It may be that whoever wins the bitterly fought playoff battle between the Quebec Nordiques and the Philadelphia Flyers will be too beat up to challenge the Edmonton Oilers in the championship round of the Stanley Cup series.
While the Oilers were outskating the Chicago Black Hawks again, more players went by the wayside at Quebec as the Flyers evened the semifinal series at one apiece with a 4-2 victory Tuesday night.
Dave Poulin, shortly after scoring a short-handed goal midway through the first period to give the Flyers the lead for good, injured his knee and joined linemate Tim Kerr on the injury list. Kerr also has a knee injury. During the regular season, Kerr and Poulin, scored 84 goals between them.
However, youngsters Murray Craven and Ilkka Sinisalo scored second-period goals, and the Flyers didn't miss their shooting stars.
The Nordiques, whose top player, Michel Goulet, is playing with a hip injury, also lost Peter Stastny when he was hit in the head with a stick by Ron Sutter of the Flyers. However, he came back after getting stitches in the wound.
At no time did the Nordiques resemble the team that outplayed the Flyers in the opening game and won on an overtime goal by Peter Stastny. They twice gave up the puck right in front of goaltender Mario Gosselin, and Philadelphia converted both into goals.
The only time the Nordiques had any real hustle was early in the final period, shortly after Sutter injured Stastny. After cutting the lead to 3-1, they handed the puck to Joe Patterson of the Flyers and he went in on Gosselin to score and end the threat.
"When you see your best shooters go out," Craven said, "you've got to understand what has to be done. We knew we had to pick it up. We knew we had lost a lot of offense. But we've lost both of them before, so we were prepared."
The Flyers acquired Craven when they sent veteran center Darryl Sittler to Detroit. Craven, who played 46 games in two seasons with Detroit, has been a surprise star with the Flyers.
The next two games will be played at Philadelphia where the Flyers have not lost since March 3.
Edmonton 7, Chicago 3--Jari Kurri scored three times at Edmonton and the Oilers, in taking a 2-0 lead in the series, set a National Hockey League record by winning their 12th consecutive playoff game. Montreal and Boston had previously won 11 in a row.
Kurri snapped a 1-1 tie in the first period, scored again in the third period to give the Oilers a two-goal margin, then finished his hat trick with a shot into an empty net.
Although he didn't score a goal, Wayne Gretzky had three assists to maintain his scoring lead in the playoffs. Gretzky has 25 points in nine postseason games.