Wayne Gretzky scored four goals and set up three others to establish a playoff single-game points record and lead visiting Edmonton to a 10-2 rout of the Calgary Flames last night, giving the Oilers a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven NHL Smythe Division final series.
A victory by Edmonton in tonight's game at the Calgary Corral would send the former World Hockey Association club into its first-ever Stanley Cup semifinal berth.
Gretzky, who had been held scoreless for four straight games dating from his four-goal start against Winnipeg in the elimination round, broke the NHL record for most points in a playoff game on an assist to Mark Messier--who had three goals--with 80 seconds left. The previous record of six was held by several other players.
"I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been frustrated," he said.
Gretzky got his hat trick only 4:53 into the second period on a short-handed effort to give Edmonton a 5-1 lead. He added a fourth goal on only his fifth shot of the game with 54 seconds left in the period on a two-on-one break with Glenn Anderson, putting Edmonton ahead, 7-2.
The Oilers got three of their goals short-handed. Gretzky's third goal of the night was his third short-handed in the playoffs, tying an NHL record held by three other players. He also equaled a league record for the most playoff games with three or more goals.