Of all Wayne Gretzky’s numerous NHL records, there is one that seems destined to last forever.
On Dec. 30, 1981, Gretzky’s Oilers hosted the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 39 of Edmonton’s season.
“The Great One” entered the contest with 45 goals to that point, and was a lock to become just the third player to score 50 goals in 50 or less games (done only by Maurice Richard and Mike Bossy to that point).
Gretzky scored twice in the first period, once in the second, and then again in the third to bring his total on the season to 49.
Late in the final frame, he got one more chance and made it count, burying an empty-netter for his fifth goal of the game, making Gretzky the only player to ever score 50 goals in under 40 games to start a season.
Relive the incredible achievement in the video above.