The highest-scoring games in NHL history

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

December 27th, 2021

Only a goalie could hate a high-scoring NHL game. It’s thrilling to watch your favorite team or player pile up points, and the drama builds when you know that no lead is safe.

Let’s look back at the highest-scoring games in NHL history.

5. (Tie) Toronto Arenas 10, Montréal Wanderers 9 (Dec. 19, 1917), Montréal Canadiens 16, Quebec Bulldogs 3 (Mar. 3, 1920), Montréal Canadiens 13, Hamilton Tigers 6 (Feb. 26, 1921), Boston Bruins 10, New York Rangers 9 (Mar. 4, 1944), Detroit Red Wings 10, Boston Bruins 9 (March 16, 1944), Vancouver Canucks 10, Minnesota North Stars 9 (Oct. 7, 1983)

The 19-goal threshold has been reached six times in NHL history, most recently in 1983 when the Canucks beat the North Stars 10-9. Patrik Sundstrom and Tony Tanti each scored twice for Vancouver.

It was a 10-9 final three additional times, with the 1943-44 Bruins being involved in two of those games (1-1 record). Boston center Bill Cowley couldn’t complain, as he amassed seven goals and three assists in those tilts.

The biggest blowout of this bunch was the Canadiens’ 16-3 shellacking of the Bulldogs in 1920. Hall of Famer Newsy Lalonde led the way for Montréal with four goals.

3. (Tie) Edmonton Oilers 12, Minnesota North Stars 8 (Jan. 4, 1984)

The Edmonton Oilers, famous for their goal-scoring exploits in the 1980s, were involved in their first 20-goal game against the Minnesota North Stars on Jan. 4, 1984, prevailing 12-8.

Not surprisingly, Wayne Gretzky led his club with four goals and four assists, while fellow Hall of Famer Mark Messier had six assists. The great Jari Kurri had a hat-trick as well.

The 1983-84 Edmonton squad would go on to win the Stanley Cup en route to being considered one of the greatest teams in hockey history

3. (Tie) Toronto Maple Leafs 11, Edmonton Oilers 9 (Jan. 8, 1986)

The Oilers came up on the losing end of a 20-goal game just two years and four days after their first 20-goal game in franchise history.

The Maple Leafs got four goals from centerman Miroslav Frycer in the Jan. 8, 1986 victory. Gretzky had a six-point game in defeat.

1. (Tie) Montréal Canadiens 14, Toronto St. Patricks 7 (Jan. 10, 1920)

It might look like a football score, but the co-leader for highest-scoring game in NHL history was a 14-7 victory by the Canadiens over the St. Patricks on Jan. 10, 1920. This was a mere two months before Montréal’s aforementioned 16-3 slaughter of Quebec.

Lalonde’s skill was once again on display, as he garnered the rare double hat-trick.

1. (Tie) Edmonton Oilers 12, Chicago Blackhawks 9 (Dec. 11, 1985)

Gretzky once again found a way to dot the NHL record book, as his Oilers were involved the co-highest scoring game in history, a 12-9 triumph over the Blackhawks. It occurred just one month before their aforementioned 11-9 loss.

Kurri, along with fellow Hall of Famer winger Glenn Anderson, posted a hat-trick in the victory. This game also featured the co-highest scoring period in NHL history, as the clubs combined for 12 goals in the second frame. The only other game to boast that was a Mar. 19, 1981 showdown between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres, in which the latter prevailed 14-4.