When Ryan Callahan scored four goals against the Flyers on Sunday, he joined Marian Gaborik as the second New York Ranger to accomplish the feat this year.
Only two Rangers have ever scored five goals in a game—rookie 19-year old Don Murdoch in 1976 in just his fourth NHL game and Mark Pavelich in 1983.
And only one player in history has ever scored seven goals in an NHL game—Maurice Joseph “Phantom Joe” Malone. Malone, skating for the Quebec Bulldogs, set the record more than 90 years ago, on Jan. 31, 1920, to be exact.
Malone was the NHL’s first star in its inaugural 1917-18 season. Playing with the Montreal Canadiens on what was one of the most powerful forward lines of all time—with Newsy Lalonde and Didier Pitre—Malone shifted to left wing to accommodate Lalonde, and became the NHL’s first scoring leader.
He registered 44 goals in 20 games that year, a record total that would stand as the NHL’s single season goal scoring mark until 1945 and a record per-game average that stands to this day. (If such an average was sustained over today’s 82-game schedule, it would result in 180 goals, nearly double Wayne Gretzky’s record of 92.)
Malone scored at least one goal (and a total of 35 goals) in his first 14 NHL games that year to set the record for the longest goal-scoring streak to begin an NHL career. This streak still stands as the second-longest goal-scoring streak in NHL history.
Malone scored the second-most career goals of any player in major league hockey’s first half-century, 143 goals in 126 games over seven seasons with the Canadiens, Bulldogs and Hamilton Tigers.
Less than six weeks after scoring seven gaols, Malone would score six goals in a game. Three other players would also have six-goal games over the course of the next year — Lalonde of the Canadiens in 1920, and the Denneny brothers, Corb and Cy of the Toronto St. Pats, who had six-goal games less than six weeks apart in 1921.
In the 90 years since, only three NHL players have scored six goals in a game—Syd Howe of the Detroit Red Wings in 1944, Red Berenson of the St. Louis Blues in 1968, and Darryl Sittler, shown right, of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1976. Sittler added four assists that night to finish with 10 points, the most ever in an NHL game.
Only two players have registered even five-goal games in the past 15 years—Marian Gaborik with the Minnesota Wild in 2007 and Johan Franz of Detroit on Feb. 2, 2011.
Joe Malone is the all-time leader with five games of three goals or more, including five-goal outbursts in 1917 (one) and 1918 (two) with the Canadiens. Wayne Gretzky scored five goals four times with the Edmonton Oilers, and Mario Lemieux did the same with the Pittsburgh Penguins.