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NHL Roundup : Flyers' Kerr Has Look of a Star, Esposito Says, Referring to Himself

March 18, 1987|From Times Wire Services

Tim Kerr wasn't excited at scoring his 50th and 51st goals of the National Hockey League season in the Flyers' 4-1 victory at Philadelphia Tuesday night, but he was moved by what New York Ranger Coach Phil Esposito said about him.

"It's not much different from the other 49," Kerr said of goal number 50. "I'm just in the right spot in the right time.

"I'm sure some day I'll appreciate goals and records like that when I'm done playing. Right now, I just want to keep going and do the best I can to help the team win. I never set any goals for myself."

Esposito, who thought his Rangers weren't sharp in the first period, also said he wasn't surprised at Kerr's success.

"Nobody's going to stop Timmy when he's in the slot," Esposito said. "He plays that position like I used to. When he's there, no one can move him out. Sooner or later because of his positioning, he's gonna score. He reminds me of myself playing the slot."

The usually taciturn Kerr opened up when advised of the Ranger coach's comments.

"It's a great compliment," he said. "One of the greatest players to ever play is Phil Esposito. For him to say that is a big honor for me. Like he did, I get a lot of garbage goals, but you have to be in the right place at the right time and it pays off being there."

Kerr, who leads the league in power-play goals with 25, is the seventh player in NHL history to score 50 or more goals in at least four consecutive seasons.

Detroit 3, Boston 1--Shawn Burr scored two goals in the third period to break a 1-1 tie as the Red Wings increased their home winning streak to eight games.

Burr scored his 19th goal of the season at 7:01 and added his 20th at 16:20.

On the go-ahead goal, Burr picked up a loose puck at center ice and put a rising shot underneath the crossbar. He poked in a rebound of a Tim Higgins shot in the net for his second goal.

The Red Wings, coming off a 1-3-1 trip, have won 11 of their past 12 home games. Detroit's last home loss was on Jan. 28 against the Washington Capitals.

Higgins scored his 12th goal for Detroit on a pass from Petr Klima at 3:30 for the only goal in a penalty-free first period.

Rick Middleton tied the game at 14:09 of the second period when he slipped behind the Detroit defense and scored his 26th goal on a setup by Thomas Gradin.

Minnesota 3, Chicago 3--Goaltender Wayne Skorodenski, playing in his first game of the season, stopped all 22 shots he faced in relief of injured Murray Bannerman, helping the Blackhawks to the tie at Bloomington, Minn.

Skorodenski, in his fourth stint with the Hawks during a seven-year career mostly spent in the minor leagues, replaced Bannerman with 5:07 left in the second period. Bannerman suffered a slight concussion after colliding with a Minnesota player while chasing the puck along the boards.

Skorodenski made five stops in the second period and saved his best work for the third, when he kicked aside 13 shots, including several close-in attempts.

There was no scoring in either the third period or the five-minute overtime, enabling third-place Minnesota to pull within one point of St. Louis and remain one point ahead of Chicago in the Norris Division.

The North Stars got goals from Pat Boutelier, Dino Ciccarelli and Brian MacLellan. The Blackhawk goals were scored by Wayne Presley, Rich Preston and Marc Bergevin.

Calgary 6, Buffalo 2--John Tonelli notched his 20th goal of the season and his 600th NHL point to spark the Flames to the win at Calgary.

The victory was the Flames' 15th in their last 18 games and moved them six points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets in the battle for second place in the Smythe Division. The road loss was the Sabres' third straight.

Edmonton 7, New Jersey 4--Kent Nilsson, Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri and Wayne Gretzky had three points each as the Oilers rolled past the Devils at Edmonton.

The Oilers extended their winning streak to seven games by scoring twice in the first period and three times in the second.

The win kept Edmonton three points ahead of Philadelphia in their two-way chase for first place.

The loss was New Jersey's 39th of the season and further dimmed its fading playoff hopes. The Devils are 13 points out of a playoff spot in the Patrick Division and have only 10 games to play.

Vancouver 4, Quebec 2--Petri Skriko continued his scoring spree with two goals and two assists to lead the Canucks past the Nordiques at Vancouver.

With his four-point night, Skriko has scored 18 points in his last 7 games.

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