Tuesday, February 22, 2011

1980-81 Quebec Nordiques Peter Stastny Jersey

Perhaps one of the mot unique back-to-back hat trick scenarios happened in a span of 48 hours, from February 20th to February 22nd in 1981.

Brothers Anton Stastny and Peter Stastny were quickly establishing themselves as dangerous offensive threats in the NHL despite the fact they were both NHL rookies, having defected from Czechoslovakia just prior to the opening of NHL training camps in the fall of 1980.

Peter and Anton Stastny Nordiques
Peter and Anton Stastny

The previous season the Nordiques had failed to qualify for the NHL playoffs, finishing 19th out of 21 teams with a record of 25-44-11. It was their first season after moving over to the NHL from the now defunct WHA, where for the last previous five seasons they had been highly competitive, including two trips to the WHA Finals and a championship in 1977.

Their 1980-81 season started badly, winning their second game of the season while going 1-9-5 in their first 15 games. From that point through the end of January, the Nordiques went 10-15-8, but flipping the calendar to February also flipped a switch, as the Nordiques  went on an 8-2 tear leading up to their game on February 20th against the Vancouver Canucks, their seventh consecutive road game as they toured the western half of North America.

Their road trip started on the 8th in Boston. Four days later they played in Calgary, followed by Edmonton the next night on the 13th followed by Winnipeg on the 15th, Colorado on the 17th and Los Angeles the very next day before making the trip up to Vancouver for their game two days later on the 20th.

Peter Stastny Nordiques
Peter Stastny with unique Czech diacritical marks over letters of his name

Peter Stastny opened the scoring at 5:54 with an assist from defenseman Kim Clackson. He quickly scored his second goal of the night at 6:25 from Clackson and his brother Anton. The Canucks got one back at 8:56 on a power play.

Anton Stastny extended the Nordiques lead just 1:07 into the second period on a power play from Marc Tardif and Jacques Richard. Anton then got his second goal of the period at 5:11 from brother Peter and Clackson, his third assist of the game - during a season he would play 61 games and record just five total assists!

The Canucks scored their second at 6:59 only to have Michel Goulet get one past Gary Bromley in the Vancouver goal at 9:51 at even strength from Peter and Anton Stastny. Richard closed out the second period scoring with a goal assisted by Robbie Ftorek to make it 6-2 for the Nordiques at 13:38.

Goulet continued the scoring parade for the resurgent road warriors at 7:39, unassisted. Peter Stastny completed his hat trick on the power play at 14:40 from defenseman Dale Hoganson and slightly over a minute later Anton Stastny finished his hat trick at 15:56 from the rugged John Wensink and brother Peter. The Canucks added a late goal to finish off the scoring, as the Nordiques romped to a 9-3 win as Dan Bouchard got the win for Quebec, who were actually outshot by Vancouver 27-26.

Anton Stastny ended the night with 3 goals and 2 assists while Peter had 3 goals and 3 assists for six points, giving the brothers a combined 6 goals and 11 points.

With their west coast swing to completed, the schedule makers rewarded the Nordiques with a game two nights later in...

Washington D. C. - as far from Vancouver on the 1981 NHL map as possible!

Bouchard once again got the start in goal for the streaking Nordiques while the Capitals countered with Mike Palmateer in an effort to derail the Stastny express. That effort lasted just 5:45 before Peter Stastny scored from Anton Stastny and Goulet to open the scoring. Anton got his 27th goal of the year to take the family lead from Peter at 9:46 from Peter and Goulet to make it 2-1 Quebec at 9:46.

Anton's 28th of the season and second of the game came at 2:37 of the second period from Peter to give Quebec back the lead at 3-2 even strength at 2:37. After Washington tied the game for the third time, it was Peter's turn to score, his second of the game from Anton and Hoganson a mere 19 seconds after Washington's equalizer.

Richard extended the Nordiques lead to 2 for the first time from Dale Hunter and Tardif at 13:27. Washington got one back only to have Peter complete his second consecutive hat trick from Anton and Pierre Lacroix at 18:51 on the power play as a result of a huge brawl at 18:26, the third outbreak of fisticuffs of the period. Lacroix extended the Nordiques lead to 7-4 after two periods from Richard and Peter Stastny at 19:41.

It was Anton's turn to complete the brother/brother hat tricks in back-to-back games (and take the lead in the Stastny family goal scoring race) with his third goal of the game and 29th of the season from Peter and Lacroix on the power play at just 34 seconds to ignite the fuse on a scoring explosion.

Richard scored at 1:07 (from Goulet and Anton Stastny), which chased Palmateer from the Capitals goal in favor of Wayne Stephenson, who gave up Richard's third goal of the game just 33 seconds later from Tardif and Hoganson. Washington responded 18 seconds later for the fourth goal of the period before it was even two minutes old. Less than two minutes later Washington scored again to make it 10-6.

Washington scored once more at 7:21 and Peter Stastny then got his fourth goal of the game to tie Anton at 29 goals for the season from Gary Lariviere and his brother Anton on the power play at 19:05 to make the final score 11-7.

Anton concluded the game with 3 goals and 5 assists for 8 points, while Peter finished with 4 goals and 4 assists for 8 points of his own. Their matching 8 point nights set several records, including Most Points in a Game by a Rookie, Most Points in a Road Game and Most Points by a Pair of Siblings in an NHL Game. They also became just the 6th and 7th players to record eight points in an NHL game, to date an accomplishment only achieved by 13 men, and they were the only two to do so in the same game.

Over the course of the two games on February 20th and 22nd, Anton totaled 6 goals and 7 assists for 13 points while Peter amassed 7 goals and 7 assists for 14 points, a combined 27 points in two games!

The Nordiques hot streak would continue through March, as they went 19-4-5 over the course of two months to reach the .500 mark on March 31st, only to drop two and tie one during their final three games in April to finish below .500 at 30-32-18. However, their strong run through February and March elevated them into the playoffs as the 11th seeded team out of 16, only to lose in five games to the 6th seeded Philadelphia Flyers. During their five playoff games, Peter (2 goals, 10 assists) and Anton (4G, 3A) would lead the club with a combined 17 points.

Still, the future looked bright for the Nordiques with the arrival of their Czech defectors, as Peter led the Nordiques in scoring with 39 goals and a record 70 assists as a rookie for 109 points, good for 6th in the NHL scoring race which earned him the 1981 Calder Trophy. While Anton finished third on the club with 85 points behind Richard's 103, he tied Peter's 39 goals for the season.

The brothers were joined the following season by a third brother Marian Stastny, and the Nordiques would go on to make the playoffs for the next six seasons, including two runs to the semifinals.

Peter's career would conclude with his being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998 and the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2000.

Today's featured jersey is a 1980-81 Quebec Nordiques Peter Stastny jersey as worn duiring his rookie season in the NHL when he set records for most assists by a rookie and joined the exclusive club of players with eight or more points in an NHL game on his way to winning the rookie of the year award.

The Nordiques adopted this style jersey during their fourth WHA season of 1975-76 and it remained in use through their final NHL season of 1994-95. As seen in today's featured jersey, the Nordiques used a lower quality heat sealed material for their names and numbers which does not age very well, leaving some game worn jerseys completely missing names and with numbers that are in danger of coming off. They were the final team to switch to sewn on tackle twill numbers and letters, which they did in 1991-92 when they finally changed to numbers trimmed in red.

Quebec Nordiques 80-81 Peter Stastny jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1980-81 Quebec Nordiques Anton Stastny jersey as worn during his rookie season in the NHL when he also joined the exclusive club of players with eight or more points in an NHL game, amazingly on the same date as his brother.

Quebec Nordiques 80-81 Anton Stastny jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's first video selection is the Legends of Hockey profile of Peter Stastny.

Here is Anton Stastny doing his part to contribute to the bad blood between the Canadiens and Nordiques, as he holds his own in a fight against Craig Ludwig.

1 comment:

  1. My youth was spent during the dark days of the Dead Wings. Because of that, I picked up on the Nordiques and the Stastny boys became my favorite players (along with Goulet). The thing is that I was drawn to the Nords because of their jerseys.


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