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Filling The Void

Filling The Void: Bylaw 27-12

A power outage delays the Edmonton Oilers in their quest to become Stanley Cup Champions in 1988

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Filling The Void: Bylaw 27-12


Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

The world at large is slowly starting to wake from its self-imposed slumber. Nations, states, cities, and towns everywhere are beginning their attempts at resuming life – whatever that may look like in a pre-vaccine COVID-19 world. For sports leagues around the globe, plans are already in place or currently being hammered out to resume competition. While details are still being discussed, negotiations are still being had, and logistical challenges are being addressed, we at The Turf are continuing our “Filling the Void” series. Since mid-March, we’ve been looking back on remarkable, historic, inspiring and noteworthy sports stories of days gone by.

You learn something new every day

When I sat down to write this morning, I didn’t have anything particular in mind. With everything going on in the world, I’ve found it hard to articulate my thoughts and emotions, especially “on paper”. So – in an attempt to jumpstart my creative juices, I decided to tackle another installment in our “Filling The Void” series. That led me to today’s game. Or should I say “game(s)”. If you were a Boston Bruins or Edmonton Oilers fan in 1988, you know what I mean.

The Game 4 That Wasn’t

For those of you who don’t fit the criteria I just mentioned – here’s the lowdown. On May 24, 1988 the Boston Bruins were hosting the Edmonton Oilers in Game 4 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals. Edmonton was leading the series 3-0 and looking to close things out that night. It wasn’t meant to be, however. At least, not on that night and not in Boston.

The game that night at Boston Garden was notable for numerous reasons. First – Glenn Anderson put the Oilers up 1-0 after only 10 seconds. Next, there was the fog that delayed the game during the second period. But those “quirks” were not the biggest events of the night. The “cherry on top” came with 3:23 left in the second period. The Oilers had just scored to tie the game when the power went out in the arena. The emergency lighting wasn’t sufficient enough to continue play, so after about an hour, NHL President John Ziegler made the announcement that the game had been suspended.

Playing By The Rules

According to the League bylaw 27-12 in 1988:

“If, for any cause beyond the control of the club, a playoff game should be unfinished, such game shall be replayed in its entirety at the end of the series, if necessary, and it shall be played in the rink in which the unfinished game occurred.”

So – the series made its way back to Edmonton for Game 5 and the suspended game would be replayed back in Boston – but only if the Bruins would’ve won three straight games to necessitate the replay. I know – my head is spinning too.

Today: 1988 Stanley Cup Finals – Game 4 – Boston Bruins vs. Edmonton Oilers

As it turned out, there was no need to return to Boston. The Bruins didn’t win three games. They didn’t even win one. On this night, the Oilers would double up the Bruins by a score of 6-3 and go on to hoist the Stanley Cup.

See You Tomorrow. Stay Safe. Stay Smart. Wash Your Hands.

Joe is an actor who grew up eating, living and breathing sports. He spent many an afternoon on the soccer or baseball field in his youth (and even gave several other sports a shot) before a series of events put him on the path to pursuing a performing career. Subsequently, he's worked almost every other type of job you could imagine while trying to support that endeavor. Whenever he's not working any of those jobs, he can often be found watching, playing or discussing sports in some way. Most of that banter revolves around the Mets, Giants, Rangers or Manchester United. His short term goal is to fully convert his fiance into a rabid sports fan, not someone who leaves the room whenever he turns a game on.

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