February 7th marks the 35th Anniversary of an NHL record that may never be broken- Darryl Sittler’s 10 points in one game. I recently had a chance to talk to Sittler about that special night for this Toronto Maple Leaf Legend, who’s a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
For those who were old enough to remember, this historical game was played on Hockey Night in Canada against the Boston Bruins. The Montreal Canadiens were not playing that night, so the Leafs game was televised from coast to coast.
The Leafs rolled over the Bruins 11-4 that night, with Sittler getting a remarkable six goals and four assists.
Sittler recalls that going into the game, it was the Bruins, led by Coach Don Cherry, who were on a roll while the Leafs were slumping. In fact, Harold Ballard had called out the Leaf’s Captain in the press the day before, citing that they needed a strong Centerman between wingers Lanny MacDonald and Errol Thompson. While it made for a nice storyline, Sittler felt that story might have been played up a bit by the media.
“I approached this game similar to others,” Sittler stated. “My wife Wendy was away, so instead of pasta, I had done a few errands the day of the game and ended up having chicken from Swiss Chalet.”
The first period, Sittler collected two assists and went on in the second period to score three goals and had two assists. “During the second intermission, the statistician came to the dressing room and let me know that I was only one point away from Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richards record of 8 points,” Sittler remembers. Three third period goals lay claim to a new NHL record that has stood the test of time.
The sixth goal was scored after being directed off the skate of a Bruins player. For Sittler, it was a night that couldn’t go wrong. The same couldn’t be said for Bruins goalie, Dave Reece. The seldom used goalie was 3rd on the Bruins depth chart behind Gerry Cheevers and Gilles Gilbert. Sadly, while memorable for Sittler, that was Reece’s last career NHL game.
He didn’t get much time to celebrate with his teammates that night, as the Leafs had a rare Saturday/Sunday back to back games, with the Sunday game being against Minnesota. It did give Hockey Night in Canada viewers a night to remember.
Sittler’s record was out of reach for the Great One. Twice in his career, Gretzky had eight points in a game and Mario Lemieux reached that level three times. Lemieux is the last player to accomplish that feat, which occurred on April 25th, 1989.
At age 60, Sittler appreciates the attention that he gets for the record and likes that younger fans can learn about that fateful night through a Children’s bedtime book called “My Leaf Sweater”. “It’s nice that those memories can be passed to a younger generation.”