Oilers great Wayne Gretzky spent nine seasons in Edmonton, during which time he collected four Stanley Cups, eight Hart Trophies, seven Art Ross Trophies and more. Gretzky also possesses 61 NHL records, many of which were set during his time with the Oilers.
Although a total of four Stanley Cups would be won at Northlands Coliseum, this Gretzky moment would provide one of the most electric and memorable atmospheres ever at an Oilers game in Edmonton.
On December 30, 1981 against the Philadelphia Flyers, Wayne Gretzky scored five goals (including the final marker into an empty net with only seconds remaining) to seal a 7-5 victory for the Oilers and record a currrently untouchable record of 50 goals in 39 games.
His incredible mark shattered the previous 36-year old record held by Maurice "Rocket" Richard and Mike Bossy, who were each able to collect 50 goals in 50 games.
51-Game Point Streak
Gretzky's illustrious career featured a number of seemingly untouchable records. One of Gretzky's most amazing records is his 51-game point streak in the 1983-84 season. Not only was he able to string such an incredible stretch together, but the points accumulated during that period is, perhaps, most impressive of all.
In total, Gretzky amassed 61 goals and 92 points for an astounding total of 153 points during that stretch; on average, recording three points per game. The streak was finally broken in the LA Forum, where Gretzky would be turned aside by Kings goaltender Markus Mattsson on January 28, 1984.
Nevertheless, Gretzky's untouchable record propelled him to an 87-goal, 205-point campaign en route to the Oilers' first Stanley Cup Championship.
1985-86 Regular Season
Amidst the dominance and overall firepower that the Oilers possessed, the 1986 post-season ended abruptly and ultimately crushed the team's hopes of a third consecutive Stanley Cup championship.
The team's success was always at the forefront for Gretzky, but the unusual end to the season allowed the focus to centre on The Great One's unbelievable success offensively throughout the course of the regular season.
It's a record that will likely never be challenged. In the 1985-86 regular season, Gretzky accumulated 52 goals and 163 assists, for a total of 215 points in 80 games. Gretzky is the only NHL player to ever exceed 200 regular season points. With Gretzky in possession of the top four positions, the next closest challenger was Mario Lemieux, who had recorded 199 points in the 1988-99 campaign.
1988 Conn Smythe Trophy
In the spring of 1988, the Oilers captured their fourth Stanley Cup in five years. Wayne Gretzky was, once again, the most vital component of that championship squad as nothing appeared to slow the talented and exuberant Oilers.
With 12 goals and 43 points collected during the 19-game post-season, Gretzky was honoured with the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Stanley Cup MVP.
As it turns out, this collection of hardware would be Gretzky's final moment of excellence in an Oilers uniform, as he would be traded later in the summer to the Los Angeles Kings. Nevertheless, his performance during the 1988 playoffs and subsequent Stanley Cup MVP performance will forever be a classic moment in the minds of Oilers fans everywhere.
NHL's All-Time Playoff Points Leader
With Edmonton in search of its third Stanley Cup after falling short a season prior in 1986, Gretzky led the way with another record-breaking performance in the spring of 1987.
On April 9, 1987, Gretzky recorded his 177th career playoff point against the Los Angeles Kings in game two of the Smythe Division semi-finals.
It was a record-setting night on several fronts. The Oilers went on to defeat the Kings in a 13-3 thumping, setting an NHL record for goals scored in a single playoff game (eclipsing the Montreal Canadiens' 1944 record of 11), on the back of Gretzky's seven points.
Gretzky not only surpassed the record of 176 career playoff points previously set by Jean Beliveau, but did so in emphatic fashion as he concluded the night with 183.
1987 Canada Cup
Gretzky had quite clearly taken ownership of the hockey world by the time the 1987 Canada Cup took place. After leading the Oilers to three Stanley Cup Championships in four seasons, Gretzky prepared to capture fame on the international stage with one of the greatest single-tournament performances in Canadian hockey history.
In nine games, Gretzky posted an incredible tournament-leading 21 points as he skated on a line with Mario Lemieux. Although his entire body of work was well represented throughout the tournament, no other moment could match the electricity of one particular play in the final game against the Soviets.
"Lemieux ahead to Gretzky. Has Murphy with him on a two-on-one. To Lemieux, in on goal, he shoots, he scores! Mario Lemieux with 1:26 remaining!"
As the late Dan Kelly called the play, Gretzky assisted on Lemieux's game-winning goal to push Canada into the lead late in the third period, sealing victory for the home nation and providing Canadian hockey fans with an unforgettable memory.
In a distinguished NHL career that saw The Great One total an incredible 2,857 points, surpassing the 1,850 mark was one of Gretzky's most impressive career moments.
On October 15, 1989 against the Oilers, Gretzky offficially became the NHL's all-time leading point-scorer at the age of 28. Gretzky scored twice and added an assist on this night to surpass Gordie Howe's total that was amassed over 26 seasons.
Gretzky, always known for dramatics and on-ice heroism, sniped a backhand shot with just over a minute left in the game to record his 1,851st point as an NHLer. In true Edmonton form, the Northlands Coliseum crowd erupted in applause in appreciation of yet another incredible record added to an already lengthly professional resume.
1994 Art Ross Trophy
Gretzky's reception of the 1994 Art Ross Trophy was yet another example of The Great One's continuous record-setting ability.
It was Gretzky's 10th time being recognized with the NHL's top point-scoring hardware. Even more impressively, the feat was achieved at 33 years of age. Gretzky became the oldest recipient of the trophy since Gordie Howe captured the award in 1963 at age 35.
Both Howe and Mario Lemieux each received the award six times in their respective careers, while Gretzky further expanded his record with the 1994 prize.
Goal-scoring milestones were happening with great regularity throughout The Great One's career, but his 802nd career goal was perhaps the most amazing. Both on an individual level and for the NHL's all-time leaders in this category, Gretzky accomplished something special.
With the Vancouver Canucks in town on March 23, 1994 to take on the Kings, a new NHL leader was in goal-scoring was crowned. After taking a centering pass, Gretzky one-timed the puck from the bottom of the circle to beat an out-of-position Kirk McLean.
The goal pushed Gretzky into the top spot among NHL goal-scoring leaders, putting childhood hero Gordie Howe in the second slot. Gretzky would add 94 more goals in his incredible NHL career, but the moment of "802" will always me one of the most memorable.
Once an Oiler, Always an Oiler
On October 1, 1999, the Oilers honoured the incredible career of Wayne Gretzky by raising his number 99 to the rafters at Skyreach Centre.
"The years here have been nothing but wonderful, nothing but great," said a teary-eyed Gretzky as he addressed the sold-out crowd.
Although the ceremony was emotional for all Oilers fans, it would not be the final time that Gretzky would don Oilers silks in front of his beloved supporters. On November 22, 2003 at Commonwealth Stadium, Gretzky returned to the orange and blue as he participated in the festivities at the inaugural Heritage Classic.
This special event was the only time that Gretzky would play in an alumni event, making the sight even more special for those in attendance. Although it came four years after his official retirement ceremony, this moment would truly be Gretzky's swan song to the dedicated Edmonton fans.