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1981–82 NHL season: Wikis


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The 1981–82 NHL season was the 65th season of the National Hockey League. Twenty-one teams each played 80 games. The William M. Jennings Trophy made its debut this year as the trophy for the goaltenders from the team with the fewest goals against. The New York Islanders won their third straight Stanley Cup by sweeping the Vancouver Canucks in four games.

Prior to the start of the season, the divisions of the league were re-aligned to better reflect the geographical locations of the teams. The Patrick Division, which had heretofore been in the Clarence Campbell Conference, switched to the Prince of Wales Conference, while the Norris Division went the other way, going from the Wales Conference to the Campbell Conference. This divisional alignment existed until the 1993–94 season, at which point both the divisions and the conferences of the league were renamed to reflect geography.

The schedule and playoff format were also altered. Previously, each team played every other team four times, and the 16-team playoff format had the four divisional champions joined by 12 wild-cards; for all intents and purposes, the divisions were meaningless. Also, under the old format, teams were paired in the first round based on record (i.e., 1st vs. 16th, 2nd vs. 15th, etc.), and then re-paired in each succeeding round based on record (i.e., highest seeded first round winner vs. lowest seeded first round winner, second highest first round winner vs. second lowest first round winner, etc.).

The new format called for each team in the three five-team divisions to play their four divisional opponents eight times each (32 games) and the remaining 16 league teams three times each (48 games). In addition, each team in the six-team division was to play their five divisional opponents seven times each (35 games) and the remaining 15 league teams three times each (45 games). As to the playoffs, the top four teams in each division qualified --- no more wild-cards --- with 1st Place playing 4th Place, and 2nd Place playing 3rd Place, in the divisional semifinals; the two winners meeting in the divisional finals; followed by the conference finals and the Stanley Cup finals. This schedule and playoff arrangement continued for over a decade.


Regular season

The New York Islanders lead the league with 118 points, seven more than second place Edmonton Oilers. The Islanders also set a league record by winning 15 consecutive games from January 21 to February 20.

Wayne Gretzky of the Oilers had a record setting year breaking several prestigious records, including the record of 50 goals in 50 games, set by Maurice Richard and Mike Bossy, by scoring 50 goals in only 39 games. He also broke Phil Esposito's record of 76 goals in a season with 92, his own assists record of 109, set the year before, with 120, and his own point total of 164, set the year before, with 212. He was the first, and thus far only, player to ever score 200 points in a season. The Oilers set a record for most goals in a season with 417; Gretzky scored or assisted on over half.


Final standings

Note: GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalties in minutes
Note: Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold

Prince of Wales Conference

Adams Division
Montreal Canadiens 80 46 17 17 360 223 1463 109
Boston Bruins 80 43 27 10 323 285 1266 96
Buffalo Sabres 80 39 26 15 307 273 1425 93
Quebec Nordiques 80 33 31 16 356 345 1757 82
Hartford Whalers 80 21 41 18 264 351 1493 60
Patrick Division
New York Islanders 80 54 16 10 385 250 118
New York Rangers 80 39 27 14 316 306 92
Philadelphia Flyers 80 38 31 11 325 313 87
Pittsburgh Penguins 80 31 36 13 310 337 75
Washington Capitals 80 26 41 13 319 338 65

Clarence Campbell Conference

Norris Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Minnesota North Stars 80 37 23 20 94 346 288 1358
Winnipeg Jets 80 33 33 14 80 319 332 1314
St. Louis Blues 80 32 40 8 72 315 349 1579
Chicago Black Hawks 80 30 38 12 72 332 363 1775
Toronto Maple Leafs 80 20 44 16 56 298 380 1888
Detroit Red Wings 80 21 47 12 54 270 351 1250
Smythe Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Edmonton Oilers 80 48 17 15 111 417 295 1473
Vancouver Canucks 80 30 33 17 77 290 286 1840
Calgary Flames 80 29 34 17 75 334 345 1331
Los Angeles Kings 80 24 41 15 63 314 369 1730
Colorado Rockies 80 18 49 13 49 241 362 1138

Scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts
Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers 80 92 120 212
Mike Bossy New York Islanders 80 64 83 147
Peter Stastny Quebec Nordiques 80 46 93 139
Dennis Maruk Washington Capitals 80 60 76 136
Bryan Trottier New York Islanders 80 50 79 129
Denis Savard Chicago Black Hawks 80 32 87 119
Marcel Dionne Los Angeles Kings 78 50 67 117
Bobby Smith Minnesota North Stars 80 43 71 114
Dino Ciccarelli Minnesota North Stars 76 55 51 106
Dave Taylor Los Angeles Kings 78 39 67 106


The 1982 playoffs used a new format. Four teams from each division would qualify for the playoffs, and played a best-of-five semifinal round followed by a best-of-seven series to determine the division playoff champions. The Adams and Patrick winners would meet in the Wales Conference Final and the Norris and Smythe winners played in the Campbell Conference Final. The two Conference Champions played for the Stanley Cup. With the exception of extending the first round to a best-of-seven in 1987, this format remained in place through the 1993 playoffs.

The first round of the 1982 playoffs saw three first-place teams (Edmonton, Minnesota, and Montreal) upset by fourth-place teams, a round which featured what is still the greatest comeback in NHL history: The Kings' 6–5 win over Edmonton in Game 3. After trailing 5–0 after two periods, the Kings scored five third period goals -- three in the last 5:22, the final goal coming with only five seconds left in regulation. Los Angeles then scored on a face-off early in overtime, thus completing the "Miracle on Manchester."

The eventual champion New York Islanders nearly capitulated in the first round as well, losing Games 3 and 4 of their first round playoff series with Pittsburgh after crushing the Penguins in the first 2 games. In Game 5 the Islanders scored twice in the last 5 minutes to force OT and then won the series on John Tonelli's goal 6:19 into the extra session. This served as a wake-up call for New York, who lost only two more games the rest of the way on their march to third straight Stanley Cup. Their Finals opponents, the Vancouver Canucks, finished the regular season with only 77 points, defeating three teams beneath them in the standings (Calgary 75, Los Angeles 64, and Chicago 72) in the much weaker Campbell Conference.

Playoff bracket

  Division Semi-finals Division Finals Conference Finals Stanley Cup Final
A1  Montreal Canadiens 2  
A4  Quebec Nordiques 3  
  A4  Quebec Nordiques 4  
  A2  Boston Bruins 3  
A2  Boston Bruins 3
A3  Buffalo Sabres 1  
  A4  Quebec Nordiques 0  
  P1  New York Islanders 4  
P1  New York Islanders 3  
P4  Pittsburgh Penguins 2  
  P1  New York Islanders 4
  P2  New York Rangers 2  
P2  New York Rangers 3
P3  Philadelphia Flyers 1  
  P1  New York Islanders 4
  S2  Vancouver Canucks 0
N1  Minnesota North Stars 1  
N4  Chicago Black Hawks 3  
  N4  Chicago Black Hawks 4
  N3  St. Louis Blues 2  
N2  Winnipeg Jets 1
N3  St. Louis Blues 3  
  N4  Chicago Black Hawks 1
  S2  Vancouver Canucks 4  
S1  Edmonton Oilers 2  
S4  Los Angeles Kings 3  
  S4  Los Angeles Kings 1
  S2  Vancouver Canucks 4  
S2  Vancouver Canucks 3
S3  Calgary Flames 0  


New York Islanders vs. Vancouver Canucks

Date Visitors Score Home Score Notes
May 8 Vancouver 5 New York 6 OT
May 11 Vancouver 4 New York 6
May 13 New York 3 Vancouver 0
May 16 New York 3 Vancouver 1

New York wins the series 4–0.

NHL awards

Prince of Wales Trophy: New York Islanders
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl: Vancouver Canucks
Art Ross Trophy: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: Glenn Resch, Colorado Rockies
Calder Memorial Trophy: Dale Hawerchuk, Winnipeg Jets
Conn Smythe Trophy: Mike Bossy, New York Islanders
Frank J. Selke Trophy: Steve Kasper, Boston Bruins
Hart Memorial Trophy: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
Jack Adams Award: Tom Watt, Winnipeg Jets
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Doug Wilson, Chicago Black Hawks
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Rick Middleton, Boston Bruins
Lester B. Pearson Award: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
NHL Plus/Minus Award: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
William M. Jennings Trophy: Rick Wamsley, Denis Herron, Montreal Canadiens
Vezina Trophy: Billy Smith, New York Islanders
Lester Patrick Trophy: Emile Francis

All-Star teams

First Team   Position   Second Team
Billy Smith, New York Islanders G Grant Fuhr, Edmonton Oilers
Doug Wilson, Chicago Black Hawks D Paul Coffey, Edmonton Oilers
Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins D Brian Engblom, Montreal Canadiens
Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers C Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders
Mike Bossy, New York Islanders RW Rick Middleton, Boston Bruins
Mark Messier, Edmonton Oilers LW John Tonelli, New York Islanders


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1981–82 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1981–82 (listed with their last team):

1982 Trading Deadline

  • Trading Deadline: MARCH 9, 1982[1]
  • March 8, 1982: Laurie Boschman traded from Toronto to Edmonton for Walt Poddubny and Phil Drouillard.
  • March 8, 1982: Kari Eloranta traded from Calgary to St. Louis for future considerations.
  • March 8, 1982: Jim Korn traded from Detroit to Toronto for Toronto's fourth round choice in 1982 Entry Draft and Toronto's fifth round choice in 1983 Entry Draft.
  • March 9, 1982: Todd Bidner traded from Washington to Edmonton for Doug Hicks.
  • March 9, 1982: Ed Cooper traded from Colorado to Edmonton for Stan Weir.
  • March 9, 1982: Tony Currie, Jim Nill, Rick Heinz and St. Louis' fourth round choice in 1982 Entry Draft traded from St. Louis to Vancouver for Glen Hanlon.
  • March 9, 1982: Miroslav Frycer and Quebec's seventh round choice in 1982 Entry Draft traded from Quebec to Toronto for Wilf Paiement.
  • March 9, 1982: Guy Lapointe traded from Montreal to St. Louis for St. Louis' second round choice in 1983 Entry Draft.

See also


  1. ^ NHL trade deadline: Deals since 1980 | Habs Inside/Out

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