exhibition, drawing an ovation from the Maple Leaf Gardens crowd when he shook hands with Bailey in their first meeting since the hit.

Eddie Shore (THW Archives)

The Legacy

Two more similar games benefiting injured players Howie Morenz and Babe Siebert happened over the next five years. By 1947, the game became an annual tradition, existing in some form in all but seven seasons since.

No, the NHL’s mid-season exhibition no longer serves to support injured players—given their current salaries, they can handle that themselves. However, the impressive collection of top-level talent remains. And to think, we have a career-ending hit and a player-organized benefit game to thank.

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