Claude Lemieux has built a reputation as a rugged, hard-hitting defensive player for the Montreal Canadiens.
But when the leaders of the Adams Division went into a mild slump recently, Lemieux decided to take a hand in the offense.
Lemieux scored the first two goals Wednesday night at Buffalo as the Canadiens cooled off the Sabres, 4-1. The Sabres had won six in a row at home and had surged into third place in the Adams Division.
Lemieux, who has scored 15 points in the last 12 games, broke a 1-1 tie with his 21st goal on a power play early in the second period. Goals by Brian Skrudland and Stephane Richer before the middle of the period put the Canadiens in complete charge.
Goaltender Brian Hayward, who recovered quickly from Tuesday night's injury, stopped 24 shots to register the victory.
The win enabled the Canadiens to increase their lead to three points over Boston.
Winnipeg 4, Pittsburgh 1--Young Daniel Berthiaume just keeps on celebrating his birthday. Berthiaume, a second-year goalie, was 22 Tuesday night, when he beat Washington, 3-2.
In this game at Pittsburgh, he stopped 32 shots to pick up his fourth victory in his last five starts. In the last five games, he has given up just eight goals.
The only goal Berthiaume yielded was on a power play halfway through the opening period. Mario Lemieux bounced a shot off Jets' defenseman Mario Marois for his 48th goal.
But Berthiaume stopped the last 26 shots to improve his record to 13-10-2.
Minnesota 2, New York Islanders 1--For 55 minutes at Bloomington, Minn., Islander goaltender Kelly Hrudey was outstanding. He made one difficult save after another.
But lack of support from his teammates finally beat Hrudey. Brian Lawton scored with five minutes to play to tie the game.
There was only one second left when Brian McLellan's 40-foot shot beat Hrudey. The North Stars fired 34 shots at Hrudey, 15 of them in the last period.
Calgary 5, Hartford 1--Rookie Joe Nieuwendyk scored his 38th goal, his 24th on a power play, and the Flames ended the Whalers' five-game winning streak.
Gary Suter set up three goals for the Flames, and Hakan Loob scored his 29th goal and 300th NHL point to help the Flames increase their lead in the Smythe Division to three points over Edmonton. The Flames were playing short-handed when Loob scored his goal to give them a 2-0 lead.
Mike Vernon was superb in goal for the Flames, stopping breakaways by Ron Francis and Brent Peterson. He lost his shutout when Dave Babych scored on a power play at 5:03 of the second period.