The second last month of the year doesn’t produce hockey championships, but the Calgary Flames produced a number deals, oddities and milestones for their ‘November to Remember’ file.
Two of the biggest trades in Flames history came in November.
Lanny McDonald became a Flame on the morning of Nov. 25, 1981 the night after he played for the opposition, the Colorado Rockies, losing 9-2 in the old Calgary Corral.
Scoring didn’t seem to be a Flames need considering that win pushed their undefeated streak to four games. However, general manager Cliff Fletcher always felt the best time to make a trade was when a team is going well. He proved it bringing in McDonald for Don Lever and Bobby MacMillan.
Darryl Sutter was the GM 22 years later, but he made a deal when the team wasn’t going so good. It was Nov. 16, ‘03 when Sutter acquired goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff from San Jose for a conditional 2nd or 3rd round draft pick.
In their history the Flames have gone to the Stanley Cup finals three times. McDonald was a key member of the teams in ‘86 and ‘89. Kiprusoff was brilliant in ‘04.
In early November of ‘92, the Flames set a team record having players registered hat tricks in four straight games. Four different players had the three-goal performances, starting with Sergei Makarov followed by Joe Nieuwendyk, Theoren Fleury and Gary Leeman in a game in Ottawa on Nov. 5. It came close to being 5-straight games with hat tricks when Gary Roberts scored twice on Nov.8.
There were several individual standards produced in Flames November history.
Centre Joel Otto had two hat tricks in his NHL career. Both came on Nov. 3. The first was ‘86 against Los Angeles and the second in ‘93 vs. Hartford.
Forward Jim Peplinski wasn’t noted as a great scorer but in his only 30-goal season, 1981-82, he became the first Calgary Flame to register a four-goal game. Yes, it was in November, on the 17th of ‘81, against the Winnipeg Jets.
Six years later on Nov. 19, Nieuwendyk became the first Flames rookie to tally four times in one match achieving that against Quebec Nordiques. Nieuwendyk would finish that ’87-88 campaign with 51 goals.
Paul Reinhart was the first Flame defenseman to post a hat trick. He did it on Nov.24, ‘86 when he scored the first three goals of the game in a 6-3 win over Edmonton.
Hall-of-Famer Brett Hull also had a natural hat trick for the first of his 33 career trick on Nov. 15, ‘87 against Vancouver. Three months later the rookie right winger, despite having 26 goals in 52 games, would be traded to St. Louis for Rick Wamsley and Rob Ramage.
It was in November of ’83 when Kent Nilsson established a Flames record for goals in consecutive games, with eight. Nilsson had one goal in each of the eight tilts. Roberts would equal that record during the 1992-93 term.
Matthew Lombardi has had only one hat trick in his career. It came when he was a Flame, as he defied the number 13. In his 13th NHL game on Nov. 13, ‘03 he tallied three times at Chicago. He got the goals three different ways – power play goal, shorthanded goal and even strength.