In the ninth installment of our series on the NHL in the 1980s, we focus on the 1987-88 season.
It was a year when fans were kick-started into playoff mode in the late summer with the Canada Cup tournament, an elite best-on-best international showdown.
Here’s a look back at some of the headlines and personalities that kept fans on the edge of their seats in ’87-88.
1. GREAT & MAGNIFICENT
The 1987 Canada Cup -- contested from Aug. 28 through Sept. 15 -- proved to be one of the most memorable international tournaments of all time.
It marked the only time Gretzky and Lemieux skated on the same side in a meaningful competition during their remarkable careers. And Canada’s megastar combo didn’t disappoint. Working on the same line, they combined for nearly 30 percent of the club’s offensive production.
After a five-game round-robin schedule, Canada, Sweden, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union advanced to a one-game-elimination semifinal round. The Canadians and Soviets moved on to the best-of-3 final with victories over the Czechs and Swedes, respectively.