Even though it was only the fourth night of the season, it was a special evening for Dale Hawerchuk, Bill Barber and Thomas Gradin.
They provided most -- if not all -- of their teams' offenses Friday night in National Hockey League games.
Hawerchuk, the top pick in the NHL entry draft last June, scored his first two goals as a professional and set up two others as Winnipeg bombed the New York Rangers, 8-3. Barber, who was named Flyers' captain before the game, scored Philadelphia's two goals in a 2-2 tie with Detroit. And Gradin, a center from Sweden, hit the net three times to pace Vancouver over Edmonton, 6-2.
Hawerchuk was the main cog in Winnipeg's blitz of the 0-2 Rangers, who have looked anything but Olympian under new Coach Herb Brooks. The teen-age center beat Ranger goalie Steve Baker only 54 seconds into the game, then connected again at 14:11 of the second period.He also set up scores by Norm Dupont and Dave Babych.
"I'm excited about him, just like the fans are excited about him," said Jets Coach Tom Watt. "He's an exciting player to watch."
The Jets were an exciting team to watch as they dominated the Rangers. Morris Lukowich also scored twice, Moe Mantha set up three goals and Dave Christian -- who played for Brooks on the gold medal-winning 1980 United States Olympic team -- had a goal and two assists.
Rookies Mark Pavelich -- another 1980 Olympian -- and Reijo Ruotsalainen, a defenseman from Finland, each scored their first NHL goals for New York. Center Mike Rogers, whom the Rangers acquired from Hartford two weeks ago, also scored for New York.
"It was a total disaster," said Brooks. "We had trouble in our end and their end, on the bench and in the locker room."