After starring in the Canada Cup series, Mario Lemieux returned to Pittsburgh with the idea of helping the Penguins become a playoff team in the National Hockey League.
The big center has played brilliantly from the start, but the Penguins haven't prospered. After eight games, the Penguins were only 1-5-2.
So Saturday night, Lemieux took matters into his own hands against the Buffalo Sabres at Pittsburgh, getting a hat trick in the third period to lead the Penguins to a 5-3 victory.
The 22-year-old, fourth-year pro scored twice on power plays in the first 94 seconds of the final session, then put the game away with a shot into an empty net in the final minute. Lemieux, who has accumulated more than 100 points in each of his NHL seasons, has 9 goals and 21 points in 9 games.
Edmonton 9, Vancouver 5--Until this game at Edmonton, Lemieux was the league's leading scorer. But Wayne Gretzky officially began his drive for a ninth consecutive scoring title and got the Oilers' offense in gear in this one.
The incomparable center scored two goals and assisted on three others as the Oilers extended their unbeaten string against the Canucks to 18 games (16-0-2). The Canucks last beat them on March 10, 1985.
Gretzky has 7 goals and 15 assists for 22 points in only eight games.
Calgary 7, Quebec 5--Brett Hull, the 23-year-old son of Bobby Hull, had a goal and three assists at Quebec to lead the Flames to victory.
It was the first goal of the season for Hull, who had one goal in five games last season for the Flames.
Brett's father was noted for his scoring ability, boasting the hardest shot, but his son said he is into the passing game.
Peter Stastny had a hat trick for the Nordiques, who lost their second in a row at home.
Montreal 3, Washington 2--Mats Naslund scored a goal and set up Stephane Richer's game-winner in the second period at Landover, Md. in a game marred by an injury to veteran linesman Bob Hodges.
Late in the second period, Hodges collided with rugged Washington defenseman Scott Stevens, suffered a neck injury and had to be taken to a hospital for X-rays.
It was the first time in the last seven meetings that the Canadiens prevailed over the Capitals.
New York Rangers 5, Philadelphia 3--Walt Poddubny broke a 3-3 tie with his eighth goal of the season with 8:30 left at Philadelphia, and three minutes later Jan Erixon scored on a penalty shot to clinch the win.
Erixon was awarded a penalty shot when he was pulled down from behind while going in on a breakaway.
New York Islanders 2, New Jersey 1--The Devils were trying to do the impossible. After beating the Islanders Friday night at East Rutherford, N.J., they tried to make it consecutive wins.
But Bryan Trottier scored the decisive goal late in the second period and Kelly Hrudey stopped 22 shots. The Devils are 1-32-3 at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y.
Hartford 5, Chicago 3--Ron Francis scored his first goal of the season four minutes into the third period at Hartford, then assisted on Kevin Dineen's goal for his 500th NHL point.
It was the third win in a row for the Whalers, who had lost their first five games. The Blackhawks have lost two in a row after winning five in a row.
Minnesota 7, Toronto 4--Brian Lawton, playing with a cast on his left hand to protect a broken thumb, assisted on three goals to lead the North Stars to their ninth win in a row at Maple Leaf Gardens.
It was Lawton's perfect pass that set up Scott Bjugstad for the game-winner early in the second period.
St. Louis 4, Boston 0--Rick Wamsley stopped 28 shots at St. Louis to earn his first shutout in two seasons. Mark Hunter and Bernie Federko scored power-play goals 80 seconds apart in the first period to make it easier for the goalie.