1987–88 NHL season
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||October 8, 1987 – May 26, 1988|
|Number of games||80|
|Number of teams||21|
|Presidents' Trophy||Calgary Flames|
|Season MVP||Mario Lemieux, (Pittsburgh)|
|Top scorer||Mario Lemieux, (Pittsburgh)|
|Eastern champions||Boston Bruins|
|Eastern runners-up||New Jersey Devils|
|Western champions||Edmonton Oilers|
|Western runners-up||Detroit Red Wings|
|Playoffs MVP||Wayne Gretzky, (Edmonton)|
|Stanley Cup champions||Edmonton Oilers|
The 1987–88 NHL season was the 71st season of the National Hockey League. It was an 80 game season with the top four teams in each division advancing to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This season would see the Edmonton Oilers win their fourth Stanley Cup in five years by sweeping the Boston Bruins 4–0 (plus one cancelled game) in the Stanley Cup Final. In the process of their cup win, Edmonton lost only two games, a record for the "16 wins" playoff format.
League business 
The NHL introduced a new trophy, the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which was to be awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution in his community.
Regular season 
This was Wayne Gretzky's final season with the Edmonton Oilers and, as injuries held him out of 20% of the season, this would be the only season of the decade in which he was not the winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy and the first season since 1979-80 that he didn't hold or share the league lead in points. Mario Lemieux would capture his first Hart Trophy and lead the league in scoring.
On 19 December, the St Louis Blues and Boston Bruins combined to score two goals in two seconds. The Bruins were trailing 6-4 in the third period when Ken Linseman scored with 10 seconds remaining, followed by Blues center Doug Gilmour scored off the resulting faceoff into an open net.
Final standings 
Prince of Wales Conference 
Clarence Campbell Conference 
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against
Note: Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.
Note: all dates in 1988
The playoffs started on April 6, and ended on May 26. The Presidents' Trophy winning Calgary Flames had home ice during the playoffs thanks in part to Edmonton's struggles without Gretzky. The Oilers, who had won the Cup in three of the previous four seasons, were still thought to have a good chance at repeating with Gretzky's return. The clash between the Flames and Oilers in the Smythe Division Final was highly anticipated.
- In spite of Lemieux's prolific offence, the Penguins missed the playoffs.
- Five of the North Stars' final six games were on the road. Minnesota went 1–4–1 in that stretch allowing Toronto survive their 1–8 finish.
- On March 18, Québec was three points ahead of the Whalers (68–65). The Nordiques went winless in their final eight games (0–7–1), costing themselves a chance to fend off Hartford who finished 6–3.
- The New Jersey Devils made the playoffs for the first time in their history, winning in overtime at Chicago Stadium on the season's final day to edge the New York Rangers for the Patrick Division's fourth spot. This was only the second time they made the playoffs including their Colorado days.
The series pitted the Oilers' offensive juggernaut against the Bruins' more balanced team. The Oilers showed their defensive prowess, surrendering just 9 goals in the four completed games. Game 4 is well known for fog that interfered with the game and a power outage that caused its cancellation before a faceoff. This would allow the Oilers to win the Cup at home in the Northlands Coliseum and complete the "sweep" in a rescheduled Game 4.
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.
Boston Bruins vs. Edmonton Oilers
|May 24||Edmonton||3||Boston||3||Game cancelled at 16:37 of second period due to power failure.|
Edmonton wins best-of-seven series 4–0
Playoff bracket 
|Division Semi-finals||Division Finals||Conference Finals||Final|
|P4||New Jersey Devils||3|
|P1||New York Islanders||2|
|P4||New Jersey Devils||4|
|P4||New Jersey Devils||4|
|N1||Detroit Red Wings||4|
|N4||Toronto Maple Leafs||2|
|N1||Detroit Red Wings||4|
|N2||St. Louis Blues||1|
|N2||St. Louis Blues||4|
|N1||Detroit Red Wings||1|
|S4||Los Angeles Kings||1|
All-Star teams 
Player statistics 
Scoring leaders 
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes, PPG = Powerplay Goals, SHG = Shorthanded Goals, GWG = Game Winning Goals
|Mario Lemieux||Pittsburgh Penguins||77||70||98||168||92||+23||22||10||7|
|Wayne Gretzky||Edmonton Oilers||64||40||109||149||24||+39||9||5||3|
|Denis Savard||Chicago Blackhawks||80||44||87||131||95||+4||14||7||6|
|Dale Hawerchuk||Winnipeg Jets||80||44||77||121||59||-9||20||3||4|
|Luc Robitaille||Los Angeles Kings||80||53||58||111||82||-9||17||0||6|
|Peter Stastny||Quebec Nordiques||76||46||65||111||69||+2||20||0||2|
|Mark Messier||Edmonton Oilers||77||37||74||111||103||+21||12||3||7|
|Jimmy Carson||Los Angeles Kings||80||55||52||107||45||-19||22||0||7|
|Hakan Loob||Calgary Flames||80||50||56||106||47||+41||9||8||4|
|Michel Goulet||Quebec Nordiques||80||48||58||106||56||-31||29||1||4|
Leading goaltenders 
GP = Games played; Min = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts; GAA = Goals against average; Sv% = Save percentage
|Grant Fuhr||Edmonton Oilers||75||4304||40||24||9||4||3.43||88.1|
|Mike Vernon||Calgary Flames||64||3565||39||16||7||1||3.53||87.7|
|Ron Hextall||Philadelphia Flyers||62||3561||30||22||7||0||3.5||88.6|
|Mike Liut||Hartford Whalers||60||3532||25||28||5||2||3.18||88.5|
|John Vanbiesbrouck||New York Rangers||56||3319||27||22||7||2||3.38||89.0|
|Daniel Berthiaume||Winnipeg Jets||56||3010||22||19||7||2||3.51||88.2|
|Ken Wregget||Toronto Maple Leafs||56||3000||12||35||4||2||4.44||87.0|
|Tom Barrasso||Buffalo Sabres||54||3133||25||18||8||2||3.31||89.6|
|Mario Gosselin||Quebec Nordiques||54||3002||20||28||4||2||3.78||86.7|
|Clint Malarchuk||Washington Capitals||54||2926||24||20||4||4||3.16||88.5|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1987–88:
- Tommy Albelin, Quebec Nordiques
- Rob Brown, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Sean Burke, New Jersey Devils
- Adam Graves, Detroit Red Wings
- Jiří Hrdina, Calgary Flames
- Craig Janney, Boston Bruins
- Calle Johansson, Buffalo Sabres
- Brian Leetch, New York Rangers
- Jeff Norton, New York Islanders
- Luke Richardson, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Mathieu Schneider, Montreal Canadiens
- Brendan Shanahan, New Jersey Devils
- Ray Sheppard, Buffalo Sabres
- Kevin Stevens, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Ron Tugnutt, Quebec Nordiques
- Pierre Turgeon, Buffalo Sabres
- Glen Wesley, Boston Bruins
- Trent Yawney, Chicago Blackhawks
- Scott Young, Hartford Whalers
- Zarley Zalapski, Pittsburgh Penguins
Last games 
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1987–88:
- Bob Bourne, Los Angeles Kings
- Richard Brodeur, Hartford Whalers
- Clark Gillies, Buffalo Sabres
- Doug Jarvis, Hartford Whalers
- Pierre Larouche, New York Rangers
- Dave Lewis, Detroit Red Wings
- Gilles Meloche, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Rick Middleton, Boston Bruins
- Wilf Paiement, Pittsburgh Penguins (The last active player to have been a member of the Kansas City Scouts.)
- Steve Payne, Minnesota North Stars
- Denis Potvin, New York Islanders
- Doug Risebrough, Calgary Flames
- Dave Semenko, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Charlie Simmer, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Brian Sutter, St. Louis Blues
- Perry Turnbull, St. Louis Blues
- Tiger Williams, Hartford Whalers
- Ron Hextall, Philadelphia Flyers, First goaltender in NHL history to shoot and score a goal.
Trading deadline 
- Trading Deadline: March 8, 1988 
- March 8, 1988: Charlie Bourgeois and Hartford's third round choice in 1989 Entry Draft traded from St. Louis to Hartford for Hartford's second round choice in 1989 Entry Draft.
- March 8, 1988: Geoff Courtnall, Bill Ranford and future considerations traded from Boston to Edmonton for Andy Moog.
- March 8, 1988: Brian Curran traded from NY Islanders to Toronto for Toronto's sixth round choice in 1988 Entry Draft.
- March 8, 1988: Moe Lemay traded from Edmonton to Boston for Alan May.
- March 8, 1988: Jim Pavese traded from NY Rangers to Detroit for future considerations.
- March 8, 1988: Gordie Roberts traded from Philadelphia to St. Louis for future considerations.
- March 8, 1988: Steve Tsujuira traded from New Jersey to Boston for Boston's 10th round choice in 1988 Entry Draft (Alexander Semak).
- March 8, 1988: Steve Weeks traded from Hartford to Vancouver for Richard Brodeur.
See also 
- List of Stanley Cup champions
- 1987 NHL Entry Draft
- 1987 NHL Supplemental Draft
- 39th National Hockey League All-Star Game
- National Hockey League All-Star Game
- NHL All-Rookie Team
- Ice hockey at the 1988 Winter Olympics
- 1987 Canada Cup
- 1987 in sports
- 1988 in sports
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- Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5.
- Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9.
- Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1.
- "Etched in Stone: The Top 20 Most Unbreakable Records in NHL History". Bleacherreport.com. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
- Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Dan Diamond & Associates. p. 153. ISBN 9781894801225.
- Dinger 2011, p. 153.
- NHL Goaltender Leaders During 1987-88 Season | QuantHockey.com
- NHL trade deadline: Deals since 1980 | Habs Inside/Out