Sam Gagner gave Edmonton something it hasn't seen since the days of Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey, and something nobody's done in 23 years. Despite a scoreless first period for the Oilers, Gagner scored four goals against the Blackhawks, assisted on four more, and clocked in just the 16th eight-point game in NHL history.
We had collectively forgotten that eight points was a "thing," since it had been so long (Mario Lemieux in the 1989 playoffs), but once upon a time these were as common as four-goal games. Of the 16 ever accomplished, 13 came in a 13-year stretch beginning in 1976. Lemieux alone had three eight-pointers in the 1988-89 season.
But Sam Gagner? His has to be one of the least likely names on this list since Flyers defensemen Tom "Bomber" Bladon, whose four-goal four-assist night came against the Cleveland Barons in their second and final year of existence. Gagner is young, still just 22, and may be trade deadline fodder for the woeful Oilers. One team that's come up: the Blackhawks, who like any team could use an affordable scoring center, especially one who had such good chemistry alongside Patrick Kane in the OHL. Think Chicago's interested now?
So the Oilers' franchise record for points in a game is split three ways, with two legends and Sam Gagner sharing the crown. But what about the rest of the NHL? Here's a handy list of every team's single-game scoring leader. It's filled with the obvious (Bryan Trottier, Maurice Richard), the not-so-obvious (Eric Staal, Jaromir Jagr—in Washington), and the Predators (Zidlicky, Hamhuis, and Dumont are in a dead heat with five).
Gagner made another bit of history too, and this club's more exclusive. Afterwards the hockey writers named him the first, second and third stars of the game, an honor only previously awarded to one player for his performance: Rocket Richard, for a 5-goal night in a playoff game in 1944. (Saku Koivu and Mats Sundin also received all three stars, but for sentimental reasons. Koivu upon his return from a cancer battle, and Sundin on the night he set the Leafs' all-time goalscoring and point records.)