Sittler's big night: Peter Puck
It was one of the most unforgettable games in the history of NHL.
On February 7, 1976, playing at home in Maple Leafs Gardens, captain Daryl Sittler collected an astounding 10 points in a 11-4 steamrolling over the Boston Bruins.
Sittler produced the greatest offensive game ever in hockey, guaranteeing his place in the record books even after Wayne Gretzky had come and gone.
Leading up to the game, it was a remarkably ordinary day for Sittler, as he went through his normal pre-game routine.
He participated in the team’s morning skate, returned home for a meal and then took a two-hour nap. The only exception to the routine was his pre-game meal.
Instead of his usual pasta, Sittler bought some Swiss Chalet barbequed chicken, a choice the superstitious Sittler feels altered the winds of fate.
That night, with his parents in attendance, Sittler and the Leafs were hosting the Boston Bruins, a team on a seven-game winning streak.
The Bruins had recently reacquired Gerry Cheevers, but coach Don Cherry wanted to give the star goalie a rest before his upcoming Boston homecoming and started rookie netminder Dave Reece instead.
The Leafs blasted the Bruins 11-4 on this night, showing no mercy to the rookie netminder, but it was Sittler that was the big story.
He collected two assists in the first period. In the second, he tallied three goals and added two more assists. Sittler was unstoppable!
With seven points in two periods, Sittler was told during the intermission that he was only one point away from tying the NHL record.
Normally, number 27 played without his upper plate, but going into the third period Sittler put his teeth back in, just in case he might achieve the record.
In the final period Sittler scored a hat trick and set a new league record for points in one game.
After the ninth point, Toronto fans rose to their feet, giving Sittler a thunderous ovation. Thank goodness he put his teeth back in!
It was a magical night for Sittler, where every time he touched the puck something seemed to happen.
The total of six goals and four assists set a league record for points in one game that had previously been held by Maurice "Rocket" Richard (1944) and Bert Olmstead (1954) with eight.
The big night also helped Sittler become the first Leaf ever to reach 100 points in a season amassing 41 goals and 59 assists.
Since that magical night, no player has come close to touching Sittler’s record.
Some of hockey’s greatest players like Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Paul Coffey and Bryan Trottier have hit the eight point mark, but Sittler remains the only player to have ever reached the ten point echelon.
Sittler would go on to have an incredible career with the Leafs, Flyers, and Red Wings and in 1989 was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
He accomplished many things in his career, but fans of the blue and white will always remember Sittler and the ‘Big night’.