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Sittler marvels over Gagner's 'magical' night

Darryl Sittler knows exactly how Sam Gagner felt.

"Everything falls into place," he said. "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."

Gagner finished with eight points — four goals, four assists — in Edmonton's 8-4 victory over Chicago on Thursday night. The Oilers' forward became just the 12th NHL player to total at least that many points in a game — and the first since Mario Lemieux on Dec. 31, 1988.

Sittler, the former captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, has held the NHL record since Feb. 7, 1976. His landmark game against Boston featured six goals and four assists. It remains an evening he still can't 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," Sittler told The Canadian Press on Friday. "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."

All of Gagner's goals and assists came in the final 40 minutes. 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 assists 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.

"I didn't think I would ever be mentioned in the same breath as (Wayne) Gretzky or (Paul) Coffey," said the 22-year-old Gagner. "You never expect to do something like this."

"It's a great lesson to never set limits," he added. "The great players who played here never did that. It was just one of those games where everything went in and just a great feeling."

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

"It's gone on for a long time," Sittler said. "I guess the fact that there were so many great players like Wayne 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 51-year-old Sittler works in community relations for the Maple Leafs. He understands that records, even as long-standing as his, eventually fall.

"Those things are out of your control," he said. "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."

But he knows that one day that may no longer be the case.

"If the stars are aligned right and everything is working, it might happen someday," Sittler said. "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."

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