The Boston Bruins, scoring on almost every third shot, handed the Buffalo Sabres their worst defeat ever, 9-0, Tuesday night at Boston.
The Bruins took 34 shots. The Sabres, whose worst previous loss had been by an eight-goal margin, had only one less shot but couldn't put any past Reggie Lemelin. It was Lemelin's seventh career shutout and put the Bruins within three points of the Montreal Canadiens in the Adams Division.
When Geoff Courtnall went in on a breakaway and beat Jacques Cloutier at 12:17 of the first period, there was no indication a rout was in the making.
The Sabres' defense, which had played so well in giving up just three goals in back-to-back games with Montreal over the weekend, collapsed in the second period.
Cam Neely's goal at 3:00 of the period triggered a five-goal outburst in 11 1/2 minutes that wiped out the Sabres.
Cloutier, in the two games against the Canadiens, faced 80 shots in 120 minutes and stopped all but 3. In this game, though, he was being battered by shots from close range and there wasn't anyone around to clear the shots he blocked.
With the game out of hand, Darren Puppa took over for Cloutier in the third period and gave up the other three scores.
"We owed the shutout to Reggie," Neely said. "When we weren't going too well early, he kept us in the game. So, when we got the big lead, all we thought about was getting him the shutout."
Philadelphia 6, New York Rangers 4--The Rangers built an early 2-0 lead at New York, only to have the sizzling Flyers come charging back.
With Rick Tocchet scoring twice, the Flyers extended their unbeaten string to 12 games (10-0-2) and moved to within one point of first place in the Patrick Division.
When the Flyers began their streak, they were in last place, 14 points behind the New York Islanders.
"We were talking about being .500 by Christmas, a month ago," goalie Ron Hextall said. "Now, we're three games over and everything is clicking."
Calgary 6, Hartford 5--Gary Roberts deflected a shot from the point into the net with 50 seconds left in overtime at Calgary, Canada, to give the Flames the victory.
The Flames, who lead the Smythe Division by three points over Edmonton, held a 5-4 lead until Dave Tippett tied it with just 3:10 remaining in regulation.
Just when it appeared the teams would settle for a tie, Gary Suter fired a 55-foot shot. Roberts got his stick on the puck, and the change of direction beat goalie Steve Weeks.
Washington 2, Quebec 1--Clever Mike Gartner scored twice in the third period at Quebec to give the Capitals the victory.
Former Nordique star Dale Hunter, in his first game at Quebec since being traded to the Capitals, assisted on both goals.
Winnipeg 5, New York Islanders 2--After failing to score in his previous 24 games, left wing Gilles Hamel scored twice at Winnipeg to lead the Jets to victory.
Andrew McBain also scored twice for the Jets on power plays as the Jets fired 38 shots at veteran goaltender Billy Smith of the Islanders.