This post was originally published February, 2018 and is reposted today as part of our May retro post festival.
Six minutes into the game came a clearing pass from inside his own end. Getting the puck away from the Bruins, Darryl Sittler sent it up to Lanny MacDonald who skated down the boards and fired the puck from the face-off dot, beating Bruins goalie Dave Reece.
What would follow throughout the rest of the game is hockey history.
Forty seconds later the Bruins would again turn over the puck in the Leafs end. Sittler would send it to Ian Turnbull who takes a slap shot from above the faceoff circle to Reece's right. Goal!
On February 7, 1976, 44 seconds into the third period of that game, Sittler broke the NHL's record for points scored by a player in a single game. Maurice Richard set the previous record on December 28th, 1944 with an eight-point night for the Montreal Canadiens. Nine years later Bert Olmstead, also of the Canadiens, would tie that record, and for 21 years that record would stand.
Borje Salming was taking the puck into the Bruins end, three minutes into the second period. Darryl Edestrand would keep him from shooting but Salming managed a last ditch pass to the front of the Bruins net. Sittler was there. Scores!
The '75-76 Maple Leafs weren't an impressive team that year. Going into this game they had a 21-20-11 record. Owner Harold Ballard wasn't happy with the team. Sittler was his star and his captain so he took the brunt of the blame and was called out before the game for not producing.
Forty seconds later, Sittler wins a face-off to the right of Reece. He passes back to Salming who scores from abovethe faceoff circle.
Sittler would show some humour, or possibly the start of some contempt, for his team's owner after the game, saying:
"Undoubtedly Mr. Ballard will figure his little blast inspired me to set the record, but it just isn't that way," Sittler told the Toronto Star after his big night.
Sittler and Ballard would have a falling out in 1979, along with GM Punch Imlach, that would end with Sittler removing himself as Maple Leafs Captain after Lanny MacDonald was traded to Colorado and Sittler refused to waive his no-trade clause.
Sitttler comes skating down the ice, controlling the puck from his own end to the Bruins blueline where he'd take a slap shot that beats Reece.
After this historic night the Maple Leafs would continue their .500 season, finishing up with a 34-31-15 record. The Maple Leafs would finish third in their division, and defeat the Penguins 2-1 in the first round before losing to the Flyers in seven games.
Jack Valiquette is behind the Bruins net. He sees Sittler open straight ahead at the faceoff dot. He makes the pass, Sittler scores for the hat trick!
Darryl Sittler would play another four and a half season for the Maple Leafs. He would be traded to the Philadelphia Flyers half way through the '81-82 season. He would play two more season in Philly, then finishing his career after spending the '84-85 season with the Detroit Red Wings.
Sittler takes the puck of the Maple Leafs end. He sees Lanny McDonald at the Bruins blueline. He sends a long pass across the neutral zone and McDonald takes it in. He passes across the crease to Borje Salming who scores while falling into the Bruins net.
Many players would match Maurice Richard's record for 8 points in a game. The Statsny Brothers, Peter and Anton, would both do so on February 22nd, 1981. Mario Lemiuex would do so three times. Waybe Gretzky twice. Sam Ganger would be the most recent player to score eight points in a night, February 2nd, 2012. No one would pass eight points, however.
44 seconds into the third period Salming passes the puck from the centre ice dot to Sittler at the Bruins blue line. Sittler skates in and scores with a wrist shot from the slot.
Sittler has now tied Maurice Richards record for points in a game. He knew coming into the third that the moment was near:
Sittler remembered years later that the statistician at Maple Leaf Gardens came to him during the second intermission and let him know that he was just a point away from matching Richard's record.
Nearing the 10 minute mark of the third period, Errol Thompson would take the puck from the Bruins at centre ice and sends it to Sittler who takes it to the Bruins net and scores on a wrist shot. Sittler has broken the record!
Sittler would enter the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989. He ended his career with 484 goals, 637 assists in 1096 games played. He was a point per game player for the Maple Leafs, and in 2014 he was one of the first players enshrined in bronze on Maple Leafs legends row.
The third period, this historic game, is minutes away from ending. McDonald passes to Sittler who is behind the Bruins net. Sittler attempts to pass to the front, but it's knocked into the net off the Bruins defenseman's skate. the record is now 10 points.
Long retired and an active member of Maple Leafs alumni, Darryl Sittler is proud to still hold the record.
"You never say never, but it's a longshot," he said when asked if it would ever be broken. "There are very few times when 10 goals are scored by one team, let alone for one player to be in on all 10.
"I think it will be difficult, but who knows -- it could happen. There are a lot more power plays than there were back then, and a lot of great players."
You can watch highlights from Sittler's 10 point game below. There's only one copy of the entire game however, and Sittler has it and isn't sharing. via Puck Daddy:
"I got this as a gift and it’s mine to do what I want with it," Sittler said, when pressed by the Toronto Star.
Will the world ever see it? Maybe, if he can find it.
While the Star reports on it at the level of a scandal (and it sort of is, considering the way Canada regards its hockey history), Sittler casually drops that he's not even sure where it is right now. "It could be here or at my cottage in a box," he told the paper.
The record is now nearing it's 40th anniversary. NHL players only have a month or so to try and beat it before then, and with the average goals per game down by 1.5 since that night, odds are good it will stay intact. You never know, I don't think anyone expected Sam Gagner to hit 8 points (if he did at all). The Maple Leafs last home game before the 40th anniversary passes is February 4, 2016. We can be sure to see a tribute that night.