The Quebec Nordiques won their first five games of the season without Michel Goulet, their scoring ace. But for No. 6, they needed the sharpshooting left wing.
Goulet, who scored 168 goals in the last three seasons, converted a pass from John Anderson into a goal with just 3:15 left at Quebec Saturday night to give the Nordiques a 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh.
The 6-0 start is the best the Nordiques have had in their seven seasons in the National Hockey League. When they built a 3-0 lead through two periods, it appeared they would breeze behind goaltender Mario Gosselin.
Gosselin, who won his fourth game, maintained the shutout until only 6 1/2 minutes remained. But Mike Blaisdell scored twice in less than two minutes, and Mike Bullard tied the score with four minutes left.
Less than a minute later, Goulet, who had 56 goals last season and 95 points in just 69 games, fired in the winning goal, beating Gilles Meloche.
Goulet walked out of camp a month ago because the Nordiques refused to renegotiate his contract, which has two years to go.
Apparently, after the Nordiques raced to five consecutive victories, Goulet, 25, became a little more amenable. He agreed to a one-year extension, but management insisted there was no increase for this season.
"No amount of money that will be added in the extra year has any relationship with his pay for the current season," General Manager Maurice Filion told the Associated Press.
Boston 6, Calgary 3--There never was any doubt that Charlie Simmer knows where the net is. Before suffering a near-crippling injury in 1981, Simmer had two seasons with the Kings in which he scored 56 goals.
Slowed by the leg injury, it has been a tough struggle for the 31-year-old left wing. Last season he scored 33 goals for the Bruins.
However, as he plays an important part in the Bruins' fast start under Butch Goring, a former teammate with the Kings, it appears that Simmer is all the way back.
In this game at Calgary, Simmer had a hat trick and ran his total to eight goals in six games this season.
The Bruins were playing their third game in four nights on the road, but they outplayed the Flames most of the way. With goalie Pete Peeters stopping 33 shots, the Bruins improved their record under Goring to 4-1-1. Unfortunately for them, it is good only for second place in the Adams Division, three points behind the sizzling Nordiques.
Hartford 11, Montreal 6--It has been generally accepted that the Whalers are a vastly improved team this season. Still, what happened in the first period of this game at Hartford was a shocker.
The Whalers routed one of the league's top goalies, Steve Penney, in a seven-goal outburst that made it easy for them to improve their record to 4-1.
Ron Francis had a hat trick in the wild first period, but only one of his three goals were with Penney in the net. Penney departed at 13:51 of the period, having given up five goals on 13 shots. Rookie Patrick Roy replaced Penney and Francis scored twice before the period ended to build the Hartford lead to 7-2.
The Whalers' Ray Neufeld had five assists.
Chicago 6, Detroit 2--In the battle between a couple of losers at Detroit, Bob Sauve made an auspicious debut in goal for the Black Hawks, and the Red Wings are now the only winless team in the NHL.
Sauve turned aside 33 shots and the Black Hawks, with Ed Olczyk scoring twice, ended a string of four winless games. The Red Wings are 0-5-1.
Winnipeg 4, Toronto 3--For more than 40 years, the Maple Leafs sold out every home game. But in three games this season, they have yet to reach the 16,182-seat capacity.
Only 15,009 were on hand and they saw the Leafs take a 3-1 lead into the final period, only to lose when Perry Turnbull scored to break a 3-3 tie with less than two minutes remaining.
New York Islanders 5, New York Rangers 4--Pat LaFontaine's 15-foot wrist shot with 24 seconds left at Uniondale, N.Y. gave the Islanders the victory. It was costly, however. Center Brent Sutter suffered a dislocated shoulder and will be out at least five weeks.
Philadelphia 7, Minnesota 3--Rick Tocchet had two goals and an assist at Philadelphia to lead the Flyers.
Washington 2, Buffalo 2--Mike Ramsey fired a 30-footer past goaltender Pat Riggin with less than eight minutes remaining at Landover, Md., to get the Sabres a tie.
St. Louis 4, New Jersey 3--Joe Mullen had a goal and an assist at St. Louis to help the Blues jump out to a 4-0 lead and they barely hung on to beat the pesky Devils.