For one period on March 6, 1984, Dale Hawerchuk was the greatest playmaker in NHL history.
Hawerchuk and the Winnipeg Jets spent much of the 1980s in the long shadow cast by Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers. But during the second period of the Jets' game against the Los Angeles Kings at the Forum in Inglewood, California, Hawerchuk seemed to be able to put the puck wherever he wanted.
Hawerchuk probably should have had a first-period assist, but Paul MacLean hit the post on a 3-on-0 break and Kings goaltender Markus Mattson made a spectacular save on Randy Carlyle's rebound shot.
The Jets led 1-0 after one period before Hawerchuk and the Jets blew the game open in the second.
The first beneficiary was Morris Lukowich, who took a pass from Hawerchuk and beat Mattson at 3:31. After the Kings tied the game on goals 56 seconds apart by Terry Ruskowski and Charlie Simmer, Hawerchuk helped put the Jets in front to stay when he fed defenseman Wade Campbell, whose shot beat Mattson at 7:45 to make it 3-2.
Video: Memories: Hawerchuk sets record with five assists
MacLean, whose first-period power-play goal gave the Jets their first lead, made it 4-2 when he scored a power-play goal assisted by Carlyle and Hawerchuk at 9:29, then completed his hat trick at 13:27 for a 5-2 lead, with Hawerchuk getting the lone assist.
To top off his big period, Hawerchuk assisted on another goal by Lukowich, this one with nine seconds remaining, for a 6-2 lead. Each team scored once in the third period, giving the Jets a 7-3 win.
"We always seem to get it together down here [in Los Angeles]," a modest Hawerchuk said after his historic night. "It's so far from home … we have only ourselves to care about."
The five assists gave Hawerchuk 82 points in 65 games. He finished with 102 (37 goals, 65 assists) to help the Jets qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs - where they ran into Gretzky and the Oilers, who swept the best-of-5 series.
Hawerchuk retired after 16 NHL seasons with 1,409 points (518 goals, 891 assists) and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997. His five-assist period set an NHL record that has never been broken; 70 players have had four assists in a period, but Hawerchuk still is the only player with five.