The 1981-82 NHL season was the 65th season of the National Hockey League (NHL). Twenty-one teams each played 80 games. The season lasted from October 6, 1981 to May 16, 1982.

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 conferences and divisions of the league were re-aligned to better reflect the geographical locations of the teams. The conferences were renamed Prince of Wales and Clarence Campbell. Geographically-based names would not re-appear until the 1993–94 NHL season.

Regular seasonEdit

The New York Islanders lead the league with 118 points, seven more than second place Edmonton Oilers. 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, accomplishing the feat four times over a five year span.

Gretzky's record setting year was reflected in the Oilers' final standings as the Oilers set a record for most goals in a season with 417. Gretzky was in on over half of the Oilers goals.

Final standingsEdit

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 ConferenceEdit

Adams Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Montreal Canadiens 80 46 17 17 109 360 223 1463
Boston Bruins 80 43 27 10 96 323285 1266
Buffalo Sabres 80 39 26 15 93 307 273 1425
Quebec Nordiques 80 33 31 16 82 356 345 1757
Hartford Whalers 80 21 41 18 60 264 351 1493
Patrick Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
New York Islanders 80 54 16 10 118 385 250 1328
New York Rangers 80 39 27 14 92 316 306 1402
Philadelphia Flyers 80 38 31 11 87 325 313 2493
Pittsburgh Penguins 80 31 36 13 75 310 337 2212
Washington Capitals 80 26 41 1365319 338 1932

Clarence Campbell ConferenceEdit

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 Blackhawks 80 30 38 12 72332 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 2951473
Vancouver Canucks 80 30 33 17 77 290 286 1840
Calgary Flames 80 29 34 17 75 334 3451331
Los Angeles Kings 80 24 41 15 63 314396 1730
Colorado Rockies 80 1849 13 49 241 362 1138

Scoring leadersEdit

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 Blackhawks 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

Stanley Cup playoffsEdit

The 1982 Stanley Cup playoffs used a new format. Four teams from each division would qualify for the playoffs, and would play a best-of-five semifinal round followed by a best-of-seven series to determine the division playoff champions.

The Adams Division and Patrick division winners would meet in the Wales Conference Final and the Norris Division and Smythe division winners would play in the Campbell Conference Final.

The two Conference Champions would play 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 the first two games of their series with Pittsburgh and needing overtime in the decisive fifth game.

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 bracketEdit



Main article: 1982 Stanley Cup Finals

New York Islanders vs. Vancouver Canucks

Date Visitors Score Home Score Notes
May 8 Vancouver 5New York 6 OT
May 11 Vancouver 4 New York 6
May 13 New York3 Vancouver 0
May 16 New York3 Vancouver 1

New York wins the series 4–0.

NHL awardsEdit

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 Blackhawks
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 teamsEdit

First Team   Position   Second Team
Billy Smith, New York Islanders G Grant Fuhr, Edmonton Oilers
Doug Wilson, Chicago Blackhawks 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 gamesEdit

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):

See also Edit


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