The most notable individual performers were Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers, who broke Bobby Orr's single season assist record and Phil Esposito's point mark for a new record of 164 points, winning his second of an unmatched eight straight Hart Trophies as the league's most valuable player, as well as Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders, who became only the second man in NHL history to score 50 goals in his first 50 games. Bossy did it with a flair at his home rink, as he only had 48 goals going into the 3rd and final period (before the advent of overtime games). Bossy admitted being so embarrassed and upset that he contemplated not going out on the ice for the final period. However, Bossy got his 49th goal with 5:15 left to go in the game and the 50th with 1:50 remaining, sending the Nassau Coliseum into a delirium. Maurice Richard, the only other man to accomplish this feat, was on hand to congratulate Bossy.
The New York Islanders finished as regular season champions with 110 points with the St. Louis Blues finishing a close second at 107 points.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes Note: Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold
The Stanley Cup playoffs would see the New York Islanders dominate on their way to winning their second consecutive Stanley Cup. Notably, in the first round against the Maple Leafs, the Isles swept a three-game series, outscoring Toronto 20-4. The Islanders would go on to defeat Edmonton in six games in the quarter-finals, and in the semi-finals, the Islanders swept the Rangers and outscored them 22-8.
In game one of the Edmonton-Montreal series, Wayne Gretzky had five assists. This was a single game playoff record. Another distinction was in the Minnesota North Stars' sweep of the Boston Bruins; the two games the North Stars won in Boston Garden were the first games the team had won in Boston, either regular season or playoff, since the team had joined the NHL in 1967.
Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Kingston, NY: Total Sports. ISBN1-892129-85-X.
Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN978-1-894801-22-5.
Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN0-7710-4179-9.
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. ISBN0-7853-9624-1.