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December 31st

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December 31st
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1954:  Former North Stars center Terry Ruskowski born in Prince Albert, Sask.  Ruskowski played in the NHL 1979-80 through 1988-89.

1960:  Former NHL assistant coach Kurt Kleinendorst born in Grand Rapids, MN.  Kleinendorst served as Assistant Coach in the league with New Jersey, starting in 2000-01, and served as the MN Wild AHL affiliate - Iowa Wild first Head Coach in franchise history.

1965:  Former North Stars right winger Peter Lappin born in St. Charles, Illinois.  Lappin played in the NHL 1989-90 through 1991-92.

1968:  Detroit's Gordie Howe became the first player in NHL history to score 50 (or more) points 20 times in his career.  He reached the milestone with a goal and three assists in a 6-3 win over the visiting North Stars.

1975:  The Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA announced that the "franchise was broke and that the team would play without pay, hoping that a new owner could be found in the meantime".  This began a saga in which the players were paid only once in the following 2 months before the team officially folded on February 28, 1976.

1978:  Al MacAdam scored a goal and two assists as the North Stars lost 8-5 to the visiting Soviet Wings, in Minnesota's first exhibition game against a touring Soviet squad.

1979:  Tim Young scored two goals and an assist, and Al MacAdam had a goal and two assists as the Minnesota North Stars extended their team-record home undefeated streak to 9 straight games (7-0-2), with a 4-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

1981:  Minnesota sold Kevin Maxwell to Colorado along with the rights to Jim Dobson, in exchange for cash.

1984:  MN North Stars picked up the 500th victory in franchise history, 4-3 over the visiting New York Islanders.

1986:  Brian MacLellan scored a goal and added two assists as the North Stars won 5-2 over the Hartford Whalers in Minnesota.

1988:  Joel Otto scored two goals and added an assist in the first period as the Flames tied 4-4 with the Winnipeg Jets, in Calgary.

1988:  Minnesota's Dino Ciccarelli scored his 14th career hat trick before the game was 24 minutes old, and Dave Gagner had two goals and two assists as the North Stars went on to beat the Blues 6-2, at the Met Center.

1991:  Minnesota's Brian Bellows scored four goals (for his 7th career hat trick) and tied a team record with three power play goals in the North Stars' 6-2 win against Chicago. (Mike Modano assisted on 3 of Bellows goals).

1991:  Dave Christian played in his 900th career NHL game as the Blues lost 4-3 at Buffalo.

1993:  As a part of the 1992 strike settlement, the NHL and Bruce McNall's Multivision Marketing and Public Relations Co. organized 26 regular season games in cities without a franchise as a litmus test for future expansion.  The Philadelphia Flyers-4 vs. Boston Bruins-3 game was held at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis before 10,855 fans.  Following the game, the North Stars previously held tradition of playing on New Year's Eve and holding a post-game skate on the ice was also continued following the game.

1993:  Steve Yzerman scored a goal and added two assists as the Red Wings outshot the Kings 55-18, but Robb Stauber made 51 saves for L.A. and the game ended in a 4-4 tie at Detroit.

2000:  Scott Pellerin scored a goal and added an assist as the Wild extended its unbeaten streak to 6 straight games with a 3-2 win against the visiting Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

2002:  Chris Osgood made 38 saves for his second shutout in three games (and the 36th of his career), and Jason Blake scored the winning goal at 1:36 of overtime as the Islanders won 1-0 against the Sabres at Buffalo.

2002:  Minnesota Wild recorded the 50th home win in franchise history, 4-1 over the visiting Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

2003:  Jason Blake scored twice and added two assists, and rookie Trent Hunter had his third 2-goal game in the Islanders 6-1 win over the Penguins at Pittsburgh.

2005:  Pascal Dupuis took 8 shots on goal for the Wild, but went scoreless in a 4-3 win vs Vancouver.

2006:  Minnesota Wild scored three power play goals in a 4-3 victory over the visiting Ducks.

2007:  Boston's Mark Stuart scored a goal to break a tie a period after brother Colin scored his first NHL goal for Atlanta, as the Bruins had a 5-2 win over the visiting Thrashers.

2008:  Defenseman Brent Burns scored at 1:38 of overtime (after picking up two earlier assists) to give the Wild a 3-2 win over the visiting San Jose Sharks.

2008:  Peter Mueller scored twice in a span of 2:05 in the second period to lead the Coyotes to a 3-1 win over the visiting Colorado Avalanche.

2016:  For the 1st time in ALL professional sports history (NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL) two teams met with 12+ game winning streaks when the Minnesota Wild and Columbus BlueJackets played.  The BlueJackets defeated the Wild 4-2 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul to extend Columbus' winning streak to 15 games, and ending the Wilds' at 12. With the loss, the Wild closed out the calendar year winning 12 of it's last 13 games.

Tag(s): This Day In MN History