In the new scheme of things for the Stanley Cup champion Edmonton Oilers, the stress is on defense.
With that in mind, they have been using the top offensive player in the National Hockey League, Wayne Gretzky, to help kill penalties.
The incomparable Gretzky turned killing penalties into an offensive weapon Saturday night and led the Oilers to a 6-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks at Vancouver, Canada.
Gretzky scored two short-handed goals to demoralize the Canucks and pace the Oilers to their fifth consecutive victory. The Oilers, who have not lost to the Canucks in the last 23 games, also got a short-handed goal from Dave Hannan.
"Right now, we're just concentrating on being disciplined defensively," Gretzky said. "For a team that has made as many changes as we have, we're having an exceptional year. Once we get adjusted, the offense will come."
While the Oilers were scoring three goals on Canucks' power-play attempts, the Canucks converted only one of seven opportunities against goaltender Grant Fuhr, who has been playing very well lately.
The Canucks were without eight regulars, including their two top offensive threats, Tony Tanti and Barry Pederson. The Canucks played seven rookies, including John LeBlanc, just up from the American Hockey League, who had two goals.
Gretzky, who also had an assist, has 27 goals.
Montreal 5, Detroit 3--Stephane Richer scored two first-period power-play goals at Montreal, and the Canadiens stretched their unbeaten streak to 13 games (10-0-3).
It took a second-period goal by Claude Lemieux to break a 2-2 tie and get the Canadiens rolling.
Lemieux, who has 12 goals, was not expected to play after suffering a concussion Wednesday night at New York.
New York Islanders 5, New Jersey 3--It doesn't seem to matter how much the Devils have improved, they still can't win at Uniondale, N.Y.
Bryan Trottier and Pat LaFontaine scored two minutes apart in the second period to break open the game and enable the Islanders to increase their lead in the Patrick Division to three points. The Devils' franchise is 1-34-3 at Nassau Coliseum, 0-14-1 since moving to New Jersey.
Buffalo 3, Boston 3--Goaltender Tom Barrasso survived his usual Boston Garden jitters, and the Sabres picked up a tie.
"I'm still nervous coming here. I played here when I was in high school," Barrasso, who prepped at nearby Acton-Boxboro before joining the Sabres in 1982.
Randy Burridge scored early in the third period to get a tie for the Bruins, who are 12-4-1 in their last 17 games.
Washington 2, Chicago 1--One former King player, Mike Murphy, lost his coaching job last week. Another, Bob Murdoch, could be close to losing his with the Blackhawks.
Mike Gartner scored a goal and assisted on the other at Landover, Md., as the Capitals handed the Blackhawks their eighth consecutive defeat.
The Blackhawks, in the Norris Division cellar, are winless in their last 15 road games.
Toronto 4, New York Rangers 3--Al Iafrate's spectacular short-handed goal broke a 2-2 tie in the second period at Toronto, and the Maple Leafs held on to win.
Iafrate took a head-long dive at a loose puck, got his stick on it before Ranger goalie John Vanbiesbrouck could get there and flicked it into the net.
Quebec 5, Minnesota 0--It seems that goaltender Mario Gosselin only has to skate onto the ice to beat the North Stars.
Gosselin faced only 17 shots at Bloomington, Minn. as he recorded the shutout. In his four NHL seasons, Gosselin has faced the North Stars six times, has shut them out three times and has yielded only 10 goals in the six games.
St. Louis 5, Pittsburgh 2--Without their new leader, Paul Coffey, the Penguins were just another hockey team in this game at St. Louis.
Coffey, who injured his knee in Friday night's game with the New York Islanders, didn't dress for Saturday's game. The Penguins' offense and defense suffered.
Bernie Federko and Tony McKegney each had a goal and two assists to lead the Blues, who moved to within a point of second place in the Norris Division.