SUN Hockey Pool

Happy anniversary

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

Wayne Gretzky's behind-the-back passes.

Grant Fuhr stopping a pair of penalty shots.

Orval Tessier's tell-all quote about his own failed team.

There are memories that Kevin Lowe holds dear about the 1985 Stanley Cup champion edition of the Edmonton Oilers, which claimed their second straight title with an 8-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers 20 years ago today. A year earlier, the brash young band of superstars had finally climbed over the mountain known as the New York Islanders and captured their first NHL crown.

The first may often be the sweetest, but the second went down pretty well, too.

"To repeat was pretty special because we'd finally learned how to win when we won the first one and then the next year everyone was doubly ready for you," said Lowe. "And there are a lot of reasons why teams don't have success the second year - because of things like egos.

"We just had the feeling that we wanted to do something special for a lot of years and we did it in '84 and '85. We felt at the time that the only thing that could get in our way was ourselves and that's what happened in '86. We were a very focused group in '85."

So focused that the Oilers breezed past Los Angeles and Winnipeg in the Smythe Division and, after a 11-day break, they then destroyed a much-ballyhooed Chicago Blackhawks squad in a six-game series that dramatically showcased the Oil's firepower.

ROBBED ON PENALTY SHOTS

In the final, the Oilers dropped the opener to the Flyers and then rattled off four straight victories - getting a large dose of help from Fuhr, who robbed both Ron Sutter and Murray Craven on penalty shots.

"There were no pushovers," recalled Lowe. "In those days, those divisional series were always the toughest because you'd see each other so many times over the course of the season that there was so much bitterness built up. They were always ugly.

"I remember after the Chicago series (Hawks GM) Orval Tessier said his team needed to go to the Mayo Clinic to get a heart transplant. It was unbelievable. I remember Gretzky's behind-the-back pass to Kurri for a breakaway.

"It was ridiculous the way we were humming on all cylinders. There were so many amazing plays and goals. I've never seen, in a semifinal round, another team dominate so much."

Gretzky's 47 points in 18 playoff games clinched him his first Conn Smythe Trophy.

"I think Wayne found it to be a great sense of relief," explained former linemate Dave Semenko. "He became the face of the team after we'd won in '84 because he was the greatest player in the game, and before that he'd received all that recognition and hadn't led his team to a championship."

"We were all happy that we'd won for each other, but we all knew we couldn't have done it without him."

As sweet as it was for the Great One, the rest of the gang was savouring the champagne feeling as well.

"I think there was a sense of vengeance in '85," said Semenko. "We know what it took to get there and we got a taste of it. Once we won it once, we wanted it again.

NEVER IN JEOPARDY

"We were never pushed to limit. The year before we'd gone seven games with Calgary, but in '85 we never faced elimination and we were never in jeopardy.

"We had learned so much from the Islanders. They never panicked and never got rattled.

"We knew we were the best team on paper and all we had to do was execute. If we were ever in trouble, we just needed to relax because we knew we were able to pull ourselves out."


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