When the Buffalo Sabres were off to a horrible 1-7-2 start this season almost everyone panicked. They suggested that General Manager Scotty Bowman replace the coach--Scotty Bowman.
Calmly, Bowman pointed out that it wouldn't be fair to bring in anyone else and expect him to clean up the mess.
So, it was up to Coach Bowman.
If the last two games are an indication, Bowman has cleaned up the mess.
Gil Perreault scored on the opening shift of the second period Sunday night at Boston to trigger a five-goal outburst that led the Sabres to an easy 7-1 victory over the Bruins. Just 24 hours earlier, the Sabres won at New Jersey, 3-1.
Goaltender Tom Barrasso, who opened the season 0-3-1, turned aside 34 shots to register his first victory.
Charlie Simmer gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead in the first period, but Wilf Paiement, who scored two goals for the second game in a row, tied it late in the period. After that, it was no contest.
"We didn't seem to be ready to play in those early games," Bowman said. "But the last two were more what I expect from the players. I'm sure we're a better team than we showed last season.
"We will know for sure Wednesday night by the way we play at Montreal. Remember, we have already played eight road games and only four at home."
St. Louis 7, Chicago 3--Bob Pulford has always prided himself on his ability to build a defense. Even when he was coaching the Kings, they often played good defense.
The coach of the Blackhawks must be in a state of shock the way his team is giving up goals.
The seven goals the Blackhawks (3-8-2) gave up at St. Louis raised their goals-against total to 58, the most given up by any team in the league.
Doug Gilmour led the sizzling Blues' attack with a goal and three assists.
Hartford 3, Quebec 3--The Whalers and Nordiques are convinced they are evenly matched. In back-to-back games, they have played ties. In 130 minutes, both teams have scored five goals.
In this one at Quebec, Paul Lawless scored midway through the last period to get the Whalers even. Although the Nordiques, unbeaten at home with a 3-0-3 record, had six shots on goal in the overtime, they couldn't pull out the victory.
Winnipeg 5, New York Rangers 4--The Rangers blew a 2-0 first period lead at New York and finally lost the game at 3:23 of overtime when goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck accidentally knocked the puck into his own net.
Vanbiesbrouck stopped a shot by Paul MacLean, but as it trickled along the goalmouth, he poked the puck into the net. It was MacLean's third goal of the game.
The Jets led, 4-2, with three minutes left in regulation, but Bob Brooke and Mark Osborne scored goals 66 seconds apart to tie it.
Montreal 5, Vancouver 3--Bobby Smith scored the winning goal in the third period at Vancouver shortly before a bench-clearing brawl interrupted play for 15 minutes.
Seven game miscounducts were given out by referee Bill McCreary as a result of the free-for-all which followed an altercation between the Canucks' Stan Smyl and Stephane Richer of Montreal.