Friday, February 3, 2012

Sam Gagner goes off.

Oiler defenceman Ryan Whitney tweeted after teammate Sam Gagner's 8 point game,

"What a sick night. When he got his 8th point Darryl Sittler's heart rate must have just skyrocketed. 8 points now is like getting 14 in 80s"

An eight point game is indeed "sick". It's only the 14th time in NHL history that a player has scored at least eight points in a regular season game. Indeed scoring is currently far lower now than in the 1980's, but is eight points now really the equivalent of 14 in the 1980's or was Whitney exaggerating a bit? Well in 1981/82 there was an average of 8.02 combined goals scored per game, this year it is 5.50. This means that 8 points today is the same as 11.63 points back then. Wow, sure Whitney was a bit over-zealous with his math, but maybe he is on to something.

Let's put all the 8 point games on an even playing field using Darryl Sittler's 1975/76 campaign as a nice middle ground, a season in which the average goals per game was 6.82. Here they are in chronological order, adjusted to the 75/76 level.

Adjusted Eight Point Games

  1. Maurice Richard, 1944/45 8.62

  2. Bert Olmstead, 1953/54 11.34

  3. Darryl Sittler, 1975/76 10.00

  4. Tom Bladon, 1977/78 8.28

  5. Bryan Trottier, 1978/79 7.79

  6. Peter Stastny, 1980/81 7.10

  7. Anton Stastny, 1980/81 7.10

  8. Wayne Gretzky, 1983/84 6.91

  9. Wayne Gretzky, 1983/84 6.91

  10. Paul Coffey, 1985/86 6.87

  11. Patrik Sundstrom, 1987/88 7.29 Playoffs

  12. Mario Lemieux, 1988/89 7.29

  13. Bernie Nicholls, 1988/89 7.29

  14. Mario Lemieux, 1988/89 7.29

  15. Mario Lemieux, 1988/89 8.37 Playoffs

  16. Sam Gagner, 2011/12 9.92

Well, there you go. Sam Gagner's 8 point night is the equivalent of just about a 10 point game in 1975/76. Bert Olmstead's 8 point game looks to be the most impressive due to the fact in that season there were an average of only 4.81 goals per game scored.

Incidentally, Gagner's feat is said to have equalled the Edmonton Oiler record held by Gretzky and Coffey, true if we're talking only the NHL years. However in 1973/74, Jim Harrison poured in 10 points in one WHA game. Equalized to NHL 1975/76 levels it translates to a still impressive 9.37 point game.

As for Sam Gagner, his 8 point game equalled the amount of points that he had in his previous 15 matches.

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