Most points by NHL player in a single Stanley Cup playoff series

USA TODAY Sports-Historical
Most points by NHL player in a single Stanley Cup playoff series

In only three games of the 2023-24 Stanley Cup playoffs, Edmonton Oilers captain, Connor McDavid has nine points.

As the last player to record 150 points during the regular season, reaching a career-high 153 in 2022-23, McDavid has the skill set to challenge some of the most unmatched playoff records, including the most points in a single series.

Historically, there have been several format changes to the Stanley Cup playoffs, with three-game, five-game, and seven-game series to determine the winner.

Even though the format has changed, one constant has remained the same: how the officials add up goals and assists. Today, we look at the top performers in a single playoff series.

Most points by NHL player in a single Stanley Cup playoff series

#10, Wayne Gretzky - 15 points (Edmonton Oilers, 1987)

As the leading playoff scorer of all time, it is unsurprising to see Wayne Gretzky's name on this list a couple of times.

His first entry is a memorable 15-point performance in a five-game series in the Smythe Division Semifinals in 1987 against his future team, the Los Angeles Kings.

The Edmonton Oilers scored 32 goals and 83 points in the series, with Gretzky accounting for 18% of the team totals.

His best performance came in Game 2 when he scored seven points in a 13-3 victory.

#9, Mario Lemieux - 15 points (Pittsburgh Penguins, 1991)

Mario Lemieux is one of the best players to ever skate in the NHL and won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1991 and 1992 when he guided the Pittsburgh Penguins to their first Stanley Cup titles.

Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins

In the Prince of Wales Conference Final against the Boston Bruins, Le Magnifique collected 15 points in six games, with six goals and nine helpers.

Interestingly, Pittsburgh lost the first two games, and Lemieux netted only four points. His best performance came in Game 5 when he scored a goal and had three assists for four points.

#8, Tim Kerr - 15 points (Philadelphia Flyers, 1989)

Tim Kerr led the Philadelphia Flyers against Lemieux and the Penguins in the 1989 Patrick Division Finals.

In this thrilling seven-game series, he led all players with 15 points, including 10 goals, outpacing Lemieux by a goal and an assist.

Only two games, Game 5 and 6, were decided by more than two goals, with the Flyers losing 10-7 and then winning 6-2.

Kerr collected six points with four goals and two helpers during those two contests.

#7, Jari Kurri - 15 points (Edmonton Oilers, 1985)

Jari Kurri is a five-time Stanley Cup champion who still owns the record for most goals in a single playoff series, collecting 12 goals in six games against the Chicago Blackhawks in 1985.

As Gretzky's linemate, Kurri received many of The Great One's passes en route to a record-breaking performance.

During the series, Kurri scored three hat tricks, including a four-goal performance in the series clincher in Game 6.

Two of the best single-goal performances in a single playoff series are on this list, and these players happen to be back-to-back.

#6, Doug Gilmour - 16 points (Toronto Maple Leafs 1994)

After missing out on advancing to the Stanley Cup Final in 1993, Doug Gilmour brought his fiery passion into the following postseason.

In the Western Conference Semifinals matchup against the San Jose Sharks, he scored 16 points, coming within a few points of breaking the all-time points record for a single playoff series.

In seven games, he scored three goals and set up 13, including a five-point performance in Game 4 that knotted the series at 2-2.

#5, Barry Pederson - 16 points (Boston Bruins, 1983)

Barry Pederson may be a hockey analyst for the Bruins now, but he had a solid career with the team. Fans are thankful for his performances because the team traded him for Hall of Famer Cam Neely.

During another epic Stanley Cup playoff series between two long-time rivals, the Bruins and Buffalo Sabres, Pederson collected 16 points to help Boston advance by setting up Brad Park's overtime winner in Game 7.

Surprisingly, with 16 points, Pederson was not even the leading scorer in the series; that honor went to his teammate Rick Middleton.

Moreover, he scored 16 points but did not appear on the scoresheet in Game 6 after scoring nine points in Games 4 and 5.

#4, Leon Draisaitl - 17 points (Edmonton Oilers, 2022)

Leon Draisaitl is the only skater born (1995) after all these milestones and the only one who achieved 17 points in a Stanley Cup playoff series in the 21st century.

Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers
Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers

During the Pacific Division Final against their provincial rivals, the Calgary Flames, he scored 17 points in just five games while playing for the Oilers. He also helped McDavid (12 points) and the Oilers advance to the Western Conference Final together for the first time.

During his magical series, Draisaitl broke Gretzky's assists record for a single series with 15 helpers and two goals, as Edmonton easily disposed of its rivals in five games after dropping the opener 9-6.

He never had less than three points in any game, collecting four points in Games 3 and 5.

#3, Mario Lemieux - 17 points (Pittsburgh Penguins 1992)

As mentioned, Lemieux had a great run to the Stanley Cup in 1991, and in 1992, he gave an encore performance that was even better than the opening act.

In the first series of their title defense, the Penguins and Washington Capitals went the distance, seven games, with Lemieux collecting 17 points, thanks to seven goals and 10 assists.

His Stanley Cup playoff performance is even more impressive because he did not skate in Game 1. After Pittsburgh fell behind 2-0, Lemieux scored six points in Game 3 to get them back into the series.

Then, down 3-1, he had five points in Game 6 to force a winner-take-it showdown, in which he scored the opening goal to help the Penguins advance.

#2, Wayne Gretzky - 18 points (Edmonton Oilers, 1985)

In the highest-scoring Stanley Cup playoff series, the Oilers, with captain Gretzky, scored 115 points in six games against the Blackhawks, with The Great One earning 15.6% of the totals.

He scored four goals, which ranked fourth on the team, and his 14 assists were more helpers than anyone on the Blackhawks had points.

As mentioned, his milestone series set the NHL Stanley Cup playoff assist record, only surpassed by Draisaitl in 2022.

During the series, which was 2-2 at one point, the Oilers only scored under five goals once (Game 3), which was the only time Gretzky did not register a point.

#1, Rick Middleton - 19 points (Boston Bruins, 1983)

In the 24th highest-scoring Stanley Cup playoff series (137 points), Middleton set the NHL record for 19 points in a seven-game series between the Bruins and Sabres.

Rick Middleton, Boston Bruins
Rick Middleton, Boston Bruins

Boston won the series in overtime in Game 7, with Middleton picking up two assists in the 3-2 victory.

His 19 points were more than the top three scorers in the Buffalo lineup, as Mike Ramsey, Phil Housley, and Gilbert Perreault all had six points apiece, equalling 18.

His series performance broke down as follows: Game 1 (two), Game 2 (three), Game 3 (two), Game 4 (six), Game 5 (four), Game 6 (zero), and Game 7 (two) to finish with five goals and 14 assists.

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