When Ryan Callahan scored four goals against the Flyers on Sunday. he joined Marian Gaborik as the second New York Ranger to accomplish the feat this year.
Only two Rangers have ever scored five goals in a game — rookie 19-year old Don Murdoch in 1976 in just his fourth NHL game and Mark Pavelich in 1983.
And only one player in history has ever scored seven goals in an NHL game — Maurice Joseph “Phantom Joe” Malone. Malone, skating for the Quebec Bulldogs, set the record more than 90 years ago, January 31, 1920 to be exact.
Malone was the NHL’s first star in its inaugural 1917-18 season. Playing with the Montreal Canadiens on what was one of the most powerful forward lines of all time — with Newsy Lalonde and Didier Pitre — Malone shifted to left wing to accommodate Lalonde, and became the NHL’s first scoring leader.
He registered 44 goals in 20 games that year, a record total that would stand as the NHL’s single season goal scoring mark until 1945 and a record per-game average that stands to this day. (If such an average was sustained over today’s 82-game schedule, it would result in 180 goals, nearly double Wayne Gretzky’s record of 92.)
Malone scored at least one goal (and a total of 35 goals) in his first 14 NHL games that year to set the record for the longest goal-scoring streak to begin an NHL career. This streak still stands as the second-longest goal-scoring streak in NHL history.
Malone scored the second most career goals of any player in major hockey’s first half-century, 143 goals in 126 games over seven seasons with the Canadiens, Bulldogs and Hamilton Tigers.
Less than six weeks after scoring seven gaols, Malone would score six goals in a game. Three other players would also have six-goal games over the course of the next year — Lalonde of the Canadiens in 1920, and the Denneny brothers Corb and Cy of the Toronto St. Pats, who had six-goal games less than six weeks apart in 1921.
In the 90 years since, only three NHL players have scored six goals in a game — Syd Howe of the Detroit Red Wings in 1944, Red Berenson of the St. Louis Blues in 1968, and Darryl Sittler , shown right, of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1976. Sittler added four assists that night to finish with 10 points, the most ever in a NHL game.
Only two players have registered even five-goal games in the past 15 years — Marian Gaborik, with the Minnesota Wild in 2007 and Johan Franz of Detroit on Feb. 2, 2011.
Joe Malone is the all-time leader with five games of three goals or more, including five-goal outbursts in 1917 (one) and 1918 (two) with the Canadiens. Wayne Gretzky scored five goals four times with the Edmonton Oilers, and Mario Lemieux did the same with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Lalonde scored five or more on three occasions, and Babe Dye (Toronto St. Pats) , Maurice “Rocket” Richard (Canadiens), Sittler (Leafs) and Bryan Trottier (Islanders) each did it twice.
Fifty years ago, two events changed the landscape of professional sports in America forever.
In 1958, the Dodgers and the Giants left New York behind, kicking off baseball’s presence on the West Coast and ushering in an era of expansion in baseball and eventually other sports. Shock waves were felt from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, and from New York to San Francisco.
Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley, frustrated in his attempts to get a new ballpark to replace Ebbets Field, decided to pick up and head West, taking owner Horace Stoneham and the Giants with him.
Fifty years later, Brooklyn has not forgotten. When O’Malley was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in July, some boos were heard throughout the Cooperstown crowd. Walter O’Malley may just be the most reviled figure in New York sports history.
Brooklyn native and the radio voice of the Dodgers Charley Steiner once observed: “Walter O’Malley was the guy in the black hat who led the wagon train out of town.”
Later that year, the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts staged a dramatic overtime game in Yankee Stadium that symbolized the rise of the NFL and the establishment of professional football as America’s leading pastime.
The Colts prevailed behind Johnny Unitas, 23-17, in what remains to this day the only overtime championship game in NFL history. A nationally televised NBC audience was captivated by the drama, capped by Alan Ameche’s winning touchdown, shown at right.
Some refer to it as “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” It may not have been the greatest….but it may have been the most important game NFL history, for it signalled the rise and popularity of the sport in the national psyche.
Year of Dynasties
1958 was also a year of dynasties, past, present and future.
The Colts won the NFL championship that year, and would repeat in 1959, again knocking off the Giants.
But the real dynasty was rising in Green Bay, where Vince Lombardi, who left the Giants as an assistant coach following the 1958 playoff, led the Packers to a 7-5 record in 1959. A year later the Packers were in the NFL championship game; two years later they were NFL champions, starting a run of five NFL crowns in seven seasons, including the first two Super Bowls ever played.
In baseball, the New York Yankees, in the midst of winning 14 American League pennants and nine World Series in 16 years, rebounded from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Milwaukee Braves and win the World Series.
The Braves had beaten the Yankees in seven games in 1957, only to have the Yankees return the favor in 1958, to the delight of Casey Stengel, above, here with Braves manager Fred Haney following the seventh game.
Although the St. Louis Hawks won their only NBA title in 1958. defeating the Celtics in six games, Boston was on the verge of a major roll that started the following year. Beginning in 1959, the Celtics won eight straight NBA titles and 10 of 11 championships overall, a standard unapproached in professional sports history.
Finally, in 1958, the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup for the third straight year, en route to an NHL record five straight titles. Les Habitants have won 23 championships; only the Yankees with 26 have more.
Do the math. The Boston Celtics have won 16 NBA titles, the Los Angeles (nee Minneapolis) Lakers 14. When the 62nd NBA Finals are completed in a few weeks, the Celtics and the Lakers will have combined for 31 titles, exactly half of the 62 championships. This is their 11th meeting in the finals, another NBA record.
What about the other sports?. Who are the champions of championships?
It starts with the New York Yankees, the king of champions. The Yankees have won 26 World Series, the most in any of the North American team sports. That’s more than double the number of championships won by the St. Louis Cardinals (10) and Philadelphia-Oakland A’s (9).
In the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers have each won five Super Bowls. The Green Packers have won nine total NFL titles and the Chicago Bears 7 since the first NFL championship game in 1933.
In hockey, the Montreal Canadiens, Les Habitants, are far away the ring-leaders with 23 Stanley Cups. The Habs are followed by the Toronto Arenas-St. Pats-Maple Leafs with 13 and the Detroit Red Wings with 11, including this year’s Stanley Cup.
UCLA has won 11 NCAA basketball championships and Kentucky seven since the advent of the NCAA tournament in 1939. Kentucky also won a national championship in 1933.
Notre Dame is the king of college football with 13 national championships, including nine since the polls were first instituted in 1936. In the so-called “early years” of college football (1869-1935), Yale won 18 championships and Princeton 17. All told, Alabama and USC have each won 10 total football championships, seven apiece since 1936.