Wednesday, January 4, 2012
17,498 fans filed into the Northlands Coliseum on this date in 1984 as the Edmonton Oilers were set to host the Minnesota North Stars. Grant Fuhr got the start for the Oilers, opposed by Minnesota's Don Beaupre.
At 2:07 into the game, Glenn Anderson got the scoring started with his 25th goal of the season on an assist from Mark Messier, with the goal coming at even strength. Wayne Gretzky extended the Oilers lead to 2-0 at 7:41 with his even strength goal from Charlie Huddy. It was Gretzky's 44th goal of the season, coming just two seconds after a North Stars penalty had expired.
With Dave Hunter in the penalty box for the Oilers, Minnesota got on the board when Dennis Maruk got his 10th of the season from Neal Broten and Dino Ciccarelli at 9:11.
With the feisty Gordie Roberts off for Minnesota, Edmonton restored their two goal lead when Jari Kurri scored a power play goal from Gretzky and Huddy at 15:20. Gretzky's assist extended his NHL record to 17 consecutive games with an assist, his 38th assist during the streak.
Two and a half minutes later, the North Stars struck back when Ciccarelli scored his 23rd goal from Maruk and Brad Maxwell at even strength at 17:55, still in the first period.
25 seconds later, Kurri would score his second of the period from Gretzky at even strength matched by Gretzky's second of the game 38 seconds later to make the score after just one period 5-2 in favor of the Oilers.
When the teams returned to the ice for the second period, Gilles Meloche had replaced Beaupre in the North Stars goal. Minnesota came out flying, determined to get back into the game, and in the blink of an eye, Ciccarelli has his second goal of the night from Maruk and Mark Napier at just 25 seconds. The North Stars then cut the Oilers lead to 5-4 when defenseman Maxwell netted his 12th of the season on a power play with Anderson in the box for the Oilers at 1:22.
Kurri completed his 7th career hat trick with his 38th of the year from Gretzky at 3:54, stemming the tide of the North Stars comeback - at least temporarily, as Steve Payne's 11th of the season from Broten and Willi Plett just 40 seconds later kept Minnesota within one at 6-5.
Just over three minutes later, Edmonton converted on the power play with Coffey's 20th from Gretzky and Messier at 7:31 with Brian Lawton off for Minnesota. The scoring binge subsided temporarily until the plucky North Stars got their fourth of the period from Brian Bellows, his 21st of the season at 11:27 from Napier and George Ferguson.
Taking a break from the scoring, Ken Linseman of Edmonton fought Napier at 11:50, followed by Randy Gregg's fight with Bellows less than a minute later at 12:30. Bellows received an extra minor, which put Edmonton on the power play, which they converted 16 seconds later as Gretzky completed his hat trick with his 46th goal from Anderson and Messier. The hat trick was the 24th of Gretzky's career.
Swede Willy Lindstrom joined the offensive fireworks at 14:59 from Messier and Kevin Lowe at 14:59 and Gretzky scored his 47th goal of the season, his fourth goal of the night and eighth point of the game with his goal from Messier and Kurri even strength at 17:23. Messier's fourth assist was his fifth of the game and he set an Oilers record with four coming in the span of the last 9:52.
The second period ended with the Oilers leading 10-6, thanks to their three consecutive goals to in the latter half of the period which gave them their largest lead of the night.
Despite giving up six goals, Fuhr stayed in the Oilers net for the third period thanks to the healthy Oilers lead, while the North Stars elected to stay with Meloche, as Beaupre likely wanted nothing more of the Oilers on this night.
Minnesota still had some fight left in them, as they struck back at 2:20 of the third with Keith Acton's 11th from Maxwell and Roberts, followed by Craig Hartsburg's 7th from Plett on the power play at 3:35 with Anderson back in the box.
Coffey got one back for the Oilers from Messier and Anderson at 7:10. It was Messier's sixth assist of the game. It would take over eight minutes for the next goal to arrive, the longest gap in scoring for the entire game. Gregg's 10th of the season came at 15:22 from Kevin McCelland and Pat Hughes to make the score 12-8 and send the media scrambling for their record books, as the goal was the 20th of the game, the most in the NHL since a a 21 goal game between the Toronto St. Patricks and Montreal Canadiens back on January 10, 1920 won by Montreal 14-7 nearly 64 years earlier.
With just over four and half minutes remaining, fans were hoping to witness history, but the record-tying goal never arrived, as the final stood at 12-8 despite a Minnesota power play at 17:01.
Of note, both teams had identical 12 shots on goal for each and every period, giving them 36 each for the game. Fuhr got credit for the win after making 28 saves on 36 shots, while Meloche took the loss after making 17 saves on 24 shots, while Beaupre made 7 saves on 12 shots.
This would prove to be the greatest night of Gretzky's career, with 8 points from 4 goals and 4 assists. He had one previous 8 point night earlier the same season back on November 19, 1983, which came on 3 goals and 5 assists.
Today's featured jersey is a 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky jersey. The Oilers would go on to win the Stanley Cup at the conclusion of the season, and interestingly, each of the four times the Oilers would win the cup with Gretzky as captain, it would be at home in their white jerseys.
When Edmonton first entered the NHL in 1979 following the demise of the WHA, they changed the colors of crest of their jerseys but, aside from minor detail changes to fonts for names and numbers and some tweaking of shades of color, kept the same style for 17 seasons, which included their Stanley Cup dynasty of the 1980's.
Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1983-84 Minnesota North Stars Craig Hartsburg jersey. With the North Stars being 40% responsible for the 20 goals scored in their game with Edmonton on this date in 1984, it only seems fair to include them in today's entry.
This jersey was first worn in 1978, but this was the only season the Pedersons brand appeared on the rear hem of the North Stars jerseys, being replaced by a different local customizer the following season.
Oddly, in 1981-82, the North Stars added black to their home white jerseys in the form of a third black stripe to the waist, black cuffs on the sleeves and black outlines on their main crest and number in an effort to look tougher, but surprisingly chose to leave the green road jerseys as is, not adding the black to them until 1988, sticking with today's featured style some seven additional seasons.
Today's video selection are highlights from the offensive explosion which resulted in the most goals scored in over 60 years in the NHL.