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The 1988 Stanley Cup playoffs, the playoff tournament of the National Hockey League (NHL), began on April 6, after the conclusion of the 1987–88 NHL season. It concluded on May 26, with the defending champion Edmonton Oilers defeating the Boston Bruins to win their second straight Stanley Cup and fourth in five years.

1988 Stanley Cup playoffs
Tournament details
DatesApril 6–May 26, 1988
Defending championsEdmonton Oilers
Final positions
ChampionsEdmonton Oilers
Runner-upBoston Bruins
Tournament statistics
Scoring leader(s)Wayne Gretzky (Oilers)
(43 points)
MVPWayne Gretzky (Oilers)

The Presidents' Trophy winning Calgary Flames had home ice advantage during the playoffs thanks in part to Edmonton's struggles without Wayne Gretzky, who missed a number of games due to injury. The Oilers, who had won the Cup in three of the previous four seasons, were still thought to have a good chance at repeating with Gretzky's return. The clash between the Flames and Oilers in the Smythe Division Final was highly anticipated.

The New Jersey Devils made the playoffs for the first time since their move from Denver, winning in overtime at Chicago Stadium on the season's final day to edge the New York Rangers for the Patrick Division's fourth spot. This was only the second time they made the playoffs including their Colorado and Kansas City days.

Gretzky set NHL playoff records with 31 assists in 18 games and 13 points in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Playoff seedsEdit

The following teams qualified for the playoffs:

Prince of Wales ConferenceEdit

Adams DivisionEdit

  1. Montreal Canadiens, Adams Division champions, Prince of Wales Conference regular season champions – 103 points
  2. Boston Bruins – 94 points
  3. Buffalo Sabres – 85 points
  4. Hartford Whalers – 77 points

Patrick DivisionEdit

  1. New York Islanders, Patrick Division champions – 88 points
  2. Washington Capitals – 85 points (38 wins, 9 points head-to-head vs. Philadelphia)
  3. Philadelphia Flyers – 85 points (38 wins, 5 points head-to-head vs. Washington)
  4. New Jersey Devils – 82 points

Clarence Campbell ConferenceEdit

Norris DivisionEdit

  1. Detroit Red Wings, Norris Division champions – 93 points
  2. St. Louis Blues – 76 points
  3. Chicago Blackhawks – 69 points
  4. Toronto Maple Leafs – 52 points

Smythe DivisionEdit

  1. Calgary Flames, Smythe Division champions, Clarence Campbell Conference regular season champions, Presidents' Trophy winners – 105 points
  2. Edmonton Oilers – 99 points
  3. Winnipeg Jets – 77 points
  4. Los Angeles Kings – 68 points

Playoff bracketEdit

  Division Semifinals Division Finals Conference Finals Stanley Cup Finals
A1 Montreal 4  
A4 Hartford 2  
  A1 Montreal 1  
  A2 Boston 4  
A2 Boston 4
A3 Buffalo 2  
  A2 Boston 4  
Prince of Wales Conference
  P4 New Jersey 3  
P1 NY Islanders 2  
P4 New Jersey 4  
  P4 New Jersey 4
  P2 Washington 3  
P2 Washington 4
P3 Philadelphia 3  
  A2 Boston 0
  S2 Edmonton 4
N1 Detroit 4  
N4 Toronto 2  
  N1 Detroit 4
  N2 St. Louis 1  
N2 St. Louis 4
N3 Chicago 1  
  N1 Detroit 1
Clarence Campbell Conference
  S2 Edmonton 4  
S1 Calgary 4  
S4 Los Angeles 1  
  S1 Calgary 0
  S2 Edmonton 4  
S2 Edmonton 4
S3 Winnipeg 1  

Division SemifinalsEdit

Prince of Wales ConferenceEdit

(A1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (A4) Hartford WhalersEdit

Montreal was the best team in the Wales Conference during the regular season.

Montreal won series 4–2

(A2) Boston Bruins vs (A3) Buffalo SabresEdit

Boston won series 4–2

(P1) New York Islanders vs. (P4) New Jersey DevilsEdit

This was the first and to date only playoff series between these two teams. This was the first time that a team representing the state of New Jersey qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs. This was the first ever playoff series victory for the Scouts/Rockies/Devils franchise.

New Jersey won series 4–2

(P2) Washington Capitals vs. (P3) Philadelphia FlyersEdit

Washington overcame a 3–1 series deficit to advance to the second round for the first time in two years. Game seven ended when Dale Hunter scored at 5:57 of the first overtime period to complete the Capitals comeback.

Washington won series 4–3

Clarence Campbell ConferenceEdit

(N1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (N4) Toronto Maple LeafsEdit

Game six in Maple Leaf Gardens was future Hall of Famer Borje Salming's final playoff game in the NHL.

Detroit won series 4–2

(N2) St. Louis Blues vs. (N3) Chicago BlackhawksEdit

St. Louis won series 4–1

(S1) Calgary Flames vs. (S4) Los Angeles KingsEdit

Calgary won series 4–1

(S2) Edmonton Oilers vs. (S3) Winnipeg JetsEdit

Edmonton won series 4–1

Division FinalsEdit

Prince of Wales ConferenceEdit

(A1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (A2) Boston BruinsEdit

This was the twenty-third playoff series between these two teams. This was the fifth year in a row that these team met in the playoffs. Montreal had defeated Boston in the Division Semifinals the four previous seasons.

This was Boston's first playoff series victory against Montreal since 1943. Boston had lost the previous 18 playoff series between these two teams, an NHL record for most consecutive playoff series defeats to one team.

Boston won series 4–1

(P2) Washington Capitals vs. (P4) New Jersey DevilsEdit

Patrik Sundstrom's eight-point effort in game three (3 goals, 5 assists) set a new Stanley Cup playoff record for most points in a single game.

New Jersey won series 4–3

Clarence Campbell ConferenceEdit

(N1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (N2) St. Louis BluesEdit

Detroit won series 4–1

(S1) Calgary Flames vs. (S2) Edmonton OilersEdit

In the Battle of Alberta the Oilers would claim the first sweep of the playoffs. In game two Wayne Gretzky scored the overtime winning goal short-handed.

Edmonton won series 4–0

Conference FinalsEdit

Prince of Wales Conference FinalEdit

(A2) Boston Bruins vs. (P4) New Jersey DevilsEdit

This series featured the infamous confrontation between Devils coach Jim Schoenfeld and referee Don Koharski after Game 3, when, during an argument in the tunnel after the game, Koharski tripped and fell, accusing Schoenfield of pushing him. Schoenfield famously responded, "Good, 'cause you fell you fat pig!" Then, he yelled "Have another doughnut! Have another doughnut!" The incident has since become part of NHL lore.

Schoenfeld was suspended by NHL president John Ziegler for Game 4, but the Devils received an injunction from a New Jersey court, allowing Schoenfeld to coach the fourth game. In protest, the officials scheduled to work that game in the Meadlowands refused to take the ice, forcing the NHL to scramble for amateur officials to call the contest. The injunction was lifted and Schoenfeld served his suspension during Game 5 in the Boston Garden.

Boston won series 4–3

Clarence Campbell Conference FinalEdit

(S2) Edmonton Oilers vs. (N1) Detroit Red WingsEdit

The Red Wings were no match for the Oilers and were defeated in five games for the second consecutive year in the conference final.

Edmonton won series 4–1

Stanley Cup FinalsEdit

The original game four is well known for fog that interfered with the game and a power outage that caused the game to be canceled at 16:37 of the second period. This allowed the Oilers to win the Cup at home at Northlands Coliseum and complete the sweep in a rescheduled game four.

Edmonton won series 4–0

Player statisticsEdit


These are the top ten skaters based on points.[1]

Player Team GP G A Pts +/– PIM
Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers 19 12 31 43 +9 16
Mark Messier Edmonton Oilers 19 11 23 34 +9 29
Jari Kurri Edmonton Oilers 19 14 17 31 +15 12
Esa Tikkanen Edmonton Oilers 19 10 17 27 +2 72
Ken Linseman Boston Bruins 23 11 14 25 +4 56
Glenn Anderson Edmonton Oilers 19 9 16 25 +5 49
Bob Probert Detroit Red Wings 16 8 13 21 +8 51
Ray Bourque Boston Bruins 23 3 18 21 +16 26
Adam Oates Detroit Red Wings 16 8 12 20 -2 6
Patrik Sundstrom New Jersey Devils 18 7 13 20 +7 14


This is a combined table of the top five goaltenders based on goals against average and the top five goaltenders based on save percentage, with at least 420 minutes played. The table is sorted by GAA, and the criteria for inclusion are bolded.[2]

Rejean Lemelin Boston Bruins 17 11 6 428 45 2.64 .895 1 1024:27
Grant Fuhr Edmonton Oilers 19 16 2 470 55 2.91 .883 0 1135:37
Glen Hanlon Detroit Red Wings 8 4 3 170 22 3.07 .871 1 430:37
Pete Peeters Washington Capitals 12 7 5 325 34 3.12 .895 0 652:49
Patrick Roy Montreal Canadiens 8 3 4 217 24 3.36 .889 0 428:57

See alsoEdit