Mike Bossy became the first player in National Hockey League to score 50 or more goals in eight consecutive seasons Tuesday night at Uniondale, N.Y. and barely missed making it a night for celebration.
Bossy's second goal of the game and 51st of the season enabled the New York Islanders to tie the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-4, with less than a minute remaining in regulation. But at 2:18 of overtime, Dave Poulin scored to give the Flyers a 5-4 victory.
Brian Propp, who scored three Flyers' goals, set up the game-winner for Poulin to take some of the luster off another Bossy gem.
Until Bossy arrived on the NHL scene in 1977, a 50-goal season was considered an unusual feat. In the first 60 seasons, the goal had been reached 33 times, most of the 50-goal seasons belonged to Bobby Hull and Phil Esposito.
Nobody was prepared to have anyone do it in each of his first eight seasons. Until Bossy did it, only one other rookie had scored 50 in a season.
Until Wayne Gretzky arrived in 1979, Bossy was something of a phenomenon. Although he has continued his prolific scoring, Bossy is now just the man who breaks the records before Gretzky.
"I'm just his custodian," Bossy said. "Barring injuries, I'll only hold this one until Gretzky completes his eighth season.
"For the time being, though, I'll cherish this. It proves among other things that I've been a durable player. I only wish I could have done it in a winning game."
The Islanders trailed, 3-1, going into the final period against the Flyers, who had not won in eight previous overtime games. The Islanders tied it on goals by Denis Potvin and John Tonelli, only to have Lindsay Carson put the Flyers ahead again with 95 seconds left in regulation. Bossy took a pass from Bryan Trottier to tie it just 38 seconds later.
But Poulin's 15-footer was the only shot in the extra session.
Edmonton 5, Calgary 3--Rookie goaltender Mike Zainer stopped 35 shots at Calgary in his NHL debut to help the Stanley Cup champion Oilers end a four-game winless streak.
Zainer gave up three goals, but two of them came after the Oilers built a 5-1 lead. In the third period, Zainer stopped 15 shots.
Jari Kurri scored his 62nd goal for the Oilers. He trails the leader, teammate Wayne Gretzky, by only one goal. Gretzky assisted on Kurri's goal for his only point.
St. Louis 7, Toronto 2--Brian Sutter scored his 33rd and 34th goals of the season at St. Louis to help the Blues clinch a playoff berth.
Doug Wickenheiser and Joe Mullen, Sutter's linemates, each had a goal and an assist as the Blues stretched their lead in the Norris Division to six points.
Washington 4, New Jersey 1--Al Jensen, getting his first start in the nets since Jan. 9, stopped 19 shots at Landover, Md., to enable the Capitals to remain four points ahead of Philadelphia in the Patrick Division.
It was only the sixth game all season for Jensen, who underwent knee surgery 48 days ago.
A rebound goal by Aaron Broten on a power play was the only score off Jensen.
Quebec 6, Boston 4--Brent Ashton had a hand in all the Nordique goals at Quebec. The left wing registered his second career hat trick and assisted on the other three goals, and the Nordiques moved into a three-way tie for first place in the Adams Division race.
The Nordiques, Montreal and Buffalo all have 74 points. The Sabres have the edge because they have one more game to play than the other two.
Buffalo 6, Hartford 3--Mike Foligno, Paul Cyr and Mal Davis scored third-period goals at Buffalo to send the Sabres into a tie for first place in the Adams Division.