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NHL Roundup : Devils No Longer a Soft Touch for Flyers, 7-4

December 18, 1985|DAN HAFNER

Ever since the New Jersey Devils entered the National Hockey League more than a decade ago as the Kansas City Scouts, the Philadelphia Flyers have looked forward to playing them.

Going into this season, the franchise that moved to Denver and finally to East Rutherford, N.J., had won only eight of 56 games against the Flyers.

This season the improved Devils have served notice they are no longer going to be easy for any team.

Greg Adams scored two goals Tuesday night at East Rutherford to lead the Devils to a 7-4 victory that ended the Flyers' three-game winning streak. The Devils are 2-0 against the leaders of the Patrick Division this season. In the opening game of the season, the Devils won, 6-5, at Philadelphia, after wiping out a 3-0 deficit.

Tuesday night, the Devils jumped on the Flyers from the start. They scored against goalie Darren Jensen on their first two shots of the game and, when they also scored on their ninth at 10:14 of the first period to take a 3-0 lead, Jensen was on his way to an early shower. His replacement, Bob Froese, didn't fare much better. Adams' second goal made it 4-0 before Froese had been on the ice a minute. Paul Gagne made it 5-0 just before the end of the period.

By the middle of the second period, the Devils, in their best performance of the season, had a 7-1 lead. The Flyers scored two of their goals in the closing minutes of one of their infrequent one-sided defeats.

The Devils (13-16-1) are still last in the Patrick Division, but they are only two points behind the Rangers and only three points away from the final playoff spot.

New York Islanders 7, Buffalo 3--For the fourth consecutive game, Denis Potvin of the Islanders failed to get the one point he needs to become the all-time leading scorer among defenseman. The Islander veteran is tied with Bobby Orr, each with 915 points.

In this game at Uniondale, N.Y., another veteran, Mike Bossy, moved closer to a coveted goal and led the Islanders to victory.

Bossy scored his 20th goal and assisted on three others. The high-scoring wing needs only six goals to reach the 500 mark. Bossy has played in 639 games and will reach 500 in fewer games than any player in NHL history. That mark will last until early next season when Wayne Gretzky figures to break it.

While Bossy was leading the attack, veteran goaltender Billy Smith was having a big night for the defense. The Sabres had almost twice as many shots as the Islanders, but Smith made 39 saves and frustrated the Sabres.

The Islanders finished with 24 shots. They scored five goals on 15 shots against Jacques Cloutier before the Sabres brought in their best goalie, Tom Barrasso at 6:32 of the second period. By that time, the Sabres were three goals behind and they never were in it the rest of the way.

Pittsburgh 4, Calgary 3--The Penguins dominated the first 27 minutes at Pittsburgh but had to hang on to turn back a spirited rally by the Flames.

With Mike Bullard scoring twice, the Penguins built a 4-0 lead at 6:49 of the second period. The game was more than half over before Perry Berezan put the Flames on the board.

From then on, the Flames dominated play. Joel Otto scored with 6:21 remaining in the game to get the Flames within a goal. But Roberto Romano made two brilliant saves in the closing minutes to preserve the victory.

"We seemed to wilt a little under the pressure," Penguin Coach Bob Berry said. "We started getting a little too fancy and it almost cost us."

Minnesota 6, Detroit 3--Keith Acton scored two goals and Dirk Graham added a short-handed goal at Bloomington, Minn., to lead the North Stars.

The victory enabled the North Stars to move into second place in the Norris Division. The slumping Red Wings have lost six in a row and are tied with the Kings (7-19-4) for the NHL's worst record.

St. Louis 8, Winnipeg 6--Joe Mullen's second goal of the game, with just eight minutes remaining at St. Louis, killed a Winnipeg rally and enabled the Blues to extend their lead in the Norris Division to seven points.

The Blues are 4-1-1 in the last six games. With a 14-12-4 record, they are the only team in the division above .500.

Dale Hawerchuk had a goal and four assists for the Jets, whose record fell to 10-19-4.

Washington 4, Vancouver 4--Bengt Gustafsson's unassisted goal at 2:01 of the third period gave the Capitals a tie with the Canucks at Vancouver.

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