Left wing Mike McPhee of the Canadiens made life miserable for two goaltenders Saturday night at Montreal.
In the pregame warmups, McPhee put teammate Steve Penney, scheduled to be the starter against New Jersey, out of action and during the game, he drove the Devils' Glenn Resch to distraction.
Midway through the first period, the Devils' starting goaltender, Alain Chevrier, injured his leg and had to leave the game. Resch replaced him and the Devils scored to give Resch a 2-1 lead.
But McPhee, who had only six goals in the first 34 games this season, went on a rampage. He scored twice in less than five minutes, added another goal and an assist and paced the surging Canadiens to an 8-3 victory.
The victory went to Doug Soetaert, the backup goalie who got the call when a shot by McPhee during warmups bruised Penney's shoulder, and he was unable to play.
Resch has lost six games in a row, and the Devils have lost five in a row. McPhee scored on the first two shots he fired at Resch.
The victory gave the Canadiens an 8-3-1 record for December and kept them in first place in the Adams Division, the league's tightest race. The Canadiens are six points ahead of fifth-place Buffalo.
McPhee, who played at Renssealaer Polytechnic Institute, a U.S. college power, is in his second full season with the Canadiens. He is better known for his defensive play.
He tied the score at 14:29 of the first period after taking a pass from Guy Carbonneau. Then, with time running out in the period, he took the puck off the boards and fired a backhander past Resch to give Montreal the lead for good, 3-2.
Chicago 7, Washington 4--Steve Ludzik, playing in only his third game of the season, had a hat trick and assisted on the game-winning goal in this game at Landover, Md. Ludzik, a center who usually plays against the other team's top scoring line, had been out with a broken foot until this week.
The loss was only the fifth for the Capitals in the last 27 games.
Boston 5, St. Louis 1--Charlie Simmer, playing in his first game since Nov. 10, scored on his first shift and helped the Bruins end a 10-game winless streak on the road.
Simmer's goal tied the game at 1-1 in the first period, and Steve Kasper's short-handed goal a few minutes later put the Bruins ahead to stay.
The Blues, who had won four in a row, had only 27 shots on goal. Pat Riggin gave up Bernie Federko's goal on the Blues' second shot of the game, then stopped all the rest.
Detroit 5, Quebec 4--In an upset at Quebec, Steve Yzerman scored with 2:52 left to end the Red Wings' nine-game losing streak and drop the Nordiques into third place in the Adams Division.
The Red Wings scored twice in the first minute of the second period to take a 3-2 lead, but they couldn't get a decisive lead.
Michel Goulet's 27th goal, midway through the final period, tied the score at 4-4. On the game-winner, Yzerman split the defense, faked out goaltender Mario Gosselin and slipped the puck into the net for his eighth goal.
Philadelphia 6, Calgary 5--The Sutter twins, Rich and Ron, teamed up on a fluke goal with 5:44 left at Calgary to hand the Flames their sixth defeat in a row.
Rich sent a weak wrist shot in the direction of the net. The puck hit Ron's skate and trickled into the goal.
The goal ruined a spirited rally by the Flames. The Flyers built a 4-0 lead in just over 12 minutes of the first period.
The Flames pulled within a goal in the second period and, midway through the final period, Lanny McDonald scored his 450th career goal to tie the game.
Hartford 6, Toronto 3--Ron Francis and Sylvain Turgeon each had a goal and an assist at Toronto to lead the Whalers.
The victory enabled the Whalers to climb out of last place in the Adams Division.
The Whalers built a 5-1 lead after two periods and were never in danger at any time.
New York Islanders 4, Pittsburgh 2--John Tonelli and Mikko Makela scored 21 seconds apart in the second period at Pittsburgh to spark the Islanders.
The Islanders, who are usually battling for first in the Patrick Division, used the victory to tighten their grip on third place. They lead both the Penguins and Rangers by three points.
Goalie Billy Smith of the Islanders stopped 31 shots.
Minnesota 3, New York Rangers 1--Scott Bjugstad scored a goal and assisted on another at Bloomington, Minn., to lead the North Stars to their third victory in a row, their longest winning streak of the season.
It was the fifth loss in the last seven road games for the Rangers. The Rangers trailed, 3-0, before Raimo Helminen ruined goalie Don Beaupre's shutout bid late in the second period.