Who has scored the most goals in a single NHL season?

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Auston Matthews recently scored his 50th goal of the season in the Toronto Maple Leafs' 6-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes, becoming the fastest NHL player to reach that mark in 28 years. Later in that same game, he also scored his 51st goal.

Matthews has scored nine goals in his past four games. Does he have a shot at the NHL record for the most goals in a single season? Who is the record holder?

Wayne Gretzky, 92 goals, 1981-82

Gretzky scored 92 goals for the Edmonton Oilers during the 1981-82 season and needed only 369 shots, achieving an extremely efficient 24.9% accuracy rate. He finished the season with 10 hat tricks. While it took Matthews 54 games to score his 50th goal, Gretzky scored his 50th goal in his 39th game for the Oilers. Gretzky won the Hart Memorial Trophy (given to the most valuable player) every year from 1980 to 1987. Gretzky also racked up 120 assists, finishing with 212 points -- the only player in NHL history to total 200 points in a season (a feat he achieved four times).

Wayne Gretzky, 87 goals, 1983-84

Gretzky had another remarkable season in 1983-84, finishing with 87 goals. As ESPN Classic notes: "Four times in the five seasons from 1981-82 to 1985-86, Gretzky scored more than 200 points, averaging an incredible 207 points (75 goals and 132 assists) for the Oilers. In 394 games, he averaged 2.6 points a contest." Gretzky led the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Final, where they defeated the New York Islanders in five games.

Brett Hull, 86 goals, 1990-91

Hull scored 86 goals for the St. Louis Blues during the 1990-91 season, earning him the Hart Memorial Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Award that year. Hull reached the 50-goal mark in the 49th game. The Blues ultimately lost in the division semifinals to the Detroit Red Wings in seven games.

Mario Lemieux, 85 goals, 1988-89

Lemieux finished the 1988-89 season with 85 goals and 114 assists (199 points) for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He nearly joined Gretzky in the 200-point club, finishing just one point shy. Lemieux led the Penguins to the division finals, where they lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games. Gretzky once told ESPN Classic: "Mario was one guy that could really motivate me to push my game to another level. I knew eventually he was going to chase me down and pull me back. That was inevitable."

Alexander Mogilny, 76 goals, 1992-93

Mogilny scored 76 goals for the Buffalo Sabres during the 1992-93 season. Mogilny and Teemu Selanne of the Winnipeg Jets tied as the league leaders in goals scored, and Mogilny led all players in hat tricks with seven. The Sabres advanced to the division finals, where they were swept by the Montreal Canadiens.

Phil Esposito, 76 goals, 1970-71

At the time, Esposito's 76-goal season with the Boston Bruins seemed unfathomable, shattering the previous NHL record of 58 goals. That year, his 152 points were also an NHL record. Esposito was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984, and the Bruins retired his No. 7 jersey in 1987.

Teemu Selanne, 76 goals, 1992-93

Selanne and Mogilny tied for the league lead in goals scored during the 1992-93 season. What made Selanne's 76 goals even more impressive is the fact that he was a rookie in the NHL. "The Finnish Flash" earned the Calder Memorial Trophy (given to the rookie of the year) and his first NHL All-Star selection. In 2017, Selanne was named one of the "100 Greatest NHL Players" and elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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