During the Oilers 40th Anniversary Season, EdmontonOilers.com is looking back at the history of the franchise weekly with Throwback Thursdays.
EDMONTON, AB - It's the home stretch.
A productive rush to the end of the regular season after the all-star break can be the final push that gets a team into the playoffs or wins a player the scoring title.
For the Oilers, it started with Wayne Gretzky. Present day, Connor McDavid's second-half performances are stacking up with the best of them.
Wayne Gretzky was named an all-star in his first NHL season at the ripe age of 19 before going on to post 50 points (19G, 31A) in 28 games during the final stretch, winning his first-career Hart and Lady Byng trophies.
Number 99 continued his torrent pace, recording 14 goals and 59 assists in 27 games (a point-per-game total of 2.7) after the 1986 All-Star Game in Hartford, Connecticut in what would be The Great One's greatest season of 215 points in 80 games.
Paul Coffey contributed behind Gretzky from the blue line that season scoring 22 times in 28 contests, including eight multi-goal games. The rearguard had 48 on the season, breaking Bobby Orr's previous record for most goals in a season by a defenceman of 46.
Mark Messier reached a career high with 129 points (45G, 84A) in '89-90 with 18 goals and 27 assists in 31 games post-break. It would also be the last time an Oiler would surpass 100 points for seven seasons before Doug Weight achieved the feat in 1995-96 thanks in large part to a late surge that included 10 goals and 32 assists in the final 36 games of the regular season.
Skip forward 20 years now to McDavid's rookie season. After missing three months with a broken clavicle, the first game following the 2016 All-Star Game gave the rookie the platform to make his long-awaited return.
He had a goal and two assists against the Columbus Blue Jackets in his first game back from injury, most notably finding the back of the net with this memorable breakaway and finish past goalkeeper Joonas Korpisalo.
Video: CBJ@EDM: McDavid finds the net in return from injury
He wouldn't win the Calder Memorial Trophy for league's best rookie with 48 points (16G, 32A) in 45 games, but It was a sign of things to come for McDavid post All-Star break.
The ensuing season, McDavid reached the 100-point plateau on the final day of the regular season against the Vancouver Canucks with two assists, finishing the second half with 13 tallies and 28 helpers in 31 games and winning his first-career Hart Memorial Trophy.
The Oilers captain hit a new gear last season in the final 33 games, posting 26 goals and 28 assists at a 1.64 point-per-game pace. On February 5, McDavid notched four goals and an assist in a 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning as part of a three-game point streak of five goals and three assists.
With McDavid in a battle for his third Art Ross trophy, Leon Draisaitl operating at a rate of 61 points in 50 games this season and the club three points out of a playoff spot, it's moving time for the Oilers.