Super scorer Mike Bossy collected his first two all-star goals last night to carry the favored Prince of Wales Conference to a 4-2 victory over the fast-starting Campbell Conference in the 34th NHL All-Star Game at Capital Centre.
Bossy, on target for a fifth straight 50-goal season with 40 at the break, shattered a 2-2 tie with a second-period shot that deflected into the net off the skate of defender Craig Hartsburg.
"I was lucky and he was unlucky," Bossy said, and he wasn't kidding. Lucky Bossy was selected as the game's most valuable player, receiving a $16,000 automobile at center ice afterward.
The New York Islanders' sharpshooter also provided the insurance score, converting a headman pass by Montreal's Larry Robinson early in the third period. Bossy swept in on the breakaway, gave Minnesota goalie Gilles Meloche a double head fake and beat him low on the glove side.
"This is my fourth time at the all-star competition and I don't think I had a shot on net before tonight," Bossy said. "I haven't been scoring as much as I want, but I had four goals this weekend and I'd like to think I'm on a roll now."
The younger Campbell team came out flying, outshooting the Wales club, 10-1, in the first eight minutes. But after Toronto's Rick Vaive sent a high drive past the starting Wales goalie, Pittsburgh's Michel Dion, at 2:32, Dion shut off the westerners.
Dion has been shaky recently and he had to be removed Saturday after a blast by Washington's Darren Veitch knocked him unconscious and left him dizzy. He did not play Sunday and there was speculation following Vaive's shot that he might be in for a long evening. Dion quickly dispelled it, giving up only a breakaway score by Edmonton's Wayne Gretzky before departing at midgame. He had 18 saves in 30 1/2 minutes.
"They're a young team and the way they came out and jumped all over us, I knew I'd have to make some saves to keep us in there until we got our legs going," said Dion, who will be 28 on Thursday. "Once we scored they started to slow down a little and we gradually took control."
That first Wales goal was produced by Boston's Ray Bourque and directed by Washington's Dennis Maruk, who had received a deafening pregame ovation from the sellout crowd of 18,130. Maruk passed out from behind the Campbell net to Bourque, who skated in from the right-wing circle to beat Edmonton goalie Grant Fuhr.
Bourque's goal came on a power play, with the unlucky Hartsburg in the box for hooking. Moments before, Dion had made the biggest save of the game, foiling a shorthanded breakaway by Edmonton's Mark Messier, who was sent into the clear by Gretzky.
"In the first period, I think our enthusiasm was evident," Gretzky said. "Our young guys were hyped up and if we could have gotten a couple more goals, maybe there would have been a different ending. But Dion was very good."
Quebec's Marc Tardif gave the Wales a 2-1 lead with a quick move out from behind the Campbell goal, following an exchange of rear-boards passes with Boston's Rick Middleton.
Gretzky evened things at 26 seconds of the second period on a breakaway, beating Dion high on the glove side after taking a headman pass from Oiler teammate Paul Coffey.
"That was my first all-star goal and any time you do something for the first time in the NHL it's a great thrill," Gretzky said. "I kept us in there for a while, but I'm afraid I didn't help the team too much tonight."
The goal marked Gretzky's first all-star shot in seven periods, since the opening period of the 1980 contest.
From there on, it was all Wales, with the winners posting a 23-10 margin in shots over the last 39 minutes.
"Everybody's been saying we have an older team and maybe it took a period for the arthritis to loosen up in there," said the winning coach, Al Arbour of the Islanders.
Fuhr made some outstanding stops early in the second period to keep the game even and his relief man, Meloche, made some excellent stops, too, before Bossy took over.
"It always helps playing with guys you're used to playing with," Bossy said. "John (Tonelli) and Bryan (Trottier) and I have been playing together the last four games. We knew how to play in our defensive end and when you play in your defensive end it opens up the chances for you.
"I'm going to drive the car, but I have a little deal with my buddies and they'll get their little piece. My wife (Lucy) doesn't drive, but she said if I won the car she'd take lessons. It gave me a little extra incentive."
There was limited contact, as always in the All-Star Game, but Montreal defenseman Rod Langway was involved in a third-period collision that left him with what was tentatively diagnosed as stretched knee ligaments.