Many of the 15,816 fans at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., Tuesday night came to protest the trading of one of their favorites, John Tonelli, but they stayed to sing the praises of Mike Bossy.
Bossy scored four goals to lead the New York Islanders to an 8-4 victory over the Calgary Flames and become the first player in NHL history to score 50 or more goals in nine consecutive seasons. He will be a 10-year veteran next season and will try for 10 in a row.
Until Bossy changed their mood, the fans were screaming: "JT, JT, JT," saluting the veteran center who was traded to the Flames earlier in the day.
But, when Bossy entered the third period needing only one more goal to reach 50, the fans began to get with it. Midway through the period, Bossy took a pass from Rich Kromm, one of the players obtained in the Tonelli deal, and scored from 12 feet out. He added No. 51 in the closing minutes on a pass from his old pal, Bryan Trottier.
"I suppose, when the season ends, I will really enjoy it," Bossy said. "But right now, all I'm concerned with is making the playoffs."
The Islanders, in third place in the Patrick Division, are only six points ahead of the fifth-place New York Rangers.
Washington 5, Pittsburgh 3--Defenseman Scott Stevens, better known as a defensive star, scored the decisive goal in the third period at Landover, Md., as the Capitals moved into first place in the Patrick Division.
It was the eighth victory in a row for the Capitals.
Minnesota 4, Edmonton 0--Goalie Don Beaupre stretched his winning streak to 11 games as the North Stars shut out the Oilers at Bloomington, Minn.
It was the second time this season the Oilers were shut out and only the third time Wayne Gretzky failed to get a point. The Oilers have 360 goals, 59 more than any other team in the league.
The North Stars had not beaten the Oilers since Dec. 11, 1982. Since the All-Star break, the North Stars are 12-4-1 and Beaupre is largely responsible. He stopped 27 shots.
New York Rangers 6, New Jersey 3--Pierre Larouche scored goals 80 seconds apart at East Rutherford, N.J., to wipe out a 2-0 deficit and start the Rangers on their way to a five-goal outburst.
Larouche, with 16 goals in the 19 games he's played for the Rangers this season, is a key reason why the Rangers have moved to within one point of fourth place in the Patrick Division.
St. Louis 3, Buffalo 2--Defenseman Charlie Bourgeois scored at 2:04 of overtime at St. Louis to give the Blues the victory.
Quebec 1, Vancouver 1--With a chance to move into a tie for first place in the Adams Division with a victory at home, the Nordiques were hard-pressed to gain a tie with the Canucks.