February 24, 1982: "The Great One" broke one of the NHL's most coveted single-season records on this night. Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers scored three goals to help beat the Buffalo Sabres 6–3, and in doing so passed Phil Esposito's record for most goals in a season (76) set in 1971.
See the record here:
Gretzky ended the 1981–82 season with records of 92 goals, 120 assists, and 212 points in 80 games, becoming the only player in NHL history to break the two hundred-point mark.
He has so many scoring records it's amazing:
He is the leading point-scorer in NHL history, with more assists than any other player has points, and is the only NHL player to total over 200 points in one season – a feat he accomplished four times. In addition, he tallied over 100 points in 16 professional seasons, 14 of them consecutive. At the time of his retirement in 1999, he held 61 NHL records: 40 regular-season records, 15 playoff records, and six All-Star records. As of 2009, he still holds 60 NHL records (Wikipedia).
Mark Messier is the next closest in all time points, almost 1,000 behind Gretzky! Gretzky scored 894 goals in 1,487 games. He scored 122 goals in playoff time.
Gretzky led the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cups (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988). He also played for the Los Angeles Kings, where he is credited with making the sport of hockey popular nation-wide, a brief stint with the St. Louis Blues and finally the New York Rangers until he retired in 1999. The NHL bypassed the three-year period and inducted him into the Hall of Fame in 1999. Gretzky also coached the Phoenix Coyotes for four seasons.
Here's to you Wayne Gretzky, and the night you broke the single-season goal record.