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NHL Roundup : Assists Seem to Be Goal of Gretzky

February 12, 1986|DAN HAFNER

Wayne Gretzky has been so busy trying to break his own records for assists, he has forgotten how to put the puck into the net.

Gretzky earned his 111th assist Tuesday night at Detroit, setting up Jari Kurri for the score that gave the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 victory over the Red Wings.

The goal, which came with 8:10 left in the game, was the 42nd for Kurri, the NHL's leading goal scorer.

It was the eighth consecutive game in which Gretzky failed to score a goal. The Oilers, two-time champions, have won only four of the eight games. The eight games without a goal equals the worst goal-scoring drought of Gretzky's career.

Gretzky, who has 38 goals, needs to get 25 assists in the last 23 games to break his own record for assists.

The Red Wings have the league's worst record (12-38-5). But they played the Oilers to a standstill. A power-play goal by Reed Larson tied the game six minutes into the final period. Six minutes later, Gretzky found Kurri breaking clear, fed him a perfect pass and Kurri broke the 2-2 tie.

It was Gretzky's 17th assist in the last eight games. It also ended the Oilers two-game losing streak.

Mark Messier assisted on the Oilers first two goals to reach the 500 mark in career points.

The Red Wings were again without Coach Brad Park, who is sitting out a suspension. Danny Belisle is the interim coach.

New York Islanders 1, Vancouver 0--It was pre-Gretzky hockey at Uniondale, N.Y. Billy Smith stopped 25 shots to record his first shutout of the season and the 20th of his career.

Bryan Trottier scored the only goal in the second period to give the Islanders an 8-2-1 record in their last 11 games and end the Canucks' seven-game unbeaten streak (4-0-3).

Trottier scored on a rebound after goaltender Richard Brodeur blocked John Tonelli's shot, then couldn't recover in time to stop Trottier.

Minnesota 4, Toronto 2--Dino Ciccarelli broke a 2-2 tie with a 40-foot blast early in the third period at Toronto. Brad Maxwell scored one Toronto goal and assisted on the other.

Goalie Don Beaupre stopped 44 shots for the North Stars.

Hartford 4, St. Louis 4--Rookie defenseman Dana Murzyn put a 20-foot shot past goalie Greg Millen early in the third period at St. Louis to enable the Whalers to end a seven-game losing streak.

Hartford goalie Mike Liut, making his first appearance against his former mates, stopped 34 shots.

Chicago 5, Boston 4--Denis Savard scored midway through the final period at Chicago and the Black Hawks handed the Bruins their fourth consecutive defeat. It was Savard's 38th goal, tying his career high.

Second-period goals by Charlie Simmer and Mike O'Connell enabled the Bruins to overcome a two-goal deficit.

Al Secord, who scored two goals in 27 seconds for Chicago, assisted on Savard's goal.

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