Whenever the Hartford Whalers have gone into a slump, goaltender Mike Liut has come through with a big performance to pull them out of it.
He did it again Friday night at Winnipeg, stopping 36 shots, half a dozen from point-blank range, and the Whalers beat the Jets, 3-0, to extend their lead in the Adams Division to eight points.
The Whalers had lost two in a row, including an embarrassing 6-1 defeat by Calgary Wednesday night at home. Furthermore, they were on a three-game trip that could have wrecked their hopes of winning a division title for the first time.
With his fourth shutout of the season, Liut put an end to the skid. Sylvain Turgeon scored his 17th goal before the game was two minutes old, and Liut thwarted every Winnipeg bid.
The Jets fired 17 shots at Liut in the second period, but it was Ray Ferraro on a two-on-one break who scored the only goal. John Anderson completed the scoring early in the final period.
The Whalers' eight-point lead looms large with only 10 games remaining.
Washington 10, Toronto 2--The Capitals, still in a battle for a playoff spot, scored seven goals in slightly more than 10 minutes in the third period at Landover, Md.
The Capitals held only a 3-2 lead well into the final period. But the first of two Mike Gartner goals came at 8:49 and triggered the explosion. The flurry ended the Capitals' three-game losing streak.
With 11 games remaining, the Capitals are tied with the New York Rangers for third place in the Patrick Division. They lead Pittsburgh in the battle for the final playoff spot in the division by just three points.
New Jersey 4, New York Islanders 1--Aaron Broten scored two goals and set up another at East Rutherford, N.J., and the Devils ended a seven-game (0-6-1) winless streak, as well as a five-game losing streak.
The Islanders missed a chance to improve their grip on second place in the Patrick Division. They lead the Rangers and Capitals by two points.
Vancouver 6, Buffalo 4--Petri Skriko capped a five-point performance by scoring twice in a three-goal third period as the Canucks defeated the Sabres at Vancouver. The win kept the Canucks' faint playoff hopes alive in the NHL's Smythe Division. They trail fourth-place Los Angeles by six points.