Wayne Gretzky scored his 51st goal and assisted on three others, including Jari Kurri's 62nd, to help the Edmonton Oilers clinch the NHL regular-season championship with an 8-3 victory over the Penguins in Pittsburgh last night.
The win was Edmonton's sixth straight and gave the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions 114 points, guaranteeing them the No. 1 overall spot in the standings and the home advantage throughout the playoffs. The Oilers also will divide a $200,000 bonus instituted by the league this season.
Mark Messier and Craig MacTavish scored short-handed goals in the first period to help the Oilers to a 3-1 lead.
Dan Frawley scored for the Penguins 17 seconds after Messier's goal, but Mike Krushelnyski put the Oilers ahead to stay at 11:11 of the opening period.
Gretzky made the pass on MacTavish's goal for his 15th short-handed assist of the season.
Marty McSorley and MacTavish scored in the second period to give Edmonton a 5-1 lead.
Pittsburgh came back with two goals in less than a minute of the third period to make it 5-3. Ron Duguay scored his 24th at 3:33 and Mike Bullard got his 40th at 4:18.
Gretzky scored his 51st unassisted at 11:10, set up Kurri, the league's leading goal scorer, at 14:59, and later assisted on Glenn Anderson's 54th.
Gretzky raised his league-leading point total to 205, seven short of his league record.