Commentary

Gaborik and his five goals have some company

Updated: December 21, 2007, 5:01 PM ET
By David Amber | Special to ESPN.com

Marian Gaborik's five-goal game is not something you see every night. You don't even see it every season.

His feat Thursday night against the New York Rangers was the first five-goal game since Sergei Fedorov accomplished it with Detroit in 1996.

So, what other "rarities" exist in the NHL? We've got our list in this week's 10 Degrees.

Longest NHL Shootouts

Game Date Rounds Winning goal
Rangers-Caps 11/26/2005 15 Marek Malik
Rangers-Flyers 10/7/2006 13 Marcel Hossa
Panthers-Caps 11/28/2007 11 Stephen Weiss
Jackets-Flames 11/3/2006 11 Manny Malhotra

10. Rangers-Capitals shootout lasts 15 rounds (Nov. 26, 2005)
You don't have to tell us the shootout era in the NHL has been a short one. But of the 364 played through Thursday, one stands alone as a rare moment … with an unpredictable finish. When the Rangers and Capitals faced off at Madison Square Garden, both clubs played 65 minutes of back-and-forth hockey before the real game began. Henrik Lundqvist and Olaf Kolzig faced shooter after shooter in the shootout. Then, Bryan Muir and Jason Strudwick both scored in the 14th round to keep the marathon going. (Bizarre considering the average NHL shootout has 6.8 shots.)

Finally, the 30th shooter, hulking defenseman Marek Malik, lumbered down the ice and shocked everyone with a through-the-legs dipsy-do that would have made even Wayne Gretzky blush. Malik, who has averaged a modest four goals per season during his 12-year NHL career, was the hero despite the fact that the Rangers only called on him after every forward and almost every defensemen already took shots. It was a highlight-reel goal, and truly a strange finish that has not been duplicated.

9. Ray Emery fights a player (Feb. 22, 2007)
Moments after Ottawa's Chris Neil knocked out Buffalo's Chris Drury with a hit Sabres coach Lindy Ruff called "dirty," you knew there would be a response. It came after the next faceoff, when a full brawl broke out. It was hardly the first time we've seen 10 players drop their gloves on the ice and throw some punches. But then, things got interesting. Senators goalie Ray Emery, saying afterward he thought Sabres goalie Martin Biron was challenging him, skated the length of the ice to take on the smaller but willing Biron. Fresh off a three-game suspension for a slash, Emery pummeled Biron onto the ice with a series of punches.

The madness turned silly as Andrew Peters came to Biron's defense and began fighting with Emery. The 6-2, 200-pound Emery smiled as he battled with the 6-4 240-pound Peters, who threw exactly 10 rights at the goalie. When the dust settled, Biron, Emery and Peters were ejected. For Emery, he finished with the following: leaving-the-crease minor, a fighting double-major and a game misconduct.

8. Manon Rheaume breaks the gender barrier (Sept. 23, 1992)
Manon Rheaume became the First Lady of hockey when she suited up in a preseason game for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Wearing No. 33 in honor of her idol, Patrick Roy, Rheaume allowed two goals on nine shots in one period against the Blues.

Rheaume played just 17 minutes of junior league action before that first NHL game. She later signed a minor-league deal with Tampa Bay and would play another NHL preseason game the following season. Some viewed Lightning GM Phil Esposito's invitation as a publicity stunt for a team ready to make its NHL debut. Regardless of the circumstances, history will remember Rheaume as the first (and only to this point) woman to play in an NHL game.

7. Darryl Sittler records a 10-point game (Feb. 7, 1976)
You may be lucky enough to go to an NHL game and see a hat trick, maybe even a four-goal game. But Darryl Sittler put together the most prolific scoring outburst we may ever witness. That night against the Bruins, the 25-year-old Maple Leafs captain scored six goals and added four assists in Toronto's 11-4 win over Boston. Sittler had two assists in the first period and poured in three goals and two more assists in the second period before scoring another hat trick in the third. Sittler broke the previous single-game record of eight points set by Maurice Richard during the 1944-45 season. Considering "The Great One" and "Super Mario" couldn't touch this record, a 10-point game is a rarity we may never see again.

Single-Game Rarities

How rare is it to score five goals in one NHL game? Marian Gaborik was the 55th player to accomplish the feat, but what about other sports? Here are some equivalents from Elias Sports Bureau:

Sport Rarity All-Time Occurrences
NFL 450-yard passing game 44
MLB Two home runs in one inning 52
NBA 60-point game 59

6. Robert Picard: Pizza Boy (Sept. 19, 1977)
Robert Picard was drafted third overall in the 1977 NHL draft by the Washington Capitals. After signing a contract with the team, the defenseman was approached by an agent, who told Picard he could make more money playing for Quebec in the WHA. So, the impressionable Picard signed another contract, this time with the WHA's Quebec Nordiques for $625,000. But the WHA decided not to admit Picard because he already signed a deal with Washington. Picard responded by saying, "I would rather deliver pizzas in Quebec City," and eventually joined the Capitals in time for training camp. When Picard later played one of his first games in Quebec City, fans tossed pizzas at him as he came onto the ice.

5. Lights go out in Boston during Stanley Cup finals (May 24, 1988)
Trailing 3-0 in the Stanley Cup finals against the juggernaut known as the Edmonton Oilers, the Boston Bruins needed some type of power surge. Just not this kind. A transformer blew out 37 minutes into Game 4 at the Boston Garden, leaving the rink in total darkness. Even before the blackout, the game was already becoming a farce as the ice surface was covered by a thick fog, giving players, fans and referees limited visibility.

Describing the blackout as "an act of god," NHL president John Ziegler said he could do nothing but follow the league's bylaws, specifically bylaw 27-12. It stipulates that in such an emergency, the game must be replayed in its entirety at the end of the series, if necessary. So, the teams packed up and went to Edmonton for what was dubbed "Game 4-A." The Oilers won 6-3 to complete the bizarre four-game sweep as Edmonton won its fourth Stanley Cup in five seasons.

4. The Stanley Cup finals are cancelled (1919)
There were no hugs at center ice, no ticker-tape parades and no drinking from the Cup. In 1919, the Stanley Cup had no rightful owner after an outbreak of the Spanish flu forced the cancellation of the finals between the NHL-champion Montreal Canadiens and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association-champion Seattle Metropolitans. The series was tied before health officials were forced to cancel the deciding game after some players fell ill with the flu. Just days after the series was canceled, Canadiens star Joe Hall died from pneumonia brought on by the epidemic. This was the only season where the playoffs started and a Cup was not awarded.

3. Goalie Ron Hextall scores a goal (Dec. 8, 1987)
Ron Hextall was known as one of the best puck-handling goalies in the NHL. He cemented that legacy when he became the first goalie to score a goal. In 40,218 previous games, no NHL goalie had the opportunity or moxie to do what Hextall did. Standing two feet in front of his goal line, he fired a wrist shot into the Boston Bruins' empty net. Eight seasons earlier, Islanders goalie Billy Smith was credited with a goal because he was the last offensive player to touch the puck after a Colorado Rockies' own goal. But Hextall earned his goal. He scored again in 1989, this time from behind the goal line against the Capitals in the playoffs. Only six of the 11 goalies credited with scoring a goal actually shot the puck. Hextall is the only goalie to score twice.

Most Points In One Game

From Elias Sports Bureau

Points Frequency Most recent occurrence
10 Once Darryl Sittler (1976)
9 Never reached N/A
8 12 times Mario Lemieux (1988)

2. Maurice Richard takes all Three Stars in one game (March 23, 1944)
In a career filled with amazing milestones and memories, Maurice Richard left an indelible mark on hockey history in March 1944. Richard scored all of the Canadiens' five goals en route to a 5-1 win over the Maple Leafs in the playoffs. At the time, "The Rocket" set the record for most goals in a playoff game. After the game, Richard was awarded all Three Stars for the game. When he skated out to acknowledge the "Third Star," the crowd booed, thinking two other players will be honored ahead of him. But the crowd erupted when he skated out two more times for the second and first stars. Some historians consider this to be the Richard's transformation game from hockey superstar to national icon.

1. Maple Leafs overcome 3-0 series deficit to win Stanley Cup (April 18, 1942)
After eliminating the Canadiens and Bruins en route to the finals, the Detroit Red Wings took a commanding 3-0 series lead against Toronto. But the Maple Leafs would fight back. The Leafs won 4-3 in Game 4 before a 9-3 blowout victory in Game 5. Toronto's 3-0 win in Game 6 set the stage for the deciding game. On home ice, the Leafs battled to a 3-1 win to give them their second Stanley Cup.

The New York Islanders would pull off a similar feat 35 years later, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Penguins and reach the semifinals. It was a huge victory considering the Isles never held a lead in the first three games of the series.

How rare were these comebacks?

According to Elias Sports Bureau, there have been 263 instances in MLB, NHL and NBA where a team went ahead 3-0 in a best-of-7 series. A team rallied to win the series on only three occasions (Maple Leafs, Islanders and the 2004 Boston Red Sox).

ESPN reporter David Amber is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com.