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1976: Darryl Sittler scores incredible 10-point record

The Story

When Toronto Maple Leafs captain Darryl Sittler went to work on Feb. 7, 1976, he didn't plan on making history. But with an amazing seven points as the second period ended, Sittler was one point shy of tying the NHL record. He magically slid the puck into the net three more times, scoring Sittler a record that even Gretzky couldn't break. As Maple Leaf Gardens shuts down in 1999, Sittler looks back at his incredible 10-point game.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Evening News
Broadcast Date: Feb. 9, 1999
Guest(s): Darryl Sittler
Interviewer: Suhana Meharchand
Duration: 1:17

Did You know?

• As the Toronto Maple Leafs faced the Boston Bruins on Feb. 7, 1976, the Leafs had only won once in the previous seven games. The Bruins, coached by Don Cherry, were hot. They had won their last seven games and lost only once in their last 17 games.

• The Leafs' coach Red Kelly decided to make a few changes to his offensive line, and he put Sittler between high-scoring players Errol Thompson and Lanny McDonald. It was a good move -- the trio made 17 points that night. The Leafs beat the Bruins 11-4.

• It started out as a perfectly normal day for the 25-year-old Sittler. "I went through my normal pre-game routine that Saturday -- morning skate, return home for a meal between one and two o'clock in the afternoon, and then a two-hour nap," Sittler said in his autobiography, Sittler (1991).

• There was one exception -- his dinner before the game. "Instead of the usual pasta, I bought some Swiss Chalet barbecued chicken."

• In the first period, Sittler got two assists -- setting up a goals for other players -- and in the second he got three goals in a row -- a feat called a hat trick -- and two more assists. He got another hat trick in the third.

• The term hat trick was originally used in the game of cricket in the late 19th century when a bowler taking three wickets in a row would get a new hat.

• "It's like his shots were directed by radar," Bruins centre Andre Savard told the Globe and Mail after the game. "He even scored from behind the net. How often does something like that happen?"

• Sittler usually removed his false teeth before he went out on the ice, but he put them back in at the start of the third period, just in case he broke the record.

• The stick Sittler used for the first seven points of that night, until the stick's shaft cracked, was eventually lost in a fire at his equipment man's home.

• The previous record of eight points in one game was set by Montreal Canadiens forward Maurice (Rocket) Richard in 1955 and tied by former Leaf Bert Olmstead in the 1960s.

• Quebec Bulldog Joe (The Phantom) Malone still holds his 1920 record for most goals scored in a game -- seven.
• Wayne Gretzky holds the career records for goals (894) and points (2,857). And as an Edmonton Oiler Gretzky grabbed the season records for goals (92 in 1981-2) and points (215 in 1985-86).

• The night was the last NHL game for Bruins goalie Dave Reece.

• Sittler's jersey number was 27. As he recalled in Sittler, "All the numbers were positive for me that night. We were playing on the seventh day of the second month, the Bruins were on a seven-game winning streak and we were in second place. The game started at 8:07 and officially ended at 10:27 p.m. I scored my first hat trick at the 10:27 mark of the second period and my ninth point at 9:27 of the third."

• 1976 was a very good year for Sittler. During the playoffs in April against the Philadelphia Flyers, he scored five goals in one game. Then, in September, Sittler scored the winning Canada Cup goal in overtime against Czechoslovakia.

• Sittler's relationship with Leafs owner Harold Ballard soured and in 1979 Sittler took a pair of scissors and cut out the "C" on his sweater to protest the trade of teammate Lanny McDonald to the Colorado Rockies.

• Sittler demanded to be traded from the Leafs midway through the 1981-82 season. He went to the Philadelphia Flyers and then was traded to the Detroit Red Wings for the 1984-85 season. He retired as a player in 1985 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989.

• The Leafs moved out of Maple Leaf Gardens and into the Air Canada Centre in February 1999. For many fans and players it was the end of an era. The Gardens was built in 1931.

• Sittler has long campaigned for awareness of colorectal cancer. His wife Wendy died from the disease in 2001.

• Pittsburgh Penguin Sidney Crosby, born in 1987, was nicknamed Darryl by teammates because of his eight-point performance in his first exhibition junior hockey game.


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