50 goals in 50 games refers to the act of scoring 50 goals in the first 50 games of a National Hockey League (NHL) season. Scoring fifty goals in fifty (or fewer) games in the NHL is a rare achievement.
The NHL officially defines "50 goals in 50 games" to mean that a player scores 50 goals in the team's first 50 games of the season, not the player's first 50. This feat has been officially achieved eight times by five different players.
- 1944–45: 50 in 50 games (50 in 50)
Maurice "Rocket" Richard of the Montreal Canadiens was the first player to score 50 goals. He achieved the target in the 50th, and final, game of the 1944–45 season on goalie Harvey Bennett Sr. of the Boston Bruins, the Canadiens' archnemesis.
It would take another 16 years before the second player ever, Bernie Geoffrion, managed to score 50 goals in a single — albeit 64 game — season. And it took 35 years before anyone matched Richard's feat of 50 goals in 50 games. Coupled with being the first 500 goal scorer in NHL history, the 'difficulty' of matching Richard's early 50 in 50 feat led many to declare the Rocket to be the greatest scorer of all time - with the NHL creating an annual trophy in 1999, the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, to be presented to the top goal scorer in the league.
- 1980–81: 50 in 50 games (50 in 50)
Many thought it would be impossible to beat Maurice Richard’s in 50 games Then, in the 1980–81 season, Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders became only the second player to score 50 goals in 50 games. He scored twice within the last five minutes of his 50th game. He finished the season with 68 goals in 79 games.
- 1981–82: 61 in 50 games (50 in 39)
- 1983–84: 61 in 50 games (50 in 42)
- 1984–85: 53 in 50 games (50 in 49)
Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers demolished the "50 in 50" mark the next season. In Gretzky’s 38th game, he scored 4 goals, giving him 45 on the season. In his very next game, on December 30, 1981, he scored 5 goals against the Philadelphia Flyers to give him the record of 50 goals in 39 games. He had 50 goals before anybody else even had 30, and finished with an NHL-record 92 goals on the season.
Gretzky went on to score 50 goals in fewer than 50 games two more times in his career. In 1983–84 he scored his 50th goal in the team's 42nd game (ending up with 87 goals), and in 1984–85 he scored his 50th in the team's 49th game (ending the season with 73 goals).
- 1988–89: 54 in 50 games (50 in 46)
Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins was the next player to score 50 in 50 or fewer games, achieving the feat on January 20, 1989. Lemieux's 50th goal officially came in game 46, which was Lemieux's 44th game of the season. He finished the season with 85 goals.
Brett Hull scored 50 goals in 50 games or fewer twice in his career for the St. Louis Blues. Hull first did it in the 1990–91 season when he scored his 50th goal, and second of the game, against rookie goalie Dave Gagnon on January 25, 1991, in the Blues' 49th game. Hull finished the season with 86 goals.
His second time, the most recent season the feat was achieved, was during the next season, (1991–92). On January 28, 1992, Hull scored his 50th goal against goalie Kelly Hrudey in game number 50, a 3–3 tie in Los Angeles.
Unofficial 50 in 50 scorersEdit
The following players scored fifty goals in or before their 50th game in a single season, but do not officially qualify for 50-in-50 status because the NHL requires a player to have scored his 50th goal in or prior to his team's 50th game.
Mario Lemieux (1992–93 & 1995–96): in the 1992–93 season Lemieux scored his 50th goal in his 48th game, which was his team's 72nd game. He was plagued by injury that year, and finished with a total of 69 goals in 60 games played, having scored 19 goals in his remaining 12 games. In the 1995–96 season he scored his 50th goal in his 50th game (the team's 59th), and finished the season with 69 goals in 70 games.
Cam Neely (1993–94) of the Boston Bruins scored his 50th goal in his 44th game (his teams 66th game) — tied with Lemieux's 88-89 season for the fastest by any player other than Gretzky. Plagued by injury, Neely played a total of 49 games and did not score a goal in his remaining five games after reaching fifty.
- Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks scored his 50th goal in his 52nd game in 1965–66. 25 years later his son, Brett Hull (see above), did achieve 50-in-50.
- Charlie Simmer of the Los Angeles Kings scored his 50th goal in his 51st game in 1980–81. Simmer and Mike Bossy (see above) were involved in an exciting 'competition' to achieve 50-in-50 in 1980–81.
Anders Hedberg and Bobby Hull (1974–75) of the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association became the first players in the history of major league hockey to score 50 goals in fewer than 50 games. Hedberg broke the record established 22 seasons earlier by Montreal's Rocket Richard and matched in 1974–75 by Bobby Hull. He scored 51 goals in 49 games. Both Hull's and Hedberg's achievements are not considered NHL achievements, as they took place outside of the league.
- List of NHL players with 1000 games played
- List of NHL players with 1000 points
- List of NHL players with 500 goals
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