On this day in NHL history, the 1988 fog game happens and the Oilers win the 1990 Stanley Cup
Photo credit:Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images
6 months ago
It was on this day in Edmonton Oilers history that two significant moments happened in the franchises history: in 1988 they played in the fog game in the finals against the Boston Bruins and two years later, they hoisted their last Stanley Cup.
May 24th has become a day that Oilers fans remember for many reasons. Let’s start in 1988 with the infamous game four which took place at Boston Gardens and its eerie events.
It was a heated game on that Tuesday evening when the two teams faced off for the title of Stanley Cup Champions, and I don’t mean heated due to the 16 penalties totalled by the two teams. When 14,500 fans packed the arena, it became so humid that a layer of fog hovered over the surface of the ice, complicating the play.
The score was tied at three after a power play goal from Oilers forward Craig Simpson when suddenly broadcasts shut off, and the arena went dark. A transformer used to power the 60-year-old stadium had failed, causing a power outage with 2:33 left in the second period. Fans were hurried outside and filled Cosway Street chanting, “we wanna know,” as they stood out for hours waiting to hear a decision.
The darkness in their home arena was mere symbolism for the Bruins as they trailed behind the Oilers in the series 3-0. The game wouldn’t end up being played that evening and would shift to Alberta soil in what would have been game five. The players were given the go-ahead to keep any numbers they’d posted in the original game four, but the result would disappear, and the entirety of the game would be replayed.
The Oilers ended up doubling the Bruins’ production in the remake game on May 26th, with goals from Normand Lacombe, Esa Tikkanen (2), Mike Krushelnyski, Wayne Gretzky, and Craig Simpson winning 6-3, completing their series sweep. Gretzky would hoist his final Stanley Cup in an Oilers sweater at Northlands Coliseum, winning their fourth Cup in franchise history.
Moving forward two years to 1990, the Oilers were now without Gretzky leaving Messier to captain the team, their new number one goaltender was Bill Ranford after injuries sidelined Grant Fuhr. Behind the bench, Glen Sater had passed the reins to John Muckler.
The Oilers placed second in the Smythe Division heading into the playoffs with a home-ice advantage against the third-place Winnipeg Jets. The boys in blue and orange ended the whiteout in game seven, moving on to play their former captain and the Los Angeles Kings in the second round. To some surprise, the Alberta boys would sweep the City of Angels in four games, pushing themselves into the Clarence Campbell Conference Finals versus the Chicago Blackhawks. Clutching game six, the Oilers had punched themselves a ticket to the Stanley Cup finals, a re-match from the 1988 series against the Boston Bruins.
Game one was tied at two at the end of the third period, sending both teams into almost another full game of play, going into three overtime periods. After five hours, at 12:33 a.m. the following day, Petr Klima came off the exhausted Oilers bench and scored with just under five minutes left. Edmonton would come out on top in game two with a score of 7-2, shifting the series home for games three and four. Boston would finally respond in game three, winning 2-1, but couldn’t keep up in game five when the Oilers won 5-1.
Game five would return to the ramshackle Boston Garden, where the Oilers were just hours away from hoisting their fifth Stanley Cup. The first period was uneventful, except for three power play opportunities between the two teams, all deemed unsuccessful. Moving into the second, the penalties stopped, and the scoring began, opened by Glenn Anderson at 1:27. Just before the eight-minute mark, Anderson made a beautiful pass dropping the puck back to Craig Simpson, and the Oilers would move into the third period up 2-0. Steve Smith and Joe Murphy would find the back of the net behind former Oilers netminder Andy Moog in the third, and Lyndon Byers would finally respond for the Bruins with just minutes left in the game.
When the final buzzer sounded, the Oilers would again reign victorious, beating the Bruins 4-1. Messier would lift the Cup, and Bill Ranford would win the Conn Smythe for his gallant windmill-like saves, throwing his body into every area of the net.
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