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Raising the Cup: Game 4 - 1988 Stanley Cup Final

by Staff / Edmonton Oilers
HIGHLIGHTS: 1984 - Game 5 vs. New York Islanders

HIGHLIGHTS: 1985 - Game 5 vs. Philadelphia
HIGHLIGHTS: 1987 - Game 7 vs. Philadelphia
HIGHLIGHTS: 1988 - Game 4 vs. Boston
HIGHLIGHTS: 1990 - Game 5 vs. Boston

For the first time since the 1980–81 season, the Edmonton Oilers did not win their division, break the 100-point mark or lead the NHL in goals. But, for the fifth time in six years, they were playing in the Stanley Cup Final. Already a dynasty with three Cups in their last four seasons, the Oilers squared off against the Boston Bruins, making their first appearance in the Final since consecutive trips in 1977 and 1978.

The defending champion Oilers cruised into the Final, losing just two games in the first three rounds, and they would continue their winning ways against the B's. Edmonton doubled up the Bruins in each of the first three games -- 2-1, 4-2 and 6-3 -- with the first two games taking place North of the Border and the last of the three on Boston ice.

Boston Garden was to be the site of Game 4 as well, and for nearly two periods, it was. With 3:23 remaining in the second, moments after the Oilers tied the score at 3-3, the lights went out in the historic arena. The sweltering heat of a late-May day in New England had already caused clouds of fog on the ice before potentially contributing to the power failure. After much deliberation from Edmonton, Boston and League officials, it was decided the game would not be finished that night.

Therefore, NHL President John Ziegler resorted to League bylaw 27-12 as to what the course of action would be: "If, for any cause beyond the control of the club, a playoff game should be unfinished, such game shall be replayed in its entirety at the end of the series, if necessary, and it shall be played in the rink in which the unfinished game occurred."

In other words, the series proceeded directly to Game 5 in Edmonton (despite no result in Game 4) and Game 4 would have only been replayed if the Bruins won the next three games to tie the series. Had that happened, the teams would have replayed Game 4 in Boston to crown a champion -- following what technically would have been called Game 7.

With the series back in Edmonton two days later, the Oilers quickly put any confusion to rest by yet again doubling up the Bruins, 6-3, to sweep the B's -- in five games. Amidst fog, blackouts and bylaws, the Oilers emerged with their fourth Cup in five seasons, matching the Islanders' four championships won in the beginning of the decade.

Wayne Gretzky, who scored the winner in the clinching game, set a record that still stands today with 31 assists in the 1988 postseason, as "The Great One" claimed the second of his two Conn Smythe Trophies. It would prove to be the final Stanley Cup of Gretzky's career, as the Edmonton captain was famously traded to the Los Angeles Kings that August, forever changing the landscape of hockey.

Author: Staff

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