Notching five goals in a single game is impressive enough, but Mario Lemieux's performance was extra special.
Lemieux's five-goal game from New Year's Eve in December 1988 against the New Jersey Devils was voted by fans as the NHL's greatest moment. Super Mario, after all, scored each of his goals in a distinct situation.
That evening, No. 66 scored on the power play, at five-on-five, shorthanded, on a penalty shot, and on an empty net.
The league made the announcement from center ice at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa as part of Saturday's NHL 100 Classic celebrations.
While supporters have often disagreed as to whether the team should play in its current arena in suburban Kanata or in downtown Ottawa, they're currently on the same page about at least one topic: the future plans of Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.
Melnyk denied speculation Friday that he wants to sell the franchise, but left open the possibility of relocating to another city if fans don't turn out in better numbers.
Those statements didn't sit well with the Senators faithful, who successfully got the hashtag #MelnykOut trending on Twitter in Canada as the team played the NHL 100 Classic outdoors in Ottawa.
Not even NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has an explanation for the alarming lack of enthusiasm about the Senators in Ottawa.
The Senators struggled to fill the Canadian Tire Centre during last year's playoff run and that trend has flowed into this season. Ottawa ranks 25th in average attendance, and last among Canadian-based teams, according to ESPN.
"You kind of scratch your head as to why attendance wasn't an issue when the team was competing for conference championships every year in the early 2000s," Daly told Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.
"From my perspective, it's a head-shaker that this team isn't doing better from an attendance standpoint and a fan's standpoint ... This is a very competitive team in a hockey market and it's not something we've experienced in Canada in probably 20 years."
Earlier this season, the Senators covered over 1,500 seats in the Canadian Tire Centre to make it easier to reach capacity.
There is widespread belief that a move from suburban Kanata to downtown Ottawa will boost turnout at the gate.
Ottawa is continuing efforts to build a new arena in the city's downtown core. Negotiations are ongoing with the National Capital Commission for the right to build at LeBreton Flats, a neighborhood situated minutes from Parliament Hill.
Mike Babcock is one of the most decorated coaches in the history of the NHL, but for the first time in his stint as the Maple Leafs' bench boss, he's over-coaching.
Toronto's once unstoppable offense has come to a screeching halt in the month of December, with the last four games evidently the low point. During this four-game stretch - all of which have been without the injured Auston Matthews - the Leafs are 1-3 and have scored just four times.
While it's reasonable to expect any team to struggle without their best player - especially when the player is one of the league's best - Matthews' absence isn't the main reason the offense has gone ice cold - Babcock is.
Babcock, like many great coaches, is a former defenseman and has always wanted his teams to prioritize goal prevention first and foremost. But, with a youthful group filled with speed and skill up front and some holes in the back end, the Leafs haven't always played to his liking - even when they've had success.
Over the last four games, Babcock has seemingly pulled out all the stops to get the Leafs to play as defensively as possible, and it's not working. That's not their identity.
For example, the Leafs held a 2-1 lead over the Flyers heading into the third period Tuesday night. Instead of trying to keep the pressure and build on their lead, Babcock had the Leafs sit back, clog the neutral zone, and simply try to "hang on" for 20 minutes. It did not work, as they wound up losing 4-2 and were outplayed in the final frame.
Sure, hindsight is 20/20, but the Leafs have more than enough speed and skill up front to apply pressure with the lead and hem an opponent in their own end for the bulk of a period.
Over the last four games, the team's ability to generate scoring chances has drastically tailed off:
SCF = Scoring Chances For HDSCF = High-Danger Scoring Chances For
Last 4 games
SCF per game
HDSCF per game
As you can see, they're generating 6.41 less scoring chances for per game, and 3.42 less of the high-danger variety.
SCA = Scoring Chances Against HDSCA = High-Danger Scoring Chances Against
Last 4 games
SCA per game
HDSCA per game
Even with the defensive mindset, the Buds are still allowing practically the same amount of scoring chances per game.
To make matters worse, Babcock's effort to prioritize defense has gone hand-in-hand with some questionable ice-time distribution. Here's a look at the ice time from their top-nine forwards in the last four games:
ATOI (last 4 games)
James van Riemsdyk
Leo Komarov is an effective bottom-six checker and a good penalty killer, but he has just one goal and two assists (both secondary) at five-on-five this year. With an even amount of penalties taken and penalties drawn by the team during this stretch, Komarov leading the forwards in ice time is inexcusable.
Meanwhile, phenoms Mitch Marner and William Nylander have played significantly less than Komarov. This doesn't even include Nylander's 8:39-minute night against Pittsburgh, which occurred one game before this sample of data.
It's also worth questioning why van Riemsdyk - the team's leader in goals with 15 - is playing the least amount of minutes among their top-nine forwards.
In order to get the Leafs back on track and keep the team afloat for however long Matthews is out, Babcock needs to give his skilled players more opportunity and freedom to create offense. Sometimes less is more. Less X's and O's, and more "letting the players play" would go a long way in helping the Leafs bust out of this mini-funk they've gotten themselves into.
Liljegren was plucked by the Maple Leafs with the 17th overall pick in last June's draft and is having a respectable first season in North America, having tallied nine points in 17 games with the Leafs' AHL affiliate.
The 18-year-old will make his world juniors debut, but is no stranger to representing his native Sweden, having suited up at the under-18, under-17, and under-16 tournaments over the last three years.