Wayne Gretzky attracted St. Louis' largest hockey crowd this year and treated the 17,948 fans to five goals and an assist as his Edmonton Oilers beat the Blues, 8-2, last night.

He missed only one shot in raising his NHL career point total to 998. He scored four times in the first 35 1/2 minutes against goalie Rick Wamsley, then Mike Liut replaced Wamsley the final period.

He scored three times on breakaways and twice on spin-around shots in front of the net. Jari Kurri set up two of the breakaways and Gretzky was unassisted on the third.

It was "just one of those nights," he said. "I've been having a small problem with my back. Tonight it felt better. I don't know what it is. I'll have it checked out when we get home."

He shrugged when speculating on when he will get his 1,000th point. The Oilers will end their road trip Monday night against the New Jersey Devils in East Rutherford, N.J.

"It seems like I've set most of my records on the road," he said. "I was hoping this one would be at home. Barring injury, it should come the next game. If not, it will probably be the next game, when we're back on home ice.

It was the third time in his career that he scored five goals in a game. Twice he has had eight points in a game.