The 5 Highest Scoring Games in NHL History

A hockey scoreboard depicting a score of 8 to 9

LiveAbout / Alex Dos Diaz

What was the highest-scoring game in NHL history? Hockey fans can answer that question a couple of ways, either by counting the total number of points scored or the difference between winning and losing scores. Either way, these five high-scoring NHL games are memorable moments in hockey history.

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12-9, Edmonton Oilers Over Chicago Blackhawks (Dec. 11, 1985)

Wayne Gretzky Skating With the Puck
Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

In the modern era, the record for highest-scoring NHL game is held by the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks. In the 1980s, the Oilers were on fire, thanks in no small part to center Wayne Gretzky, rightly considered the best player of all time. Gretzky didn't have any goals in this high-scoring NHL game, but he did have seven assists, a single-game record. Not too surprising, given that "The Great One," as he's often known, hold the record for the most assists (and most points scored) in the NHL. The Oilers, who won the Stanley Cup in 1984, would go on to win three more consecutive NHL championships in 1985, '86, and '87.

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9-8, Winnipeg Jets Over Philadelphia Flyers (Oct. 27, 2011)

Winnipeg Jets v Philadelphia Flyers
Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

The original Winnipeg Jets left Canada for Phoenix, Ariz., in 1996, to become the Coyotes. The team that now bears the Winnipeg namesake began life as the Atlanta Thrashers before relocating in 2011. The Jets had a mediocre first season in Winnipeg, going 37-35-10 overall. But for one game at least, they really showed their mettle, going to the wire in one of the highest-scoring NHL games of all time. Each of Winnipeg's 9 points was scored by a different player.

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13-0, Edmonton Oilers Over Vancouver Canucks (Nov. 8, 1985)

Team member of the Edmonton Oilers
B Bennett / Getty Images

Just one month before Edmonton and Chicago would play their record-setting game, the Oilers set a franchise record against the Vancouver Canucks in November. Despite the five power plays in the second period alone, the Canucks couldn't put the puck in the net all night. Oilers Winger David Lumley, on the other hand, had a big night with a hat trick and two assists, while Wayne Gretzky had four assists.

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15-0, Detroit Red Wings Over New York Rangers (Jan. 23, 1944)

Team photo of the 1943-1944 Detroit Red Wings
Public Domain 

The Detroit Red Wings are one of the most storied teams in the NHL. They had won the Stanley Cup the previous season (1942-43) and would make the playoffs again in the 1943-44 season. The Rangers, on the other hand, were dismal. They would end up going 6-39-5 that season. So perhaps it's not too surprising that this contest between Detroit and New York was so lopsided. The Red Wings would score 8 points in the third period alone, including a hat trick by left-wing Syd Howe.

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16-3, Montreal Canadiens Over Quebec Bulldogs (March 3, 1920)

The 1920 Montreal Canadiens played the New Yorkers at Madison Square Garden

 George Rinhart / Getty Images

It's only fitting that the Montreal Canadiens, the oldest team in the NHL, holds the record for the most points scored by one team. The Habs, as they're known to die-hard fans, defeated the Quebec Bulldogs 16-3 on March 3, 1920. In the same season, Montreal also helped set the record for most goals scored by two teams in a single game. On Jan. 10, 1920, the Canadiens defeated the Toronto St. Patricks 14-7.

Although the NHL has changed considerably in the following decades, this record and the Montreal Canadiens both have withstood the test of time. The Saint Pats eventually became the Toronto Maple Leafs; the Bulldogs folded a few years later.