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The Globe and Mail

Sittler congratulates Gagner, but is happy to keep points record

A Jan.7, 1982 file photo of Toronto Maple Leafs captain Darryl Sittler.

The Canadian Press

Darryl Sittler knows exactly how Sam Gagner felt.

"Everything falls into place," he said Friday in an interview. "Every shot you take pretty well goes in or you make a pass and the guy completes it — it's magical those types of nights, they don't happen very often."

Like many around the hockey world, Sittler was surprised to wake up and hear of Gagner's eight-point performance in Edmonton's 8-4 victory over Chicago on Thursday night.

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The Oilers forward became just the 12th NHL player to record at least that many points in a game — and the first since Mario Lemieux last accomplished the feat Dec. 31, 1988.

Sittler, the former captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, continues to hold the NHL record almost 36 years after racking up six goals and four assists in a game against Boston. It remains an evening he still can't really explain.

"I would never have thought that in my wildest dreams that I would be the one to score 10 points in a game, but it happened," said Sittler. "I'm sure Gagner probably never thought he'd have eight.

"He's been struggling a little bit this season — I don't know if he's had injuries or what it is — but he certainly put up the points last night."

Gagner's four goals and four assists came in the final 40 minutes of the game. After finishing the second period with three points, he scored the first of three third-period goals at 1:54. He would add two more assist as well.

Sensing what was happening, the fans at Rexall Place chanted "We want 10! We want 10!" — a nod to both a previous blowout win over Chicago and Sittler's record.

Even though scoring in the sport has been greatly reduced since Sittler set his record in 1976, he's still a little surprised it hasn't been challenged. No other NHL player has even reached nine points.

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"It's gone on for a long time," said Sittler. "I guess the fact that there were so many great players like Wayne (Gretzky) and Mario (Lemieux) and Sidney (Crosby) and (Alex) Ovechkin, and the number of years that passed. ... I get asked about it all the time."

The 61-year-old Sittler continues to do work in community relations for the Maple Leafs. He's prepared for the possibility of one day seeing his record matched or surpassed.

"Those things are out of your control," said Sittler. "If somebody breaks it, that would be great. No different I guess when I tied and broke (Maurice) Rocket Richard's record — a great Canadian hero and he scored it in the '40s. I don't think anyone would have thought that somebody else was going to get eight (points) or six (goals) in a game, that sort of thing. And it happened.

"If it happens to somebody, I'd be happy for them. But hey, am I glad to hold the record and would like to continue holding it? Sure, definitely."

One thing he refused to do is rule out the possibility of it happening.

"If the stars are aligned right and everything is working, it might happen some day," said Sittler. "I'm glad to have done it in a Leafs uniform and I'm proud to have held the record for as long as I have so far."

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Gagner did manage one entry into the Oilers record book. He tied the franchise mark for most points in a game, joining Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey.

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