Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sure Could Have Fooled Me!

Austin Matthews scored four goals in his first NHL. Wayne Gretzky had to wait until his tenth game to collect his fourth NHL goal. And twelve to get to five. Austin is ahead of The Great One's pace his first NHL season! For now.

Gretzky came into the NHL in 1979/80 with the Edmonton Oilers, and his first game was against the Chicago Blackhawks on October 10th, 1979. Right there at the old stadium. Chicago was no pushovers. Stan Mikita was there for his 22nd NHL season. Doug Wilson was coming into his own. The Hawks also boasted Tom Lysiak, centre Terry Ruskowski, still another middle man. And still a tremendous force in the Hawks net was veteran Tony Esposito, now 36 years old, but still capable of turning everything thrown at him away.

Tony didn't quite do that in this game, played at home. Chicago showed these new upstarts (The Edmonton Oilers had come over from the rival WHA after the previous season) that this was the big time. They took an early 2-0 lead in the opening stanza on goals by John Marks and Rich Preston. Edmonton came back before the period was over, however. Kevin Lowe (From Gretzky) and Dave Hunter, tied it. Ultimately, it was Marks' second tally of the period that proved to be the game winner. Edmonton lost, 4-2.

The Oilers then lost their home opener to the Red Wings despite a Gretzky assist. His first goal game in his third game vs. Vancouver. Three assists, but no goals, followed against Quebec, and The Great One had clearly arrived. His second goal (And still another assist) gave him a two point night vs. Minnesota in game number five. The next four games Gretzky was shutout in the goal department. And then he missed a game. Are you ready for two goals?

The New York Islanders were going to win their first of four in a row in 1979/80, but first they tasted Wayne Gretzky's wrath. He tallied twice and added an assist for good measure as the Oilers won, 7-5. The Boston Bruins kept Gretzky at four goals after eleven games. It could only go on for so long, as The Great One scored in his next game against Detroit for his fifth. He'd add 46 more in 68 games to finish with 51 red lights and 86 assists, tying Marcel Dionne for the league lead. Dionner, however, had more goals and was awarded the Art Ross Trophy.

Flash forward 37 years later after Gretzky played in Chicago. Austin Matthews was right there in Ottawa, with Toronto. Battle of Ontario it sure was. Matthews put four goals behind the Senators' goalie Craig Anderson, but it wasn't enough. Craig just seemed to get better as the game went on, and his team stayed right with the Leafs, pushing it to overtime. There, Kyle Turris, who'd scored in the third to tie the contest at four, scored again to win it for the home team. The dazzling Sens defenceman Erik Karlsson, picking up from where he left off last year, had three points of his own. The Leafs played well, out-shooting the Senators 38-30, but Anderson made many crucial stops despite the brilliance of Matthews.

"The information used herein was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by The Hockey Summary Project. For more information about the Hockey Summary Project please visit:



Dryden, Steve. Total Gretzky: The Magic, The Legend, The Numbers. Toronto, Ont.: McClelland & Stewart, 1999. Print. pp. 128-129.

Hockey Summary Project. 10 Jan. 2001. Web. 16 Oct. 2016. <>

"Official Site Of The National Hockey League." The National Hockey League, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2016. <>

No comments:

Post a Comment