For a decade, the Edmonton Oilers dominated the National Hockey League playoffs. From 1983 to 1992, Edmonton won five Stanley Cups, six Campbell Conference championships, and eight Smythe Division banners.
Seven future Hall-of-Famers suited up for Edmonton during this period. They and their teammates made a habit of breaking records during the Oilers’ annual postseason march. Sometimes they would even break their own marks before the ink had barely dried in the record book.
With a pair of generational players who are just entering their mid-20s, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, the modern-day Oilers could yet do some record-setting of their own in the postseasons to come. But there are some franchise records in Oilers playoff history that are just so incredible, they may never be touched. Here are five of them:
Most Points, One Playoff Year: Wayne Gretzky (47)
While leading the Oilers to their second Stanley Cup triumph in 1985, Wayne Gretzky scored 17 goals and recorded 30 assists to set the NHL record with 47 points – a total “The Great One” amassed in a mere 18 games.
Gretzky had 5 points (0 goals, 5 assists) in 3 games against the Los Angeles Kings in the Smythe Division Semi-Final; 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists) in 4 games against the Winnipeg Jets in the Smythe Final; 18 points (4 goals, 14 assists) in 6 games against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Campbell Conference Final; and 11 points (7 goals, 4 assists) in 5 games against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Final.
Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins got close to Gretzky’s mark with 44 points (16 goals, 28 assists) in 1991. Lemieux, however, played 23 games for an average of 1.91 points, while Gretzky averaged 2.61 in 1985. Imagine how many points No. 99 would have totaled if the Oilers hadn’t made such quick work of their opponents (Edmonton lost just three times in the 1985 postseason) and he had played a few more games.
Gretzky also owns the NHL record for most assists in one playoff year, with 31 in 1988 when the Oilers won their fourth Cup.
Most Three-or-More Goal Games, One Playoff Series: Jari Kurri (3)
Jari Kurri was on another level in the 1985 playoffs, when he scored 19 goals, which is tied for the NHL record. Twelve of those goals came during the Oilers’ 4-2 victory over Chicago in the Campbell Conference Final, which stands alone as an NHL record. But of all the records Kurri set that postseason, it’s his three hat tricks in six games against the Blackhawks that are most mind-blowing.
The Finnish forward scored three times in Games 2 and 5, both Oilers wins and had four goals in Edmonton’s series-clinching Game 6 victory at Chicago Stadium. He just missed a fourth hat trick, with two goals in the Oilers’ Game 1 win. All told, the Oilers scored 44 goals in the series, which – you guessed it – also set a record.
Kurri, it warrants mentioning, also shares the NHL playoff records for most power-play goals in a game (3, against Los Angeles in 1981) and short-handed goals in a period and game (2, against Chicago in 1983).
Fastest Three Goals: Petr Klima (5:13)
Petr Klima’s playoff legacy in Edmonton will forever be his unforgettable goal in the third overtime of Game 1 of the 1990 Stanley Cup Final that gave the Oilers a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins at the Boston Garden. But the Czech winger’s record-setting moment came the following spring.
On May 4, 1991, in the first period of Game 2 of the Campbell Conference Final, Klima scored three times in a span of just 5:13, turning a 1-0 advantage for the visiting Minnesota North Stars into a 3-1 lead for the Oilers.
Klima first put the puck past Minnesota goalie Jon Casey at the 6:14 mark, notched his second goal on the power-play at 8:23, and completed the natural hat trick at 11:27, sending a hail of hats to the ice at Northlands Coliseum. His offensive outburst shattered Edmonton’s previous mark for fastest three goals in a playoff game, 10:41, which Gretzky had established against the Flames in 1983.
Most Penalties, One Game: Lee Fogolin (7)
If you need proof that the ‘80s were a different time, consider that in Game 1 of Edmonton’s 2021 North Division semi-final series against the Winnipeg Jets, there was a total of one penalty called totaling two minutes. In Game 4 of the 1983 Smythe Division Final, a 6-5 loss to the Calgary Flames at the Stampede Corral on April 18, then-captain Lee Fogolin was assessed a whopping seven penalties, totaling 28 minutes.
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Fogolin’s infractions included: four minor penalties (two cross-checking, one high sticking, one hooking); two majors (both for fighting; Tim Hunter in the opening period and Kari Eloranta in the third); and a game misconduct, which came after his second scrap. Four of Fogolin’s penalties came in the first period, which is tied for the franchise record.
That 1983 series against the Flames, a 4-1 win for Edmonton, also saw Oilers records established for most penalty minutes in a game (Dave Semenko, 35) and a period (Semenko, 35), as a well as the Oilers’ opposition records for penalty minutes in a game (Hunter, 29) and a period (Jim Peplinski, 25). Safe to say, these teams weren’t particularly fond of one another.
Most Games Appeared in by a Goaltender: Grant Fuhr (111)
Over his 10 years in Edmonton, Grant Fuhr suited up for a franchise-record 111 postseason games, 70 more than the next goalie on the list, Bill Ranford.
Fuhr went 74-32, posting a goals-against average of 3.04 and a .896 save percentage in his Oilers’ playoff career. He was 14-5 for the Oilers in Stanley Cup Final games, winning three Cup-clinching games. In 1988, he became the first goalie to win 16 games in a single postseason, playing every minute of the Oilers’ run to their fourth Stanley Cup title.
To put 111 games in perspective, reaching 112 would require playing the maximum possible 28 games (four series, seven games) for four straight years. The Oilers have played 106 postseason games total since Fuhr’s last playoff appearance with Edmonton in 1991.
Even with Draisaitl and McDavid in the lineup, the Oilers have only played four games in each of the last two postseasons (a 3-1 Stanley Cup Qualifiers loss to Chicago in 2020, and a 4-0 North Division Semi-Final loss to the Winnipeg Jets in 2021. It will take a lot more for the Dynamic Duo or any of their teammates to make a run at these records.
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports writer and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the Edmonton Oil Kings 2013-14 Memorial Cup championship season.