EDMONTON, Alberta - Sam Gagner was still having trouble yesterday believing his name is in the Edmonton Oilers’ record book alongside the likes of Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey.
Gagner moved himself into such lofty company Thursday after registering a record-tying 8 points in Edmonton’s 8-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
“You can’t really re-create a memory like that,’’ Gagner said after the Oilers’ skate yesterday morning. “I’m not sure if it’s even sunk in fully yet.
“Once the summer hits, it might. For myself, I’m trying to stay even-keeled as much as I can. It’s hard but we have games coming up.’’
Gagner had four goals and four assists to become just the 11th player in NHL history to register 8 points in one game. Gretzky did it twice, against New Jersey in 1983 and Minnesota in 1984, while Coffey did so against Detroit in 1986.
Gretzky’s No. 99 and Coffey’s No. 7 hang in the rafters at Rexall Place, and both players are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. They contacted Gagner to offer their congratulations.
“To be mentioned in a record with those guys is a pretty special feeling and just really an honor,’’ Gagner said.
He still hasn’t read all the other text messages he received.
“I had 60 last night and another 50 when I got up this morning,’’ Gagner told a large group of reporters. “It’s a lot of work texting everyone back, but it’s nice to see the support from everyone.’’
Mario Lemieux twice had 8 points and was the last to do so before Gagner. In fact, the 22-year-old Gagner wasn’t even born when Lemieux did it for the second time Dec. 31, 1988, against New Jersey.
“I think it speaks volumes to how crazy getting 8 points in a game in today’s era is and how it just doesn’t happen,’’ linemate Taylor Hall said.
Toronto’s Darryl Sittler holds the NHL record of 10 points in one game. He accomplished the feat against the visiting Bruins on Feb. 7, 1976.
In the waning seconds, teammates were urging Gagner to take another shift in an attempt to move past Gretzky and Coffey. But he stayed on the bench, completely spent.
Slowed by a sprained ankle to start the season, Gagner got his first prolonged chance to play with Hall and Jordan Eberle when rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins injured his shoulder Jan. 2. Gagner came into the game with five goals in 43 games.
“He didn’t get any [points] in the first period, which is even more incredible that he got them all in just two periods,’’ said Nugent-Hopkins, who’s expected to return against Detroit tonight. “Definitely, they’re going to stick together after a night like that.’’