I also posted this in the History of Hockey forum. There are some great responses there if you want to check it out: Gretzky's greatest play? -- Completely subjective obviously, and there is a LOT to choose from, but for me, this takes the cake: At 6:51. It doesn't look so "great" or flashy at first. For context: It was Game 7 against the hated rival Flames in the 1984 Division Finals. This was the playoffs after the Oilers had lost to the Islanders in the Cup Final the year before. There was a lot of talk that the Oilers (and Gretzky) just weren't capable of winning on the biggest stage. The Oilers had stormed out to a 2-0 lead in the game, only to watch the Flames come back and tie it 2-2. The Oilers went ahead 3-2, and really had dominated most of the game, but Andy Moog (in the first of many shaky playoff performances) and some iffy defensive coverages gave up the lead and the Flames were leading 4-3 halfway through the second period. Nail biting time at Northlands. Would the offensive juggernaut Oilers once again be undone in the playoffs by a hard working, blue collar effort and subpar goaltending and defense? Gretzky decided enough was enough and he worked his literal ass off on this goal. I'm not even sure how he managed to do what he did. He very sneakily gets body position on the defender, stick checks him, deflects the puck loose into the offensive zone. At this point he's barely still on his skates as he's fighting through the defender. He somehow maintains his balance two or three times, keeps the puck in the zone with two incredible stick moves, and THEN somehow sees Anderson open coming into the zone (while he's spinning around no less) and feeds him with a perfect backhand pass between two defenders. Anderson, the clutch playoff scorer he was, does the rest. It all happens so fast you can't even process the number of things he did to setup that goal. But you see almost everything that made him a generational player. The sneaky stick work to strip the puck. The incredible agility and edge work to get him into the zone with the puck. The ridiculous balance and body control. The awesome anticipation and vision. The mental processing of the game and the fact that he knew what he needed to do 2-3 moves ahead of everyone else. And the hands, good lord the hands. Those who didn't watch Gretzky live sometimes think it is an exaggeration to say that he was near impossible to hit in his prime. This play shows just how difficult it was to hit him, even if he was moving nowhere near full speed and you had very little separation between him and the defender. And most of all he has complete and total command of the puck. He knows where it is at all times during this play, and you can make an argument he was mostly toying with the defenders here, which is ridiculous considering the situation. On the replay you can actually see the Oilers bench stand up anticipating something good would happen as Gretzky works his magic just inside the blue line. Most hockey players in that situation are just looking to survive - saw off the puck battle, maybe chop the puck deep into the zone and go for a line change. Gretzky takes less than a second to realize what he needs to do to create a scoring chance and he does it with authority and confidence. Everything he does in this play looks so natural to him. If you were a Flames player sitting on the bench thinking that you had a chance to actually win this game and this series, and you saw him just do that ... everybody in the arena knew it was only a matter of time once Anderson scored that goal. That goal opened up the floodgates and the Oilers would go on to have a massive period. If Gretzky doesn't make that play, who knows what would have happened? If the Oilers lose that game and that series, does Glen Sather make significant changes to the roster? That was a critical play at a critical time against the team's strongest natural rival, and my candidate for his greatest play.