Wayne Gretzky broke a record and Vincent Damphousse broke open the game.
"They kept putting the puck on my stick," Damphousse said after scoring a record-tying four goals Saturday to lead the Campbell Conference over the Wales Conference 11-5 in the NHL All-Star game.Damphousse, who said he was so nervous on his first shift he could hardly skate, didn't take long to settle down. He scored midway through the first period, then capped a brilliant performance with three goals in the third.
Damphousse, the Toronto Maple Leafs' leading scorer with 14 goals, is the third player in All-Star history to score four goals in a game. Gretzky, who had a record-breaking 11th goal on Saturday, and Mario Lemieux are the others.
"Just to make the All-Star team was a dream come true," Damphousse said. "And then to make the MVP, I feel like I'm on top of the world now."
At the start of the game, however, Damphousse had very little confidence. He said that on his first shift, "I stumbled and I was so nervous, it was like my feet were in cement."
Campbell Conference coach John Muckler noticed.
"He was so nervous, I didn't think he would get through his first shift," Muckler said. "Then he got untracked."
Damphousse finished like a champion. His three third-period goals ended any hopes of a comeback by the Wales Conference.
"They said I was the leading candidate (for MVP) going into the third period," said Jeremy Roenick, who had a goal and two assists for the Campbell Conference. "But it went where it was deserved. How can you beat four goals? Plus, he's a good guy, a great player and shows up night after night for a team that is not so good."
Gretzky added another record to his growing list. His 11th All-Star goal in 11 games broke a tie with Gordie Howe, who scored 10 in 23 All-Star games.
"I'm very proud," Gretzky said. "It's always fun being involved in high-scoring games." As for the record, it "could go down in two years."
Lemieux has nine goals in five All-Star Games.
The game started on an emotional note when the 18,472 fans were asked to observe a moment of silence for American troops in the Persian Gulf war.
When the organist played the National Anthem, the fans roared from start to finish and many of waved American flags. The stadium was sprinkled with signs concerning the war.
"We Support Our All-Stars In The Gulf," one said
"No Flag Burners Here - God Bless The USA," said another.
Players wore United Nations decals on their helmets and the NHL said that security had been beefed up to avoid the possibility of terrorism.
As in 1989 and 1990, the All-Star game was a nightmare for goaltenders. The Campbells, who won 12-7 last year and 9-5 in 1988, have won three in a row but still trail 11-4 in the series.