On New Year’s Eve in 1988, Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Mario Lemieux became the first player in NHL history to score goals five different ways in the same game.
It’s an achievement likely to never be duplicated and it has been voted the greatest moment in NHL history. The announcement was made during Saturday’s NHL 100 Classic in Ottawa.
Lemieux scored one goal at even strength, one while shorthanded, one on the power play, one on a penalty shot and even buried an empty netter to secure an 8-6 victory over the New Jersey Devils that night.
The NHL announced in October the launch of a project that pitted 64 of the greatest moments in league history against one another in a bracket-style tournament where the winner of each matchup would be determined by fan votes.
In the opening round, Lemieux’s five-goal effort beat brothers Peter and Anton Stastny each scoring eight points in the same game as rookies with the Quebec Nordiques in 1981. Lemieux then took down Wayne Gretzky passing Gordie Howe for the NHL’s all-time goals lead and the New York Islanders winning their fourth straight Stanley Cup.
No. 66 beat No. 99 again in the semifinals only this time it was Gretzky’s achievement of scoring 50 goals in 39 games.
Lemieux’s unique five-goal game edged out Bobby Orr’s iconic 1970 Stanley Cup-winning overtime goal in the finals.