September 12, 2014

1985-86: Unbeatable Oilers Beat Themselves

The Three Stars:

Poor Steve Smith - The two time Stanley Cup champion Edmonton Oilers were heavily favored to "three-peat" but they ran into trouble with provincial rival Calgary in the second round of the playoffs. The see-saw battle between the two bitter Alberta foes lasted seven games and was decided on a fluke play. Oilers defenseman Steve Smith attempted a pass up ice from behind his net. But he inadvertently shot the puck off of the back of the leg of goalie Grant Fuhr and into his own net, giving Calgary the margin of victory.

Coffey Breaks Orr's Record - It wasn't all bad news for Edmonton defensemen. Paul Coffey broke Bobby Orr's record of 46 goals by a defenseman when he reaches 48. He finishes with 138 points, just one shy of Orr's record for points. Eight of Coffey's points came in one night vs Detroit, tying Tom Bladon's record for most points by a dman in one game. Not surprisingly Coffey won his second straight Norris trophy this season.

Lindbergh Killed In Car Accident - After celebrating the Flyers 10th straight victory with a night out on the town, 26 year old goalie Pelle Lindbergh dies after crashing his Porsche into a concrete wall. Lindbergh's blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit while he was speeding excessively as well.

Season Highlights:
  • Wayne Gretzky sets NHL records for most assists in a season (163) and most points (215), breaking his own records. The second highest scorer? Mario Lemieux with 141. Needless to say Gretz won the Art Ross, Hart and Pearson trophies, again. 
  • John Vanbiesbrouck emerges as a bright light on Broadway and paces the New York Rangers with 31 wins and the Vezina trophy.
  • Philadelphia's Tim Kerr posted his third of four straight 50 goal seasons. This time the big man set a NHL record with 34 power play goals.
  • Mike Bossy scores his 500th career goal, setting a new record by doing it in just his 647th game. 
  • A couple of fresh faces lead the Montreal Canadiens - namely Swede Mats Naslund (110 points) and rookie goalie Patrick Roy. Roy really heated up in the playoffs, winning 15 of 20 starts with a 1.92 GAA. The rookie led Montreal to their 22nd Stanley Cup, defeating the Calgary Flames. Roy was singled out as the Conn Smythe trophy winner as playoff MVP.
  • Another Habs rookie emerged as a goal scoring hero - Claude Lemieux. And Brian Skrudland set a NHL record by scoring just 9 seconds into overtime in game 2 of the final. 

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