Wayne Gretzky is the arguably the greatest hockey player of all-time. Gretzky, known as “The Great One”, would flourish in the Stanley Cup playoffs finishing with numerous records and reaching the Stanley Cup finals six times – five times with the Edmonton Oilers and once with the Los Angeles Kings.Embed from Getty Images
How many Stanley Cups did Gretzky win in his six trips to the finals? Wayne Gretzky won 4 Stanley Cups. He won each of those Stanley cups with the Edmonton Oilers in 1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87, and 1987-88. As well, in two of those trips he won the Conn Smythe trophy as the Most Valuable Player. Let’s take a look at each of those series.
Stanley Cup #1 – Edmonton Oilers 1983-1984
This was the Edmonton Oilers fifth season in the NHL, and already their second trip to the Stanley Cup Finals – they lost in the finals to the New York Islanders the year before (more on that below) and now had a rematch against the Islanders dynasty, who had won 4 Stanley cups in a row.
Edmonton Oilers won Series 4-1
The Oilers would split the first two games in New York, before coming back to Edmonton to win three in a row to close out the series. Here is the breakdown of how Edmonton and Gretzky performed in the series:
|1||May 10||New York Islanders||0 - 1||Edmonton Oilers||0||0||0||0|
|2||May 12||New York Islanders||6 - 1||Edmonton Oilers||0||0||0||0|
|3||May 15||Edmonton Oilers||7 - 2||New York Islanders||0||2||2||2|
|4||May 17||Edmonton Oilers||7 - 2||New York Islanders||2||0||2||2|
|5||May 19||Edmonton Oilers||5 - 2||New York Islanders||2||1||3||6|
Gretzky played better as the series went along, having his best game in the clinching series game 5 with two goals and one assist. The Conn Smythe for playoff MVP was not given to Gretzky but his close friend Mark Messier.Embed from Getty Images
Stanley Cup #2 – Edmonton Oilers 1984-85
Edmonton was the class of the NHL once again and Gretzky had managed to win this fifth straight scoring title. This all led to another Stanley Cup finals appearance – their third straight – and this time against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Edmonton won the series 4-1
Edmonton lost the first game in which coach Glen Sather was so mad he burned the tape of the game. From there the Oilers won a close game and then Gretzky almost single handedly pulled Edmonton to three consecutive wins.
|1||May 21||Philadelphia Flyers||4-1||Edmonton Oilers||0||0||0||0|
|2||May 23||Philadelphia Flyers||1-3||Edmonton Oilers||1||0||1||5|
|3||May 25||Edmonton Oilers||4-3||Philadelphia Flyers||3||1||4||7|
|4||May 28||Edmonton Oilers||5-3||Philadelphia Flyers||2||0||2||5|
|5||May 30||Edmonton Oilers||8-3||Philadelphia Flyers||1||3||4||8|
Gretzky would cap off a dominant regular season with his most dominate playoff appearance capturing 47 points. For all of his effort Gretzky was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP.Embed from Getty Images
Stanley Cup #3 – Edmonton Oilers 1986-87
After falling out of the playoffs the previous year in an upset to their biggest rivals the Calgary Flames, the Edmonton Oilers managed to get back to the cup finals. The Oilers would find themselves in the finals once again against the Philadelphia Flyers, both of whom had the best two records in the regular season . This rematch of the 1985 finals would be the hardest fought finals of all the Oilers appearances.
Edmonton won the Series 4-3
|1||May 17||Edmonton Oilers||4-2||Philadelphia Flyers||1||1||2||5|
|2||May 20||Edmonton Oilers||3-2||Philadelphia Flyers||1||1||2||7|
|3||May 22||Philadelphia Flyers||5-3||Edmonton Oilers||0||1||1||1|
|4||May 24||Philadelphia Flyers||1-4||Edmonton Oilers||0||3||3||2|
|5||May 26||Philadelphia Flyers||4-3||Edmonton Oilers||0||1||1||4|
|6||May 28||Edmonton Oilers||2-3||Philadelphia Flyers||0||1||11||2|
|7||May 31||Edmonton Oilers||3-1||Philadelphia Flyers||0||1||1||4|
Gretzky had another strong series, although the point totals were not as high as expected. This had less to do with Gretzky and more to do with Flyers goalie Ron Hextall who won the Conn Smythe despite losing, becoming only the fourth person to do so.
Stanley Cup #4 – Edmonton Oilers 1987-88
The Edmonton Oilers and Wayne Gretzky would be making their fifth Stanley Cup appearance in six years on their way to their fourth Stanley Cup. This would be the first time they would be matched up against the Boston Bruins who were led by Ray Bourque and Cam Neely. The series would not be that close as Edmonton easily won 4 games to 0. However, the most memorable event of this final was in the middle of game four with the scored tied 3-3, the lights at the Boston Gardens went out. The game was suspended at that point and the game was replayed from the start in Edmonton.
Edmonton won the Series 4-0
|1||May 18||Edmonton Oilers||2-1||Boston Bruins||1||0||1||3|
|2||May 20||Edmonton Oilers||4-2||Boston Bruins||1||2||3||7|
|3||May 22||Boston Bruins||3-6||Edmonton Oilers||0||4||4||2|
|4 (Suspended)||May 24||Boston Bruins||3-3||Edmonton Oilers|
|5||May 26||Edmonton Oilers||6-3||Boston Bruins||1||2||3||3|
Gretzky had another fantastic playoff run setting a playoff record with 31 assists in only 18 games. All of this led to Gretzky being named the Conn Smythe winner as the Most Valuable Player in the playoffs for the second time.Embed from Getty Images
Even with all of this achievement nobody knew what was going to come next, as Gretzky ultimately had played his last game for the Oilers as he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in the offseason. This would end the Oilers dominance and also be the last time that Gretzky got to hoist the Stanley Cup, bringing his career total to 4.
Stanley Cup Loss #1 – Edmonton Oilers 1982-83
In Gretzky’s first Stanley Cup appearance with the Edmonton Oilers he faced off against the dynasty of the New York Islanders. The Islanders had won the previous three Stanley Cups and made fairly easy work of the Oilers dispatching them 4-0. The Oilers only managed to score 6 goals in the entire series with Gretzky collecting 4 assists.
The Islanders did a masterful job of keeping the Gretzky and the rest of the Oilers high powered offence in check, as they limited their space and kept all the shots to the outside taking away in high-danger score chances. Gretzky and the Oilers would ultimately learn from this series and use it as a springboard on their way to the their first Stanley Cup the next season.
Stanley Cup Loss #2 – 1992-93 Los Angeles Kings
Gretzky would make his last Stanley Cup appearance by leading the Los Angeles Kings to their first Stanley Cup appearance in their franchise history. Despite winning the first game the Kings would lose the next four games to the Montreal Canadians on the way to a 4-1 series loss.