Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky scored his 70th goal of the season and added pair of assists in a 5-3 Oilers win over the Washington Capitals to tie an NHL record with his 153rd point of the season.
During the 1981–82 season, he surpassed a record that had stood for 35 years: 50 goals in 50 games. Set by Maurice “Rocket” Richard during the 1944–45 NHL season and tied by Mike Bossy during the 1980–81 NHL season, Gretzky accomplished the feat in only 39 games. His 50th goal of the season came on December 30, 1981 in the final seconds of a 7–5 win against the Philadelphia Flyers and was his fifth of the game.Later that season, Gretzky broke Esposito’s record for most goals in a season (76) on February 24, 1982, scoring three goals to help beat the Buffalo Sabres 6–3. He ended the 1981–82 season with records of 92 goals, 120 assists, and 212 points in 80 games, becoming the only player in NHL history to break the two hundred-point mark. That year, Gretzky became the first hockey player and first Canadian to be named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year. He was also named 1982 “Sportsman of the Year” by Sports Illustrated. The Canadian Press also named Gretzky Newsmaker of the Year in 1982.