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NHL Roundup : Penguins Remain Unbeatable, 6-5

October 23, 1986|DAN HAFNER

Perhaps there's no stopping the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Seemingly beaten Wednesday night with fewer than six minutes remaining at Pittsburgh, the unbeaten Penguins pulled out their club-record seventh consecutive victory, this one over Buffalo, 6-5.

The Sabres were hanging onto a 4-2 lead when rookie defenseman Jim Hofford committed a virtually unpardonable hockey sin: He slashed the Penguins' Bob Errey and was given a five-minute penalty.

It was just the break that hot-shooting Mario Lemieux needed. Lemieux scored twice in 69 seconds to send the game into overtime.

Halfway through the five-minute extra session, Pittsburgh's Randy Cunneyworth directed a pass from Dan Frawley into the net past goaltender Jacques Cloutier.

The seventh win in a row put the Penguins 15 games and more than a month ahead of their pace of last season, when they missed the playoffs by just one victory.

It was Nov. 27 when the Penguins won their seventh game last season. By that time they had already lost 12 and tied 3.

Lemieux has 10 goals this season in his bid to keep pace with Edmonton's Wayne Gretzky in the scoring race. Lemieux's fast start in his third NHL season is not unexpected, but the play of Cunneyworth is a surprise.

The center on Pittsburgh's second line, Cunneyworth finally made it to the NHL last season after five years in the minors. He played in 75 games and had only 15 goals.

The game-winning goal was his sixth in seven games this season, and it was the second time he had the winning goal.

"It's mind-boggling," Coach Bob Berry said. "These guys just don't ever give up. I don't know how long this streak will last, but it sure is fun right now."

Berry figures to find out as soon as tonight whether it will last any longer. The Penguins, leading the tough Patrick Division with their 7-0 record, play the only other unbeaten team, the Flyers (5-0), in Philadelphia.

The Penguins have scored 39 goals in 7 games, but the defensive-minded Flyers have yielded only 8 in 5 games.

Montreal 4, Detroit 3--In junior hockey, Shayne Corson lived with the family of goalie Greg Stefan.

In his first pro appearance against the Red Wing goalie, at Detroit, Corson failed to show his appreciation. In fact, he scored Montreal's game-winning goal midway through the second period.

The 20-year-old center was playing in his fifth NHL game, and it was his first goal.

"I'm sorry it had to come against Greg, but it was a thrill," Corson said. "His family is great and made me feel part of the family."

Quebec 7, Toronto 1--Peter Stastny scored two goals at Toronto and assisted on another as the Nordiques handed the Maple Leafs their first defeat. The Maple Leafs were 3-0-2 in their first five games.

Minnesota 8, St. Louis 3--Dino Ciccarelli and Dirk Graham each scored twice in the North Stars' easy win at St. Louis. Ciccarelli has 10 goals and is tied with Pittsburgh's Lemieux for the lead in goals.

Calgary 6, Edmonton 3--The Flames picked up where they left off against the Oilers, whom they eliminated in the semifinal round of the playoffs last spring. Calgary scored the last four goals in this one and held the high-scoring Wayne Gretzky to a single assist. Gretzky has 22 points, three more than the Penguins' Lemieux.

Vancouver 5, Boston 1--Patrik Sundstrom scored two goals, and Doug Lidster keyed a strong defensive effort for the Canucks at Vancouver.

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