1988 Stanley Cup Finals

1988 Stanley Cup Finals
1234 Total
Edmonton Oilers 2466 4
Boston Bruins 1233 0
Location(s) Edmonton: Northlands Coliseum (1, 2, 5[lower-alpha 1])
Boston: Boston Garden) (3, 4[lower-alpha 1])
Coaches Edmonton: Glen Sather
Boston: Terry O'Reilly
Captains Edmonton: Wayne Gretzky
Boston: Ray Bourque, Rick Middleton
Dates May 18 – May 26
MVP Wayne Gretzky (Oilers)
Series-winning goal Wayne Gretzky (9:44, second, G5)
Networks Global-Canwest (Canada-English, games 1 and 2)
CBC (Canada-English, games 3-5)
ESPN (United States)
WSBK and NESN (Boston Area)
Announcers Dan Kelly and John Davidson (Global-Canwest)
Bob Cole and Harry Neale (CBC)
Mike Emrick and Bill Clement (ESPN)
Fred Cusick and Derek Sanderson (WSBK and NESN)

The 1988 Stanley Cup Finals was the championship series of the National Hockey League's (NHL) 1987–88 season, and the culmination of the 1988 Stanley Cup playoffs. It was contested between the Edmonton Oilers and Boston Bruins. The Oilers would win the series 4–0 in four games.[lower-alpha 1] This would be the sixth of eight consecutive Finals contested by a team from Alberta (the Oilers appeared in six of them, the Calgary Flames in two), and the last of five consecutive Finals to end with the Cup presentation on Alberta ice (the Oilers won four such Cups, the Montreal Canadiens the other). The series is remembered for the power failure that occurred during game four at Boston Garden, which caused that contest to be suspended. The league decided to replay game four at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, at the original site, date and time that was originally scheduled for game five.

Paths to the Finals

Edmonton defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4–1, the Calgary Flames 4–0 and the Detroit Red Wings 4–1 to reach the Finals.

Boston defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4–2, the Montreal Canadiens 4–1 and the New Jersey Devils 4–3 to reach the Finals.

Game summaries

The Finals pitted the Oilers' offensive juggernaut against the Bruins' more balanced team. The Oilers showed their defensive prowess, surrendering just nine goals in the four completed games. Ray Bourque was physical in defending against Gretzky, but that would not ground the "Great One" on his way to claiming his second Conn Smythe Trophy and setting playoff records with 31 assists in just 18 games, and 13 points in the Finals series.

Game one


May 18Boston Bruins1–2
0–0, 1–1, 0–1
Edmonton OilersNorthlands Coliseum
Attendance: 17,502

Game four (The night the lights went out in Massachusetts)

Glenn Anderson set a new record for quickest goal from the start of a Finals game when he scored ten seconds into the contest. That record was tied two years later in the third game of the 1990 Finals by John Byce who, in a twist, was playing for the Bruins against the Oilers.[1] Fog ultimately interfered with the game, and a power failure caused its cancellation midway through the second period with the score tied 3–3.[2] Despite the game being suspended and replayed, Anderson's record is official.

Game four was subsequently rescheduled and moved to Edmonton, which was originally set to be the site of a game five if necessary. The Oilers won that game, sweeping the series and winning their fourth Stanley Cup in five years. Had the Bruins extended the series to the full seven games, game five would have been played on the original date for game six in Boston, Edmonton would have hosted the rescheduled game six, and then game seven would have been played in Boston as the makeup game.[3]

Series summary

Boston Bruins vs. Edmonton Oilers

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
May 18Boston Bruins1Edmonton Oilers2
May 20Boston Bruins2Edmonton Oilers4
May 22Edmonton Oilers6Boston Bruins3
May 24Edmonton Oilers3Boston Bruins3Game suspended at 16:37 of second period due to power failure.
May 26Boston Bruins3Edmonton Oilers6

Edmonton wins best-of-seven series 4–0[lower-alpha 1]


In the United States, this was the final year under ESPN's national three-year deal. Under the U.S. TV contracts that would take effect beginning next season, SportsChannel America would take over as the NHL's American television partner.

ESPN's coverage of the 1988 Cup Finals was blacked out locally in the Boston area due to WSBK and NESN's local rights to Bruins games.

In Canada, this was the second and final year that the English-language rights to the Cup Finals was split between the Global-Canwest consortium and the CBC. Global aired games one and two. The CBC aired game three, then both the original and replayed game fours. Had the series extended, game five would have aired on Global and game six on the CBC. Game seven was then to have been broadcast simultaneously by both networks, with each broadcaster using its own separate production facilities and on-air talent.

Edmonton Oilers – 1988 Stanley Cup champions



Coaching and administrative staff:

  • Peter Pocklington (Owner)
  • Glen Sather (President/General Manager/Head Coach)
  • John Muckler (Co-Coach), Edward Ted Green (Asst. Coach)
  • Bruce MacGregor (Asst. General Manager)
  • Barry Fraser (Director of Player Personnel/Chief Scout), Bill Tuele (Director of Public Relations)
  • Dr. Gordon Cameron (Team Physician), Peter Millar (Athletic Therapist), Juergen Merz (Message Therapist)
  • Barrie Stafford (Trainer), Lyle Kulchisky (Asst. Trainer)

Stanley Cup engraving

  • #29 Daryl Reaugh (backup goalie) joined the team after Andy Moog left in September to play for Team Canada, and at the 1988 Olympics. Reaugh would play 6 games (dressed for 60). After the Olympics, Moog was traded to Boston Bruins for minor leaguer goalie Bill Ranford. Reaugh was sent to the minors, being recalled during the conference finals. His name was left off, because he was playing in the minors after the trade deadline. Reaugh was included on the team picture.
  • #20 Steve Dykstra played 42 NHL games in 1987–88 season. Dykstra joined Edmonton in a trade from the Buffalo Sabres, playing in 15 of the Oilers last 21 games, but not in the playoffs. He was left off, because he did not play all 42 games with Edmonton.
  • #32 Jim Wiemer played 12 regular season games and two games in Conference Finals. He was left off the Stanley Cup because he did not play in the finals
  • This would mark the final time Wayne Gretzky would win the Stanley Cup.
Team picture on the ice, after winning a championship
  • After the Oilers won the 1988 Stanley Cup, Wayne Gretzky (in what ended up being his last game with the Oilers) requested a picture on the ice with all the players, and all non-playing members including management, coaches, trainers, scouts, locker room assistants. The team honoured his request, and it has remained a tradition followed by each Stanley Cup-winning team. The team picture tradition after winning a championship is also followed by most hockey championship teams at all levels around the world.

Gretzky wanted every member of the Oilers to be included on the team picture. However, when the cup was engraved all five scouts were left off: Garnet Bailey, Ed Chadwick, Lorne Davis, Matti Vaisanen (on the Cup in 1985, 1987, 1990), Bob Freeman (Part time-not on the Cup). The Oilers also left three players off the Stanley Cup: Daryl Reaugh, Steve Dykstra, Jim Weimer. Bill Tuele (Public Relations Director) had his name added to the cup for the first time. He has rings with the Oilers in 1984, 1985, 1987, but his name was not put on the Stanley Cup those seasons.

See also


  • Diamond, Dan (2000). Total Stanley Cup. Toronto: Total Sports Canada. ISBN 978-1-892129-07-9. 
  • Podnieks, Andrew; Hockey Hall of Fame (2004). Lord Stanley's Cup. Bolton, Ont: Fenn Pub. pp. 12, 50. ISBN 978-1-55168-261-7. 


  1. 1 2 3 4 game four was abandoned due to a power failure at the Boston Garden with the score tied 3–3; it was subsequently replayed in Edmonton
  1. Diamond (2000, p. 90)
  2. Weekes, Don (2003). The Best and Worst of Hockey's Firsts: The Unofficial Guide. Canada: Greystone Books. p. 240. ISBN 9781550548600.
  3. Crowe, Jerry (May 25, 1988). "Oilers, Bruins Play Game 4 in a Fog, End in the Dark". Los Angeles Times.
Preceded by
Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers
Stanley Cup Champions

Succeeded by
Calgary Flames
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