Sept. 11, 1987: Canada 6, Soviet Union 5
The final three-game series of this tournament between Canada and the USSR is considered by many to be the best exhibition of hockey in history. At the time, the USSR players were not allowed to pursue playing careers in North America, and so it was only through tournaments like this one where hockey fans could see their skills head-to-head against the best of the NHL. While many fans may have rooted against the Soviet Team, they never questioned their skills.
The tournament also was the only time in a meaningful contest that the two most dominant NHL players of the last quarter century, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, played on the same forward unit, and as expected dazzled fans with electrifying goals.
The Soviets won the opener of the best-of-3 series, 6-5 in OT. Canada took the next game, also 6-5, also in OT. The Soviets took a 3-0 lead in Game 3. It was 4-2 after one period, but Canada scored three times in the second period to take a 5-4 lead. The Soviets tied it up. Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, playing on the same team for the only time in something other than an All-Star Game, combined for the winning goal with 1:26 left, as Gretzky delivered a perfect pass on a 2-on-1 to Lemieux. Earlier, in a similar situation, Lemieux passed the puck back to Gretzky, who told him to shoot the puck next time. Lemieux did, and Canada won.