Thursday, November 13, 2014

1984-85 Los Angeles Kings Bernie Nicholls Jersey

The Los Angeles Kings began the 1984-85 season with an 0-2-1 homestand. Their first road trip of the season was a dismal failure, with a loss to the Washington Capitals, a 3-3 tie in Montreal versus the Canadiens and then one sided losses to the New York Islanders (8-3), the Chicago Black Hawks (5-2) and the Edmonton Oilers (8-2). They managed a 2-2 tie against the Winnipeg Jets on October 27th and then, in an unusual bit of scheduling, played the Jets again, still in Winnipeg two days later! They must have learned something from their first matchup, because they finally won their first game of the season 5-3 in their tenth game.

With that first win under their belts, the Kings found their game and their confidence and proceeded to close out October with a 10-3 hammering of the Vancouver Canucks to finish out their eight game, 15 day road trip with a pair of wins after starting out the season 0-6-3.

Back in Los Angeles they again won by the same margin with a 7-0 blanking of the Toronto Maple Leafs. After a narrow 3-2 loss to Chicago, they beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 and then travelled across the continent to take down the New York Rangers 4-2.

Fresh off that win, the Kings crossed the border into Canada to face off against the Quebec Nordiques on this date in 1984 with a record of 5-7-3.

Dan Bouchard got the start for the host Nordiques while Darren Eliot was in goal for Los Angeles.

Bernie Nicholls opened the scoring with his 9th goal of the season from Terry Ruskowsk just 13 seconds into the game before the Nordiques fans could even settle into their seats.

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Bernie Nicholls

Paul Gillis got Quebec on the board at 8:12 from Jean-Marc Gaulin and Normand Rochefort and the first period ended tied at 1-1.

Firewagon hockey was on tap for the second period, which began with Michel Goulet converting on the power play at 2:52 from Bruce Bell and  Peter Stastny. The Kings countered when Phil Sykes shot found the back of the net at 3:12 from Doug Smith at even strength. Los Angeles regained the lead at 3-2 when Nicholls 10th goal of the season and second of the game came at 7:55 from Gary Galley and Jim Fox.

Gaulin looked to be the hero for the Nordiques when he got not only his first goal of the season at 14:34, from Tony Mckegney and Gillis, but also his second at 16:57, again from Gillis and Randy Moller to put the Nordiques ahead 4-3 at the end of the second period with Quebec showing a narrow 20-19 edge in shots through two.

With Bell off for Quebec, Nicholls completed his hat trick with his 12th goal of the season at 3:34 from Mark Hardy to tie the game at 4-4. Through the rest of regulation, both goalies stood their ground and, despite 7 shots for the Kings and 8 for the Nordiques, the game remained tied after 60 minutes of play and the game moved to overtime.

While overtime had been a part of the NHL, it had been eliminated in November of 1942 due to war time restrictions and was not reinstated until the 1983-84 season.

After Los Angeles missed on their first shot, Nicholls entered the history books with not only his fourth goal of the game from Craig Redmond and Hardy at 2:57 on a power play to win the game 5-4 for the Kings, but he became the first player in NHL history to score a goal in all four periods of a game, as his three previous goals had each come in a separate period.

The win was the third in a row for Los Angeles and their winning streak would eventually extend to seven straight to not only balance out their dismal start but see them climb above .500 with a 10-7-3 record. Oddly, the streak came to an end at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets, who visited The Forum in Los Angeles for - two consecutive games, winning both to pay back the Kings for the treatment they received in Winnipeg when the Kings finally won their first game of the season a month earlier.

The Jets and Kings would repeat the two consecutive games in Winnipeg in December and again in Los Angeles in January, as well as having the Kings play the St. Louis Blues on back to back nights in St. Louis on January 25th and 26th in what must have been an effort to reduce the Kings travel demands, but the oddest part of their schedule was from March 23rd to the 29th when they played three consecutive games versus the Calgary Flames over seven days. The Kings lost the first game in Los Angeles 4-3, dropped the second 4-2, again in LA four nights later, before the two teams travelled to Calgary to meet yet again on the  29th, where the Flames won their third game in a row 3-0.

Nicholls would go on to score an even 100 points that season from 46 goals and 54 assists to finish second on the club in scoring behind Marcel Dionne. Nicholls would play nine seasons for the Kings, highlighted by his spectacular 70 goal, 150 point season in 1988-89. He is one of only eight players to score 70 goals and one of only five to ever score 150 points in NHL history.

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Nicholls would score 46 goals and 100 points  in 1984-85

Nicholls would eventually play 17 seasons in the NHL including stints with the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks. He would play in 1,127 games, scoring 475 goals and 1,209 points.

Today's featured jersey is a 1984-85 Los Angeles Kings Bernie Nicholls jersey as worn the night he became the first player in NHL history to ever score a goal in all four periods of a game. After 12 years of wearing their original jerseys, the Kings introduced a modernized jersey for the 1980-81 season, adopting the same template used by the Philadelphia Flyers since 1983.

This style would be used by Los Angeles through the 1987-88 season without any variations, sharing the same colors as the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA. For the 1988-89 season, wholesale changes would be in store with the arrival of Gretzky when an all new jersey and logo arrived, this time in the black and silver of the Los Angeles Raiders of the NFL. The only patch worn by the Kings on this style jersey would commemorate their 20th Anniversary patch in 1986-87.

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Today's video is from Legends Night when the Kings honored Nicholls on December 10, 2011.



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