Nov. 25 has been one heck of an eventful date in National Hockey League history. Two of the greatest goal-scorers to ever play the game had memorable hat tricks while numerous goaltenders stole the show. Also, fans and Detroit and Pittsburgh had plenty to cheer about, and a hero made his emotional return to the Big Apple.
A Pair of Special Hat Tricks
Wayne Gretzky’s 1981-82 season was one for the ages as he went from being a star to becoming a legend. He scored 92 goals, 120 assists, and 212 points, all of which were NHL records. He eventually broke his own assist and point records, but the 92-goal season is still the best in league history.
On Nov. 25, 1981, he scored four goals and added an assist in the Edmonton Oilers’ 11-4 beating of the Los Angeles Kings. This was Gretzky’s second hat trick of the season and eighth of his career. It gave him 28 goals through the first 24 games. He went on to set another NHL record with 10 hat tricks on the season. He broke the record of nine, set by Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders the previous season. Gretzky matched his record when he scored another 10 hat tricks in 1983-84.
Another one of the NHL’s all-time greatest goal-scorers, Alex Ovechkin, had a very memorable hat trick on this date. Before the Washington Capitals’ game at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 25, 2017, he met a big fan, 13-year-old cancer patient Alex Luey. He told the young man that if he scored a goal that night, it would be for him.
Ovechkin not only scored a goal for his new friend; he scored his 20th career hat trick in a 4-2 win over the Maple Leafs. He had Luey come down to the visiting locker room after the victory to celebrate with the team.
In addition to making special memories for Luey and his family, Ovechkin became the 16th player in league history to score at least 20 career hat tricks. He also passed Bossy for 21st on the all-time goals list with 574.
A Great Day for Goaltending
There must have been something in the air on this date because there is a long list of great goaltenders who had memorable performances on it through the years.
Lorne Chabot picked up his third consecutive shutout on Nov. 25, 1933, in the Montreal Canadiens’ 1-0 victory in Toronto. This was the 57th shutout of his career. He retired with 71, which are tied with Harry Lumley for the 12th-most in NHL history.
On Nov. 25, 1951, Chicago Blackhawks…