Happy 50th To You: A birthday today for the inexorable Phil Esposito, who was born in 1942 on a Friday of today’s date in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario: happy 81st to him. He made a habit, on birthdays past, of scoring milestone goals: on this date in 1971, as he was turning 29, he scored for his Boston Bruins in a 5-4 loss to the Kings in Los Angeles to became the fourth player in NHL history (after Maurice Richard, Bernie Geoffrion, and Bobby Hull) to score 50 goals in a season. (He would finish, that year, with 76.) Three years to the day later, on his 32nd birthday, Esposito became to first NHLer to register four 50-goal seasons in a row as he notched a hattrick (the 21st of his career) in a 5-5 Bruins with the North Stars in Bloomington, Minnesota. That regular season he scored 68 all in. Esposito had one more landmark season left in him: the following year, 1974-75, he scored 61 goals.