Alternate title: Gee, I wonder what the hockey blogosphere will be talking about today?

“Sam Gagner has just tied a record, with eight points in a game, the franchise mark he now shares with Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey!”
-Gord Miller, TSN, with the unlikely call

In case you’ve missed it, the Edmonton Oilers’ young winger, skating on a line with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, recorded four goals and four assists last night against the Chicago Blackhawks, earning Edmonton an 8-4 victory in a fashion reminiscent of the 1980s.

The full list of players with 8-or-more points in a game can be found at the Hockey Hall of Fame page. It includes:

  • Maurice Richard
  • Bert Olmstead
  • Darryl Sittler (10)
  • Tom Bladon
  • Bryan Trottier
  • Peter Statsny
  • Anton Stastny
  • Wayne Gretzky (twice)
  • Paul Coffey
  • Mario Lemieux (twice)
  • Bernie Nicholls

-Prior to tonight, Sam Gagner had been stopped on his last 20 shots on goal dating back to a January 3rd loss to the Buffalo Sabres. He also had one stopped earlier in the game prior to his outburst, making it 21 shot goal-less drought before Gagner went on to score four goals on his next five shots.

Wayne Gretzky; Paul Coffey; Sam Gagner

-Gagner had been saddled with bad luck at the start of this season. It took him 33 shots to score his first goal, and his shooting percentage was at 6.3% coming into this game, despite a career average of 9.4%. Not often do you get a regression to the mean in a single game, but there you go: Gagner’s shooting rate is now at 10.5% on the season, above his career average (which is now 9.9%), after four goals in six shots.

-When Sam Gagner was on the ice at even strength, the shots were even at 12-12. Yet Gagner was +6 in this situation, being on the ice for more goals for (7) than saved shots (5).

-The Oilers’ shooting percentage with Gagner on the ice this season coming into this game was 8%. After connecting at 5-on-5 7 of 12 times, that number has now increased to 10.3%. Gagner’s PDO, the addition of the Oilers’ shooting and save percentage with #89 on the ice, went up from 100.2% to 102.5% in a single night.

-Dennis King, who counts Oilers’ scoring chances for mc79hockey.com, had Chicago winning the scoring chance battle 32-22, while David Staples, who collects them for the Edmonton Journal, had them at 30-26 for Chicago. It’s not surprising that Edmonton won despite getting out-chanced, but what is crazy is that a game that exceeds 32 total chances is very fast-paced. This one had two sources collect over 50 combined scoring chances, making it likely the most open game of the year.

-Using Dennis’ numbers above, Gagner was on the ice for 8 scoring chances for at even strength and 1 for on the powerplay. Seven of the goals (although I personally wouldn’t have counted Ryan Whitney’s goal as a chance) were recorded as chances, meaning that when Gagner was the ice, the Oilers converted on 77.8% of their chances. Usually, anything more than 20% is a good conversion rate.

-Wayne Gretzky had two eight-point games as an Oiler (I found summaries here and here), yet in neither of them did the Oilers score only eight goals. Apparently, only Mario Lemieux has an 8-point game in a game where his team scored 8, on December 31st 1988. What else is notable about that game is it’s the one where Lemieux score a goal all five possible ways: even strength, power-play, shorthanded, penalty-shot and empty-net. Gagner did most of his damage at even strength last night, recording a single powerplay assist.

-The second time Gretzky recorded eight, he did it without a third period point, doing all his damage in a span of 29:42. Gagner didn’t get his first point until the 23rd minute of the game, setting up a Taylor Hall partial breakaway, but he still needed 33:53 of time to accomplish it. Just another way that Sam Gagner doesn’t compare to Wayne Gretzky, I guess.

-The combined jersey numbers of players who have eight points was raised from 36 to 40. This decreases the likelihood of Jannik Hansen’s 8-point night, an instead places it into the hands of a guy like Henrik Zetterberg or Michael Grabner. That’s how math works, right?

-Perhaps the most amazing thing: Cam Barker scored a goal, and finished a +3, which I guess goes to show how useless plus/minus is at assessing player ability.

-As for scoring rates, Gagner was on pace for 20.1 goals, 5.1 first assists and 10.0 second assists per 60 minutes on this night at even strength. On the powerplay, Gagner was on pace for 0 goals, 0 second assists, and 10.9 first assists per 60 minutes, meaning he out-produced himself at even strength than the powerplay even by rates.

-Sam Gagner had as many points as shot attempts. He had six attempts on goal, one miss, and one block. He also had eight offensive zone starts. He won seven faceoffs. Had he won one more, he would have won eight.

Perhaps as important, since the Oilers' unlikely Stanley Cup run in the spring of 2006, there has been little in Edmonton to cheer for. Tonight certainly doesn't change the fact that Edmonton have missed the playoffs for five straight years and about to make it six, but it does restore a certain tinge of pride among fans of the Oilers franchise who had something to cheer about Thursday night to remind them of the team's glory days.