Kurri, 12 goals against Chicago in 6 games

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by ijk, Jun 3, 2011.

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  1. ijk

    ijk Registered User

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    Hi guys,

    I just stumbled upon a fascinating fact, which is that Jari Kurri holds the record for most goals in one single playoff series, 12 against Chicago in 6 games of the conference finals of 1985. He also had 3 helpers.

    Throughout the playoffs he had 18 GP 19 G 12 A 31 PTS.

    So in other words he "only" had 7 G in the 12 other games. Can someone explain this anomaly and how Kurri was even possible to score 12 goals in one series. Also, who won the Conn Smythe that spring, Gretzky?

    Thanks. Any other info regarding Kurri's / Edmonton's playoff run is appreciated since I was born three years later and dont' have any info on this playoff run.
     
  2. brianscot

    brianscot Registered User

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    I remember watching that series on the old USA network.

    Chicago won the very weak Norris Division playoffs after defeating 66 points Detroit and 62 points Minnesota. They won the right to face the juggernaut in the Campbell finals.

    Edmonton scored 44 goals in six games during the Campbell Conference finals, so the mismatch was on.

    Kurri might have scored only 7 goals in the other 12 playoff games because his arms were fatigued from raising them so much?

    The discrepancy between good and bad that season was incredible, Edmonton and Philly were overwhelming the best two teams in the league.
     
  3. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    I'm pretty sure that 5-6 records or near-records emerged from this ridiculously high-scoring series.
     
  4. TasteofFlames

    TasteofFlames Registered User

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    I can't decide what I find more amazing, Kurri scoring 12, Edmonton scoring 44, or Chicago managing to win 2.
     
  5. blogofmike

    blogofmike Registered User

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    Chicago managing to win two is what helped. Instead of 4 games, Kurri got 6. Kurri/Gretzky could have got to 15 if the Jets ever managed that feat.
     
  6. DwightKSchrute

    DwightKSchrute Registered User

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    Agreed, Kurri had an amazing series and playoffs but Gretzky was 17 G 30 A 47 PTS in 18 GP so hes got my vote for Conn Smythe.
     
  7. Lexus

    Lexus OWN THE MOMENT.

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    I actually think that Franzén's 9 goals in 4 games against the Avalanche in 2008 is more impressive, because of the fact that he didn't have Gretzky and other Hall Of Famers to play with on that dynasty years Oilers had.
     
  8. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    When you have a player scoring a goal a game like Kurri did that season, you expect to see bursts of scoring like that. For example, Brett Hull in 1991/92 had bursts of 8 goals in 4 games, and 9 in 5 games. The year before he had 11 in 6 and 9 in 5. Lemieux in 1987/88 had 10 in 5. In 1988/89 he had 15 in 7, and 12 in 6, and 13 in 4. In 1992/93 he had 14 in 6 and 10 in 5.

    Basically, if you don't have these kinds of bursts, you're not going to average a goal per game for a season. You'll never see a player who scored one goal every game. It's always 3-2-3-0-0-1-0-0-0-2 or something similar. There will always be games you're held off the scoreboard.
     
  9. ijk

    ijk Registered User

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    Cool thanks for all the replies.

    I laughed out loud when someone pointed out that Chicago was able to win 2 games even though they let in 44 goals in a single series. Maybe Niemi vs. Leighton wasn't the worst goalie duel of all time after all :naughty:
     
  10. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Kurri's Scoring Outburst

    A few comments are in order that will place Jari Kurri's performance against the Chacago Blackhawks in a proper context.

    Entering the 1985 playoffs the Hawks were not the same team as they were during the regular season. Beyond the fifty game point the Hawks terminated Orval Tessier as coach, replacing him with Bob Pulford resulting in a turnaround that saw a team that was playing ~.440 hockey under Tessier finish the season at ~.700 pace under Pulford. They won their first two playoff rounds against weak opposition - Detroit and Minnesota before meeting the Oilers.

    What happened during the Oilers / Hawks series was a classic example of the difference between regular season and playoff hockey conditions.

    During the regular season teams play each other one game at a time with an occasional back to back string of two games. Playoffs are different since with few exceptions, teams will face each other between 4 and 7 times at regular intervals with travel, preparation, etc factors equal for both teams and all players. Not the same during the regular season where schedules and travel vary greatly.

    The series started in Edmonton with the Oilers winning two including a first game 11- 2 blowout. The Hawks won two at home then the Oilers won the last two home and away.

    Jari Kurri scored 12 goals during the six games. The scoring string per game was (2/3/0/0/3/4 goals). During games 3 and 4 in Chicago Pulford having the line change advantage, found and applied the defensive solution, when the series went back to Edmonton Sather countered and sustained the advantage during game 6 in Chicago.

    Comparables to a similar string during the regular season are interesting but they would have to take into account actual game circumstances. Playing against possibly six different opponents all with different coaches, players, systems etc factoring in the extremes between a six game homestand and a six game road trip would give context to such an achievement. If this is not done then understanding and appreciation suffer.
     
  11. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    But if the line change advantage is what held Kurri scoreless in two games, how did he score 4 goals in game 6? If Sather's countering makes a difference of four goals per game, why didn't he simply counter in game four, or game three even?

    This is an ad hoc explanation; having the line change advantage holds Kurri scoreless. Except, of course, when it doesn't.

    The line change advantage is definitely an advantage, this is beyond question. Saying it makes a difference of four goals per game is an extraordinary claim.

    What was Sather's counter? Why did he wait until game 6 to apply it?
     
  12. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Really.................

    No one is claiming that there was a four goal advantage per game. No one is claiming that Sather waited.

    Solutions are short and long term. Short term solutions will mask situations briefly but are rarely sustainable. The Hawk LWs did not have the speed to stay with the Oilers, specifically Kurri. Short term, with match-ups advantages due to home ice and juggling shift lengths the lack of speed gets masked.Away from home advantage reverted to the Oilers. Combined with the cumulative effects of the lack of speed by game 6 in Chicago, the Hawks were out of applications and solutions.

    The finals against the Flyers illustrated very clearly the value of speed applied to match-ups. The Flyers had the necessary speed at left wing augmented by the fact that Keenan had introduced the "Sort Shift" game at the start of the 1984-85 season. These two factors combined to mitigate the advantages that Kurri and the Oilers had against Chicago. Kurri scored 1 goal over the course of a five game series (0/0/0/0/1) but Wayne Gretzky, whose game was not as speed dependent, did very well. Interested parties interested in the numbers may find them at the HSP sticky.

    Also the Blackhawks were the only team to beat the Oilers twice during the 1985 playoffs. Given the speed gap between the teams it was an impressive performance by the Blackhawks.
     
  13. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    Yes you are. You stated that the Hawks were able to use line advantages to keep Kurri scoreless in two games. In the third game in Chicago, you claim this advantage was no longer effective, and he scored four goals. That's a difference of four goals, and the only difference between those games that you've noted is the ability to take advantage of line changes.
     
  14. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Fatigue

    No such claim was ever made.

    Accumulated fatigue further impacts speed especially when there is a lck of speed to start. Being able to keep pace under selective conditions for awhile does not imply being able to do it forever.

    Game over for you in this thread.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2011
  15. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    This is misleading, since Kurri picked up 6 assists in those 5 games against Philly, so he certainly wasn't neutralized. He was 2-2-4 in three regular season games against the Flyers that years as well.
     
  16. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    Yes, you said that before. You're saying the cumulative impact of team speed was what neutered the advantage to Hawks had in games three and four over Kurri, so that it was no longer an advantage. Advantage removed, and he goes from zero goals to four.

    Unless there's something else that explains the swing in scoring? You've only presented the one reason.

    That's true. If your opponent refuses to play, then there is no game. You're leaving a lot of questions unanswered.
     
  17. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Selective

    You either missed , ignored or purposely misrepresented the LW component of the analysis when reference was made to it when the Flyers performance was introduced. Hawks lacked LW speed - Secord, Sutter, Fraser, etc were not as fast going in as Propp, Craven, Smith.

    Not aware that we were opponents. Quaint concept. Anyway providing an explanation is not an invitation or license to a competition. Either take it or leave.
     
  18. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    Didn't miss it at all. I was pointing out two things:

    1. The effect you apparently attribute to the Hawks line change advantage is huge - more effective than adding Bobby Orr to your lineup. At least until it later disappears. I question that a tactical advantage can be this huge, and that it can disappear so easily. That's question one unanswered.

    2. Kurri was not as ineffective against the Flyers as your post tried to suggest (1 goal in 5 games). Rather he had 7 points in 5 playoff games, and 4 in 3 in the regular season. I question that if LW speed is what kept Kurri in check, why the Flyers didn't do a better job at it. That's question two unanswered.

    Just continuing your own metaphor, dude. But on the playground, you can usually tell who your opponents are: they're the ones calling you names.
     

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