Denis Herron stopped 45 shots, and rookies Troy Loney and Mario Lemieux each scored two goals Saturday night at Pittsburgh to lead the improving Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the Stanley Cup champion Edmonton Oilers.
A sellout crowd of 16,033 cheered wildly when Lemieux's power-play goal near the middle of the third period gave the Penguins a two-goal margin. The Penguins held off a desperate rally to win their 17th game of the season, one more than they won all last season.
Herron was making just his third start in goal in the last 12 games, but he was at the peak of his game. Although the magnificent Wayne Gretzky set up all three Edmonton goals, Herron prevented Gretzky from getting his 400th goal.
The Oilers hammered at Herron from the start. They fired 17 shots at him in the first period, 16 in the second and 15 in the last 20 minutes.
Gretzky's linemates Mike Krushelnyski and Glenn Anderson scored the goals. Krushelnyski's second goal of the game came with 6:17 to play, but Herron stopped the last five shots to save the victory. With the win the Penguins took a three-point lead over the New York Rangers in the battle for the final playoff spot in the Patrick Division.
Montreal 1, Buffalo 1--A crowd of 17,149, which included Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens, but a teen-age goalie from Boston kept it from being a joyous occasion.
Tom Barrasso, 19, stopped 29 shots, five of them in overtime and the Canadiens had to settle for a tie that extended their winless streak to seven games.
Larry Robinson, honored before the game as one of the Canadiens' all-time defensemen, set up Mario Tremblay for a first period power play goal, but the Canadiens could not score again. They came close early in the third period when top scorer Mats Naslund went in on a breakaway, but Barrasso made a brilliant save.
Mike Foligno scored late in the first period for the Sabres, who have lost only once in the last 18 games.
New Jersey 5, Washington 3--Saturday's are becoming milestones for the Devils. A week ago they beat Montreal for the first time since they were the Kansas City Scouts.
In this game at East Rutherford, N.J., Mel Bridgman's power-play goal six minutes into the final period carried the Devils to their first victory over the Capitals since moving to New Jersey three years ago.
The game marked the first NHL victory for Finnish goaltender Hannu Kamppuri. Kamppuri had lost his four previous starts, including a 6-4 loss to Washington in November. In this game Kamppuri stopped 22 shots and two of the goals he gave up were on power plays.
The 14th victory in 41 games left the Devils only three wins away from their total for last season.
New York Islanders 5, Philadelphia 3--Seldom used Mats Hallin, John Tonelli and Mike Bossy scored in the last 3 1/2 minutes at Uniondale, N.Y. to bring the Islanders from behind.
Bossy, who assisted on Tonelli's goal that put the Islanders in front, scored his second goal of the game into an empty net in the closing seconds. With 36 goals in 39 games, Bossy seems a cinch to top 50 goals for the eighth consecutive season.
Minnesota 5, Hartford 4--Steve Payne scored at 5:54 of the third period at Bloomington, Minn. to break a 4-4 tie and enable the North Stars to end a two-game losing streak.
The North Stars came out strong, holding Hartford without a shot for 12 minutes, but they needed Payne's 35-foot blast to pull out the victory.
St. Louis 4, New York Rangers 4--The Rangers led most of the way at St. Louis, but had to come from behind to tie after the Blues scored goals 21 seconds apart in the third period to take a 4-3 lead.
At 13:11, just 22 seconds after the Blues took the lead for the first time in the game, Robbie Ftorek scored his fifth goal of the season. It extended the Blues' winless string on home ice to five games.
Boston 4, Detroit 3--Ken Linseman scored twice at Boston and former King Charlie Simmer scored his 25th to lead the Bruins in a sloppy game.
"It wasn't much of a game," Bruin Coach Gerry Cheevers said, "except for two spectacular saves by our goaltender Doug Keans."