Highest Scoring NHL Game Ever – Who Scored the Most Goals?

highest scoring nhl game

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Last Updated: March 19, 2023

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During the 2020/2021 NHL season, the average goals rate was 2.94. One season prior, the average was 3.02, while the average was at around 3.01 goals for the 2018/2019 season. So, the league’s goal average is around 2.9 goals per game.

The goal average was significantly higher back in the 80s. For instance, the league’s goal average during the 1985/1986 season was around 3.97.

Then, there have been a couple of extraordinary games with way more goals. The highest scoring NHL game remains the matchup between the Edmonton Oilers and the Chicago Blackhawks from 1985. The Oilers won 12-9 in one of the most exciting NHL games of all time.

The highest scoring game in NHL history is also the matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto St. Patricks from 1920. The Canadiens won 14-7. The record for the most goals in NHL history in a game belongs to Joe Malone.

Today, we explore some of the highest scoring NHL games ever played, and we take a detailed look at how they played out and who came out on top.

Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks (12 – 9)

highest scoring game in nhl history

The highest scoring NHL game ever is the matchup between the Edmonton Oilers and the Chicago Blackhawks, tied with the game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto St. Patricks.

The record-breaking game between the Oilers and the Blackhawks was played on Dec 11, 1985 at the Chicago Stadium. With twenty-one goals in total, this remains the highest scoring NHL game in the history of the league, and as expected, it was a wild game.

The star of the highest scoring hockey game ever was none other than Wayne Gretzky, who once again managed to lead his team to a victory in the wildest NHL game.

In the first period, Wayne Gretzky set the NHL record for most assists (7).

Glenn Anderson kicked off the game with his goal in the second minute, assisted by Wayne Gretzky and Randy Gregg.

The Oilers Dave Lumley, Dave Semenko, and Marty McSorley also scored during the first period, assisted by Wayne Gretzky once again, Don Jackson, Mark Napier, Billy Carroll, and Randy Gregg.

The second period of the highest scoring NHL game ever was even more eventful, with twelve goals in total.

Once again, Glenn Anderson scored first in the second period, followed by his teammate Kevin McClelland. Denis Savard scored the first goal for the Blackhawks in the second period as well.

Assisted by Raimo Summanen and Kevin McClelland, Lee Fogolin scored for the Oilers in the sixth minute of the second period, while twenty seconds later, Curt Fraser scored for the Blackhawks, assisted by Doug Wilson and Troy Murray.

Jerome Dupont and Ken Yaremchuk assisted Bill Watson in the seventh minute, while Keith Brown and Behn Wilson assisted Troy Murray in the ninth minute. Jack O’Callahan scored for the Blackhawks, assisted by Jerome Dupont and Troy Murray in the eleventh minute.

Three minutes later, Jari Kurri scored for the Oilers, assisted by Wayne Gretzky and Glenn Anderson. Three minutes before the second period ended, Keith Brown scored for the Blackhawks, while Marty McSorley and Glenn Anderson scored for the Oilers.

Spectators witnessed three goals in the third period of the game, including three goals for the Blackhawks by Troy Murray and two Ken Yaremchuk’s goals. For the Oilers, Kari Kurri scored two times. Both Glenn Anderson and Kurri finished the game with hat tricks.

In addition to this game being the highest scoring NHL game ever, it is also the game with the highest-scoring period in the league’s history since both teams scored twelve goals in the second period.

Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto St. Patricks (14 – 7)

highest scoring nhl game ever

Many would say that the highest scoring NHL game is the matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto St. Patricks from 1920, and they would not be wrong since the teams finished the game with 21 goals in total.

This matchup ties with the game between the Oilers and Blackhawks we discussed earlier. The game ended in the Canadiens’ 14-7 victory, and the main star of the game was Lalonde with two hat-tricks which is a rarity in any sport, let alone in the NHL.

The captain of the Canadiens was definitely the main star of the game, with two goals in the first period. Shortly after the game started, he led his team to a very comfortable 6-1 lead.

Lalonde was not satisfied with this, so he scored three goals in the second period of the game and more goals in the last period.

Lalonde’s six goals from the game are the team’s record up to this day. Only seven other NHL players have achieved the same, including Joe Malone, who set his record only three weeks later after the highest scoring NHL game.

This record for the highest scoring hockey game ever was tied with the 1985 game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Edmonton Oilers.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Edmonton Oilers (11 – 9)

most goals in nhl history in a game

With 20 goals in total, the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers played on Jan 8, 1986 also falls into the category of the highest scoring NHL games. The game was played two years after the Oilers’ first twenty-goal game.

The Oilers lost to the Leafs 9-11, mainly thanks to the amazing performance of the Leafs’ Miroslav Frycer, who scored four goals for the team.

In this game, the Oiler’s captain Gretzky finished with six points and three assists, but this was not enough to stop the Leafs from winning in an amazing fashion.

Steve Thomas and Russ Courtnall also scored for the Toronto Maple Leafs, alongside amazing Miroslav Frycer. Wendel Clark, Brad Smith, and Dan Hodgson also helped their team to win the game. This twenty-goal game is the Leaf’s record, while the previous record was 18 goals in a game set in 1983.

The game started with Andy Moog on the Oiler’s goals, but he was replaced by Grant Fuhr after receiving five goals in the first period of the game. The Toronto Maple Leafs also had a better shooting score of 39 to 31.

Edmonton Oilers vs. Minnesota North Stars (12 – 8)

highest scoring hockey game ever

Tied with the previous NHL matchup with twenty goals in total is the game 1984 game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Minnesota North Stars.

Back in the 1980s, the Oilers were famous for their twenty-goal games, and their first twenty-goal game was played on the Jan 4, 1984.

The team won against the Minnesota North Stars 12-8 in a very exciting match, and without any surprise.

Wayne Gretzky was once again the star of the game for his team with four assists and four goals. Mark Messier finished the game with six assists, while equally superior Jari Kurri landed a hit trick.

The amazing Oilers team went on to win the Stanley Cup that year, led by Wayne Gretzky and other Hall of Fame members, including Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, and Glenn Anderson.

The matchup was played at the Northlands Coliseum and the first and second periods of the game saw sixteen goals and four goals in the third period.

Glenn Anderson scored for his team in the second minute of the game, assisted by Mark Messier. Wayne Gretzky scored for the Oilers in the seventh minute of the game, assisted by Charlie Huddy, while Dennis Maruk scored for the Minnesota North Stars in the ninth minute.

Jari Kurri scored two goals in the first period, assisted by Wayne Gretzky, Charlie Huddy, Brad Maxwell, and Dennis Maruk. Wayne Gretzky increased his team’s lead with this second goal in the first period of the game.

Dino Ciccarelli scored for the Minnesota North Stars in the second period, assisted by Mark Napier and Dennis Maruk, followed by a goal by Brad Maxwell.

Wayne Gretzky scored two goals for the Oilers in the second period, alongside one goal by Juri Kurri, one goal by Paul Coffey, and one goal by Willy Lindstrom.

The third period of the game was not that exciting, with only four goals by Keith Acton, Craig Hartsburg, Paul Coffey, and Randy Gregg. With twenty goals in total, this remains one of the highest scoring hockey games ever.

Six NHL Matchups with 19 Goals in Total 

In total, six NHL matchups finished with nineteen goals scored by both teams, including the 1917 game between the Toronto Arenas and Montreal Wanderers, which finished 10 – 9 for the Toronto Arenas.

The game was played on the 19th of December 1917 at the Montreal Arena and the main star of the show with three goals in the first period of the game was Harry Hyland for the Montreal Wanderers. Harry Cameron scored two times for the Toronto Arenas in the first period.

Dave Ritchie scored the first goal of the game for the Montreal Wanderers in the first minute of the game, followed by Jack McDonald, assisted by Dave Ritchie. Reg Noble scored for the Toronto Arenas in the third minute of the first period.

In the second period of the game, Harry Hyland scored two goals, followed by his teammates Billy Bell and Art Ross. The third period was marked by two of Reg Noble’s goals. In the end, it was 10 – 9 for the Toronto Arenas.

The 1920 matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and the Quebec Bulldogs also finished with nineteen goals in total. The Canadiens led the majority of the game, which ended in their 16 – 3 win over the Bulldogs.

nhl most goals in history

The first goal for the Canadiens came in the thirteenth minute of the first period by Didier Pitre. Didier Pitre finished the first period of the game with a hat trick. Odie Cleghorn also scored for the Canadiens in the first period, assisted by Newsy Lalonde.

The Montreal Canadiens scored seven goals in the second period of the game, while Thomas McCarthy scored for the Quebec Bulldogs thanks to Dave Ritchies’ assist. In the second period of the game, Amos Arbour, Harry Cameron, and Odie Cleghorn also scored for the Canadiens.

The third period of the game kicked off in the second minute with Newsy Lalonde’s goal. Joe Malone and Harry Mummery scored for the Quebec Bulldogs, while the Canadiens’ Harry Cameron, Odie Cleghorn, and Amor Arbour led their team to a massive 16-9 victory.

The 1921 matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and the Hamilton Tigers finished 13 – 6, and this is yet another nineteen-goals NHL game.

The matchup kicked off with Harry Mummery’s goal from the eleventh minute, followed by goals by Didier Pitre and Amor Arbour for the Montreal Canadiens.

Newsy Lalonde increased the Canadiens’ lead in the second period of the game with three goals. Joe Malone scored the first goal for the Hamilton Tigers in the seventh minute of the second period.

Joe Malone also scored two more times for the Tigers in the third period of the game, alongside his teammates Billy Coutu and Thomas McCarthy.

Three more NHL matchups finished with nineteen goals in total, including the 1944 game between the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers (10 -9). The game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Boston Bruins, played on the 16th of March 1944, also finished with nineteen goals (10 -9).

The latest nineteen-goal matchup was the 1983 game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Minnesota North Stars. The Canucks defeated the North Stars 10-9 in a very exciting matchup. Both Tony Tanti and Patrik Sundstrom scored two times for the Vancouver Canucks.

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