-- The high-scoring, show-stopping personality festival that is the NHL all-star weekend came to a grinding halt today as players scurried all over the continent to reunite with their teams and the league prepared for another three months of one-goal games.

The Eastern Conference's 11-7 victory over the Western Conference Saturday, the highest-scoring all-star game in four years, already seemed like a mirage as players returned to a season that is on pace to almost double the NHL record for shutouts. But it sure was fun.

"This is an experience I won't forget," San Jose Sharks winger Owen Nolan said. "It was unbelievable."

Nolan was probably the happiest, having scored a hat trick in front of the home crowd at San Jose Arena. But other players were enthusiastic. Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, playing together for the first time since 1987, are tied for the lead in career all-star game scoring, each with 20 points. Gretzky posted one assist, and has 12 goals and eight assists in 16 games. Lemieux tallied two goals and an assist, and has 11 goals and nine assists in eight games.

Gretzky broke Gordie Howe's consecutive games streak, playing in his 16th all-star game, and Boston Bruins forward Adam Oates set an all-star record for career assists, registering two for 12 total. With an assist, St. Louis Blues winger Brett Hull tied his father Bobby's career all-star mark of 10 points. Bobby played in 10 all-star games, Brett has played in seven.

"It's nice that it's my dad, but he was also a pretty good player," Hull said. "Any time you can equal a person of that stature it's a big deal. These are the legends of the game."

Not that every record set was admirable. Western Conference Coach Ken Hitchcock, in an otherwise successful coaching career, is 0-10 in all-star games, including the minors. Eastern Conference Coach Doug MacLean is 2-0 in NHL all-star games, having coached the East to victory the past two years.

The East has a four-season winning streak, although MacLean was not about to take credit. "The guys I had out there were unbelievable," he said. "The last shift was Gretzky, {Mark} Messier, Lemieux, Paul Coffey and {Ray} Bourque. That's not a bad way to end."

The sentiments of MacLean, a second-year coach for the Florida Panthers, were shared by 17-year veteran Dale Hunter of the Washington Capitals

"I'll admit, I was a little nervous with players of that caliber, but once you get to playing hockey you get over it," Hunter said. "Just sitting on the bench with those guys was really fun, and playing on the same line as Messier" for a shift was a highlight.

"The great thing was that even though this was an all-star game, those guys wanted to win. I wasn't sure how they would take a game like this, but I was pretty impressed with the way they were competitive."

So competitive, in fact, that the game featured two penalties: a hooking call on Coffey and a tripping penalty on former Capital Kevin Hatcher. Those were the first penalties called since 1993 in an all-star game.

Western Conference goaltender Patrick Roy indicated players on both teams had something to prove after the lack of scoring in the first half of the season. Some players have blamed officiating, others have whispered about goaltender equipment.

"Well, I guess they can't complain about the equipment after tonight," Roy said. "I think some players have been frustrated by the lack of goals and it came out."