For one night, Sam Gagner wasn’t the disappointing young Edmonton Oilers forward in a sea of flourishing ones. Instead, Gagner stunned the Chicago Blackhawks with a four-goal, four assist performance, matching Oilers legends Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey with eight points in a single game (a franchise record).
Check out highlights from that 8-4 win in which No. 89 looked an awful lot like No. 99:
“I think this is the only situation I can ever have my name mentioned in their breath,” Gagner told the NHL Network following the game. “It’s really an honor to have a night like this and be mentioned in that class, even if it’s only for tonight.”
Gagner is just the 11th player in NHL history to accomplish this task and the first in 23 years. (He joins Mario Lemieux as the only player whose eight points figured into all of his team’s goals, by the way.)
Be honest, if you were to name Oilers forwards who would have pulled this off, where would Gagner rank? With those eight points, Gagner now has nine goals and 21 assists for 30 points on the season; that means he almost doubled his season goals total in a single game.
These are the kinds of results that the Oilers envisioned when they made him the sixth overall pick of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. His career-high of 49 points came in 2007-08, but one cannot wonder if this might be a breakthrough moment.
Naturally, many of you must wonder where Gagner’s performance ranks among the all-time greatest single-game outputs. Here’s a handy chart of the players who’ve recorded at least eight points in one contest:
|Darryl Sittler||Toronto Maple Leafs||7-Feb-76||10|
|Maurice Richard||Montreal Canadiens||28-Dec-44||8|
|Bert Olmstead||Montreal Canadiens||1-Jan-54||8|
|Tom Bladon||Philadelphia Flyers||11-Dec-77||8|
|Bryan Trottier||New York Islanders||23-Dec-78||8|
|Anton and Peter Stastny||Quebec Nordiques||22-Feb-81||8|
|Wayne Gretzky||Edmonton Oilers||19-Nov-83||8|
|Wayne Gretzky||Edmonton Oilers||4-Jan-84||8|
|Paul Coffey||Edmonton Oilers||14-Mar-86||8|
|Patrik Sundstrom||New Jersey Devils||22-Apr-88||8|
|Mario Lemieux||Pittsburgh Penguins||15-Oct-88||8|
|Bernie Nicholls||Los Angeles Kings||1-Dec-88||8|
|Mario Lemieux||Pittsburgh Penguins||31-Dec-88||8|
|Mario Lemieux||Pittsburgh Penguins||25-Apr-89||8|
|Sam Gagner||Edmonton Oilers||2-Feb-12||8|
(Editor’s note: The 1980’s were ridiculous, particularly Mario Lemieux from 88-89.)
So here’s the takeaway: Gagner reached the same one-game peak as Gretzky, Lemieux, Maurice Richard and Coffey. Yes, that’s amazing and totally unexpected.