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Video: Gagner’s great, but Mario was magic

Feb 3, 2012, 5:11 PM EDT

Fresh off Edmonton Oilers forward Sam Gagner registering eight points in an 8-4 drubbing of Chicago, dug into the vault and found footage of a similar Mario Lemieux performance.

On Dec. 31, 1988, Super Mario wowed the Pittsburgh faithful by getting in on every goal in an 8-6 win over the New Jersey Devils. It was almost identical to the feat accomplished by Gagner on Thursday night — as a result, the pair are now the only two players in NHL history to have eight points in a game where their teams scored exactly eight goals.

Of course, the two performances weren’t exactly identical.

Mario’s effort was extra special as he became the first — and only — player to ever score five goals five different ways: shorthanded, full strength, power play, penalty shot and empty net.

More, from the Jan. 2, 1989 edition of the Schenectady Gazette:

“That was Mario’s Christmas gift, a little late, to me and the fans,” Pittsburgh coach Gene Ubriaco said. “I’m not going to say it [Lemieux’s performance] was awesome; I’ve said that too many times. What can I say? Someone once said we were a one-game team, and certainly tonight — when he makes up his mind, no one can stop him.”

And in case you’re wondering, yes, that is the first and only Gene Ubriaco reference in PHT history, which is a shame. Might make it my mission to include more.

  1. jpelle82 - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    5 goals, or 8 points will happen again but no one will ever score 5 different ways again

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    That second goal was filthy. A penalty shot would’ve been called 3 times over on that play today.

  3. fleurysteeth - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    O Captain! My Captain!

  4. tk1966 - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Just imagine what he could have done if he didn’t have to fight debilitating back problems, cancer, and the introduction of the neutral zone trap

    • florida76 - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:11 PM

      Good point, tk1966. A healthy # 66 would have certainly achieved numbers very close to Gretzky, and won at least another Cup for the Penguins sometime during the 1990s.

      Gagner did have a spectacular night, but these records have more value when they are achieved by the legends of the game. Mario is acknowledged as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, and has turned out to be a tremendous owner as well(something you can’t say about some other elite players).

      And while teams like Chicago, New York, and Toronto had a roughly 40 year head start as franchises, none of them ever produced a player of this quite this caliber.

      • blacksabbathrulesall - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

        Cheers to that!!! Lemieux was one of a kind for sure.
        Getting to watch him in person was always special.When he was one the ice you had to stare at him because you just knew something awesome was about to happen and it usually always did.
        But you always have to wonder if he had been healthy his whole career what numbers he would have had. Astronomical for sure.
        Lemieux is a hockey god and to think some asshat said the other day on this forum that he was a flash in the pan.Idiots.

      • stakex - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:45 PM

        No franchise ever produced a player of that caliber. Mario, Gretzky, Howe, Messier…. they all just had something special and no team can simply “produce” that. Teams just get lucky to land them at the start of their career.

        When it comes to Mario, the Pens were just bad enough the previous season, perhaps on purpose depending on who you ask, that they earned the 1st pick in the 1984 draft. If New Jersey loses a couple more games, or the Pens win a couple more the year before and Lemieux would have been a Devil… and the Devils would have deserved little credit for “produceing” him as a player.

  5. lsxphotog - Feb 4, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Game-for-game, highest impact player of all time.

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