The Boston Bruins are finally beginning to play the way General Manager Harry Sinden thought they could. It is too late to finish higher than fourth place in the tough Adams Division, but they may be ready for a big effort in the playoffs.
Louis Sleigher scored 16 seconds after the opening faceoff Wednesday's Games
day night at Pittsburgh to touch off a five-goal first period, and the Bruins coasted to a 7-3 victory over the struggling Penguins.
It was the second win in a row for the Bruins and gave them a 6-4-1 record since Sinden replaced Gerry Cheevers as coach Feb. 14.
"I think our guys are starting to realize how much fun it is to win," Sinden said. "I was very pleased with the way we passed the puck, and we're getting a good effort out of our young players.
"I think they learned their lesson. Last week at home against the Penguins, we were up 4-2 and took it for granted it was all over. We wound up losing in overtime.
"After the first period tonight I reminded them about what happened, and they came out and scored two more."
The Penguins, who missed another chance to gain on the Rangers in their bid for the last playoff spot in the Patrick Division, broke Pete Peeters' bid for a shutout halfway through the last period. They added two more goals, but it was far too late.
Edmonton 7, Detroit 6--Wayne Gretzky has been the leading goal scorer in the NHL for the last three seasons. Because of his fabulous passing ability, he may relinquish that title this season.
Although the Oilers played another subpar game at Edmonton, they outlasted the Red Wings and Jari Kurri surged ahead of Gretzky.
Kurri converted two Gretzky passes into his 65th and 66th goals of the season. Gretzky, who had four assists, scored his 65th goal.
Kurri and Gretzky combined to set up linemate Dave Semenko with what proved to be the game-winner with just 3:02 remaining in the game.
New York Islanders 4, Chicago 3--Veteran defenseman Denis Potvin scored with 7:50 remaining at Chicago to give the Islanders the lead, and goalie Kelly Hrudey made two spectacular saves in the last 30 seconds to preserve the victory.
Duane Sutter scored for the Islanders just 13 seconds after the opening faceoff, and the Black Hawks spent most of the night playing catch up.
They finally pulled even on Steve Larmer's 41st goal late in the second period.
Philadelphia 5, New York Rangers 2--Power-play goals by Ilkka Sinisalo and Brian Propp at New York helped the Flyers skate to their fifth consecutive victory and their sixth in a row over the Rangers.
Coach Mike Keenan of the Flyers has said he is afraid his team is peaking too soon. There is still more than two weeks left in the regular season before the long playoff grind begins.
The Flyers were without injured Tim Kerr, their leader in goals, points, power-play scores, shots and game-winning goals, but they still dominated the game.
Quebec 8, Minnesota 0--Anton Stastny had two goals and three assists at Quebec, and rookie goaltender Mario Gosselin stopped 30 shots to register his first NHL shutout.
The Nordiques, who have lost only once in their last six games, scored three times in the first period, then completed the rout by scoring five in the last period. The victory moved the Nordiques to within two points of Montreal, leader of the Adams Division.
Calgary 5, Toronto 3--Hakan Loob scored a short-handed goal to snap a 3-3 tie at Toronto and the Flames went on to win the game that enabled them to pull within a point of second-place Winnipeg in the Smythe Division.
Loob, on the ice to kill a penalty, intercepted defenseman Borje Salming's cross-rink pass, skated in alone on goalie Ken Wregget and beat him with a wrist shot for his 30th goal.
Vancouver 6, Buffalo 4--Mark Kirton scored twice and goalie Richard Brodeur made 39 saves to help the Canucks turn back the Sabres at Vancouver.
Brodeur's best save came with eight minutes gone in the third period and the score 5-4. He robbed Gilbert Perreault from point-blank range.