men playing ice hockey on ice stadium

Game-Changing Plays in National Hockey League History

After the Montreal Arena fire and two Western Professional Leagues collapsing, the NHL consolidated talent into one premier league. One of these new teams was Boston Bruins whose players took to calling themselves Maroons after their sweater color.

Frank Selke wasn’t pleased when the NHL adopted a rule making power plays easier to score on, believing it to be designed as punishment against his team’s impressive lineup of future Hall-of-Famers such as Sid Abel, Ted Lindsay and Gordie Howe – three players whom Selke considered future Hall-of-Famers who could help power it to success.

1. Jean Beliveau’s hat trick against the Boston Bruins

Jean Beliveau was one of the greatest offensive players in hockey history. With speed, skill, and determination as his hallmark traits, Beliveau became one of its superstars. His three goal performance against the Boston Bruins in November 1955 remains one of its most incredible in NHL history; setting a record for most goals scored in one period as well.

Beliveau took immediate advantage of a power play opportunity created when Cal Gardner took a minor penalty and one-timed Bobby Orr’s dump-in into an open net for a goal that began the Habs’ offensive comeback early in the second period.

Beliveau scored his second goal shortly thereafter by picking up a loose puck and beating Terry Sawchuk, who was obscured by Bruins defensemen. It marked Beliveau’s first of three four goal games this season.

Soon thereafter, the Bruins again took advantage of their power play when Ted Green and Bob Plager got into an intense two-minute fight, leading to both players receiving five minute suspensions as the benches cleared out.

In the third period, Boston managed to keep pace with Montreal. Johnny Bucyk, Ken Hodge and Ed Westfall scored to give them a 3-1 lead for Boston.

However, the Habs fought back hard with an impressive late charge. When Gump Worsley was pulled for an extra attacker in the final minute of play, Serge Savard tied it by shoveling a puck past Gerry Cheevers for an equaliser.

Beliveau scored three goals during that one period and set an unprecedented mark that stood for over 20 years – until Detroit’s Bill Mosienko broke it with four goals scored against Chicago Black Hawks in 2 minutes 52 seconds in 2010.

2. Wayne Gretzky’s hat trick against the Vancouver Canucks

The National Hockey League (NHL) is one of the world’s premier professional sports leagues, famous for its fast-paced action and physical play, boasting some of the world’s greatest athletes such as Wayne Gretzky. While debate rages on over who should be considered one of all time players across different sports, Gretzky typically holds this title in hockey; having spent 20 seasons across four teams he won nine Hart Memorial Trophies, two Conn Smythe Trophies, four Stanley Cups and more goals than anyone else ever in history!

On Jan. 19, 1996, one of Gretzky’s most memorable career moments came when he scored his 500th goal against Vancouver Canucks – making him the fastest player to do so – giving Edmonton Oilers a 5-2 win and becoming an iconic figure himself in doing so. Mike Modano and Jaromir Jagr assisted on it – it not only marked an important personal accomplishment for Gretzky himself but was an important landmark for their franchise as a whole.

Gretzky had an extraordinary talent for scoring goals, scoring multiple hat tricks during his NHL career. He excelled particularly against the Canucks, scoring eight total goals against them during that span and recording more than one hat trick against them each season with the Oilers; even having two back-to-back hat tricks against them during 2008-09.

On Tuesday night, Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin overtook Wayne Gretzky as the leader for most road goals in NHL history. Ovechkin scored twice during the first period against Vancouver Canucks before scoring another one during the second. John Carlson and Martin Fehervary also found the back of the net for Washington while Darcy Kuemper saved 31 shots from being attempted against them.

3. Owen Nolan’s hat trick against Dominik Hasek

The NHL All Star Game can often be as mindless and boring as bingo at a retirement home, with its best players turning it into an elaborate pond hockey match without much defense or tactics. When the San Jose Sharks hosted it in 1997, however, local fans got more out of it thanks to Owen Nolan and his “called shot”.

Nolan wanted his hometown fans at SAP Center to have an unforgettable All-Star Game experience and promptly scored two goals within eight seconds after the first period ended off passes from Tony Amonte and Theo Fleury for two consecutive goals within eight seconds of each other, cutting Eastern Conference lead down to 10-5.

Nolan scored his hat trick late in the third period when on a shorthanded breakaway he skated past goaltender Alex Stalock who had already foiled two attempts from point blank range. With less than one minute remaining in the period and the Western Conference trailing 11-6, Nolan broke in on Dominik Hasek and used his stick to draw an arc around him before pointing towards the top corner and scoring his third All-Star Game goal.

Nolan’s iconic shot was inspired by Babe Ruth’s iconic 1932 World Series “called shot”, one of the most celebrated moments in baseball history. However, Nolan’s was unique because it marked the first time ever that an NHL player attempted to mimic Babe Ruth – setting an all-star game aside from just an exhibition of skill!

4. The Detroit Red Wings’ 15 to 0 thrashing of the New York Rangers

No game in NHL history could match up to Detroit Red Wings’ dramatic victory against New York Rangers in January 1944 – one of its most one-sided performances ever and also marking the first time ever that any team scored 15 goals in one matchup. Syd Howe led his teammates with three goals on an historic night as they directed 58 shots at Rangers goaltender Mike McAuley for scoring opportunities all night long.

At this point in its North American expansion, the NHL was still finding its footing. Charles Adams of Boston became its inaugural franchise owner and began buying talent from financially troubled Western pro clubs to bring into Boston. Additionally, he brought on future Hall-of-Famer Al Cooper as coach to help develop this young franchise into championship contender.

Early NHL was characterized by violent fights. Over time, however, it became evident that changes needed to be made and rules reinforced to stop violence from spiraling out of control. After nearly 10 years had passed since that decision had been taken by the league to adopt several changes, changes finally happened and were accepted into play.

These changes, among several others, made it more difficult for enforcers to become involved in fights and decreased the amount of physical punishment that could be doled out against players. Furthermore, the league began encouraging a faster, more exciting style of play; though this did not completely eliminate enforcers, its implementation began a downward trend that continues today.

5. The Oilers’ 13-0 thrashing of the Vancouver Canucks

Hockey has undergone dramatic change throughout its history just like any other game did (including slots as per Yoakim Bridge), not only with equipment advancement but also through rule changes. Prior to recently, goalies instinctively positioned themselves in an “open” style which left them exposed to having pucks hit them directly in their face without protection. Teams with an advantage could freely shoot the puck down the ice; players could intentionally “ice” opposing team goalies which led to some unusual fight scenes such as this one (pictured here).

the NHL has made safety its top priority and made significant strides toward altering its culture, adopting various rule changes which have greatly decreased concussion rates in hockey and mandating helmets with cages as required wear by all players as well as setting maximum 50% variance contract terms, thus ending “back-diving”, where stars would receive contracts that gave them low final contract years.

In this game, the Oilers handcuffed Vancouver to an 13-0 defeat with Dave Lumley scoring his second career hat trick. Vancouver were already struggling, only winning three out of their initial 12 games before Dylan Holloway accidentally coughed up a puck to Elias Pettersson of Vancouver who quickly scored into an empty net for a quick 2-0 lead.

Pettersson scored again soon after for Vancouver, but that would be all. Edmonton goaltender Andy Moog made 29 saves to record his first shutout since over a year.