When the Calgary Flames spoiled the return of Wayne Gretzky Friday night by beating the Stanley Cup champion Edmonton Oilers, they were beginning to think they were the best team in hockey.
If a loss at home to New Jersey Sunday night didn't bring them back to Earth, what happened to the leaders of the Smythe Division on the start of an 11-game trip, should.
The Flames, who won't return to the Olympic Saddledome, their home, until March because of the Winter Olympics, were humiliated, 9-0, at Winnipeg.
Laurie Boschman had a hat trick and the Jets thoroughly outplayed the Flames in a shocking performance. The Jets, who have had a tough struggle staying above .500 this season, have beaten the Flames seven times in a row at Winnipeg Arena.
Daniel Berthiaume stopped 25 shots in earning his second shutout for the Jets. The Jets were at their best when the Flames were on a power play. The Jets did better than stop the Flames on six opportunities with a man advantage, they scored twice while short-handed.
Boschman opened the scoring at 5:27, beating goalie Mike Vernon with a 35-foot shot. As it turned out, that was all Berthiaume needed. But, they drove Vernon to cover with five first-period goals. Doug Dadswell played the last two periods. The last goal he gave up, to Tomas Steen, was while the Jets were short-handed.
The margin of defeat tied the worst ever for the Flames and was the fourth time they lost by nine goals.
Although they hold a 4-2 edge on the season against the Flames, the Jets are in third place in the division, 17 points behind the Flames.
St. Louis 2, Minnesota 0--The Blues are hot, the North Stars are not.
Doug Gilmour scored a goal and set up the other at Bloomington, Minn., to extend the Blues' club-record winning streak to seven in a row.
On the other hand, the North Stars didn't score for the second straight game. They were blanked by the Kings Saturday night and have gone scoreless for 174 minutes.
Their last score came against the Blues' Greg Millen, who stopped 25 shots for this shutout. Basil McRae scored six minutes after the opening face-off in that one but the North Stars then gave up nine goals in a 9-1 loss.
The North Stars are 8-17-2 at home this season, the worst record in the league. They have won only five games since Dec. 10.
Detroit 6, Chicago 4--Until recently, the Norris Division was tightly fought from top to bottom. Not any longer.
The Red Wings and Blues are pulling away from the pack.
Adam Oates scored twice at Chicago, including the go-ahead goal in the second period as the Red Wings ended a five-game winless streak and maintained their three-point lead over the Blues.
The Blackhawks, in third place, dropped 11 points behind the Red Wings.
Edmonton 8, New Jersey 5--Esa Tikkanen scored three goals and Wayne Gretzky had another good game at Edmonton as the Oilers ended the Devils' three-game winning streak.
Gretzky, in his third game back from the injury list, had a goal and two assists and moved to within 13 points of Mario Lemieux in the scoring race. Gretzky has 10 points in the three games.
The victory enabled the Oilers to move to within one point of Calgary in the Smythe Division race.
Montreal 5, Hartford 2--After scoring only two goals in the first 33 games this season, Sergio Momesso needed someone to show him where the net was.
Once the defensive-minded winger found it at Hartford, he went wild. Momesso had the first hat trick of his career. He scored twice in the second period, then completed his biggest offensive night at 1:19 of the third period.
This goal put the game out of reach for the Whalers, who led, 2-1, earlier.