A couple of weeks ago, Coach Jacques Demers thought his Detroit Red Wings were ready to make a move in the Norris Division of the National Hockey League.
Right after Demers voiced his thoughts, the Red Wings blew two-goal leads in the last period in three consecutive games. It was enough to make the coach wonder.
But sharp goaltending and a new-found scoring punch has brought the Red Wings to the top of the heap.
They spotted the high-flying Bruins an early 2-0 lead Saturday night at Boston, then bounced back to beat the Bruins, 3-2, for their third consecutive victory.
Steve Yzerman scored the tying goal midway through the third period, then set up Bob Probert for the winning goal at 2:46 of overtime.
Glen Hanlon's goaltending started the turnaround, but after he turned in a shutout Friday night, Demers brought in Greg Stefan for this one.
When Geoff Courtnall and Keith Crowder scored in the first 13 minutes, it appeared Demers had made a mistake. But, Stefan settled down and stopped Boston's last 32 shots to give his mates a chance to win.
"Some people say we're not an exciting team," said Yzerman, who leads the club with 16 goals, "and maybe they're right. But we go out there and work hard. If the other team isn't willing to do the same, they are in trouble.
"We're a young team and we know we have to keep digging and not worry about excitement."
The Red Wings lead the Norris Division by two points with 24 points. Although the Bruins, with 30 points have the third best record in the league, they trail Montreal by five points in the Adams Division.
Philadelphia 6, Quebec 3--Slowly, but surely, the Flyers are beginning to return to the form that made them one of the top teams.
Pelle Ecklund deflected a shot on the power-play to climax a four-goal second period at Quebec and the Flyers went on to win their second in a row.
The Flyers, after a horrible start, are only 8-13-3, but have won three of their last four and climbed out of last place in the Patrick Division.
The Flyers, who spotted the Nordiques a 2-0 lead, pulled away in the final period.
Montreal 7, Winnipeg 3--Defenseman Larry Robinson, who missed the first 21 games after breaking his leg playing polo, is back in form for the Canadiens.
In his sixth game since recovering from the injury, Robinson, a 16-year veteran at 36, scored twice at Winnipeg to lead the Canadiens.
With a 15-7-5 record, the Canadiens have the best record in the NHL.
The Jets have lost seven of their last eight games.
New York Islanders 5, New York Rangers 4--Mikko Makela scored twice and Bryan Trottier had two assists at Uniondale, N.Y. to move into 11th place on the all-time scoring list with 1,299 points.
The victory gave the Islanders (15-6-1) a three-point lead in the Patrick Division and the second-best record overall.
Ageless Marcel Dionne scored two goals for the Rangers, but he couldn't prevent them from falling into last place in the Patrick Division. Dionne, 36, has 15 goals this season and 708 in his illustrious career.
Pittsburgh 5, Washington 5--The teams split 10 goals in 36 minutes at Pittsburgh and then didn't score at all in the last 29, including overtime.
The Capitals lost goalie Pete Peeters with strained ligaments in his left leg in the first period after stopping 12 shots in a row.
The first two shots at his replacement, Clint Malarchuk went into the net.
Hartford 4, Toronto 2--Ray Ferraro scored twice at Toronto as the Whalers won their second in a row. The Maple Leafs are winless in their last five at home.
Minnesota 6, St. Louis 4--Brian Bellows had two goals and an assist at St. Louis to lead the North Stars to their second win in a row.