The National Hockey League's (NHL) first superstar was "Phantom" Joe Malone. A two-time National Hockey Association (NHA) scoring champion, Malone scored five goals for the Montreal Canadiens in a 7–4 victory over the Ottawa Senators on the NHL's opening night. Malone went on to record a league-leading 44 goals in 20 games in 1917–18. He again led the NHL in scoring in 1919–20, scoring 39 goals in 24 games with the Quebec Bulldogs.
Malone was noted for numerous multi-goal games. In the league's inaugural season, Malone had three five-goal games. On January 20, 1920, Malone scored seven goals in one game against the Toronto St. Patricks, a record that still stands today. He also scored scored six goals on March 10 of the same year.
Malone started his professional career with the Quebec Bulldogs in 1909; he played with the Bulldogs until 1917, and again in 1919–20. He played for the Montreal Canadiens from 1917 to 1919, and from 1922 to 1924. When Quebec moved to Hamilton to become the Tigers, Malone remained part of the team for two seasons from 1920 to 1922. He finished his professional career with 343 goals and 32 assists during 15 seasons.
Malone won three Stanley Cups: he won it twice consecutively with the Bulldogs in 1912 and 1913, and in his final season of playing, in 1924, with Montreal. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1950, and in 1998, he was ranked 38th on The Hockey News' 100 Greatest Ice Hockey Players.