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NHL Roundup : Lafleur Is at Loss in Montreal

February 05, 1989|DAN HAFNER

Guy Lafleur's return to Montreal's Forum was triumphant for a while Saturday night.

Lafleur, a Hall of Famer who retired from the Canadiens in 1984 but joined the New York Rangers this season, had two goals and an assist, and New York took a 5-2 lead late in the second period.

The crowd was cheering Lafleur's every move. But then Montreal's Shayne Corson took charge, getting a hat trick, and the Canadiens won, 7-5.

This was the Rangers' second visit to Montreal this season, but a broken foot prevented Lafleur, 37, from playing in the Dec. 17 game.

Ranger Coach Michel Bergeron, who was concerned about the media attention given to Lafleur's appearance, called off the usual skate-around in the morning.

"I was excited and so were the fans," Lafleur said after his first two-goal game of the season. "I just wish we could have hung on and won the game. But it was something to come back here.

"The injury set me back," Lafleur added. "But now I'm back where I was before the injury. I need to finish strong so they will invite me to return. I know I have plenty of hockey left in me."

Lafleur, who scored 518 goals in 13-plus seasons with the Canadiens, has 12 goals this season.

Corson's first goal, with just 2:22 left in the second period, cut the Rangers' lead to 5-3.

The third period was no contest. The Canadiens caught up with goals by Claude Lemieux and Geoff Courtnall, then Corson put them in front to stay at 9:13. He completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal at 19:45, his 17th goal of the season.

Calgary 5, Vancouver 2--Joe Mullen had two goals and Al MacInnis broke a 2-2 tie with a power-play goal in the second period to lead the Flames over the Canucks at Calgary.

Mullen, who has 37 goals, has been a standout this season for the Flames, the Smythe Division leaders, who raised their record to 36-11-8.

The Flames and the Canadiens have 80 points, but the Canadiens have played two more games than the Flames have.

Chicago 3, Toronto 1--The Blackhawks continue to play the best hockey in the Norris Division. The victory at Toronto was their fifth in the last six games and gave them a four-point lead over the Maple Leafs in the battle for the final playoff spot in the division.

Six weeks ago, the Blackhawks appeared to have a strong grip on last place. But now they have pulled within 11 points of Detroit, the slumping division leader.

Quebec 6, Minnesota 3--Rookie center Joe Sakic scored his first goal in more than six weeks in the game at Quebec to lead the Nordiques to their third win in the last four games. Sakic, who was without a goal since Dec. 23, also had an assist.

The goaltending of Mario Gosselin, who stopped 33 shots, kept the Nordiques close until they exploded for four goals in the second period.

New York Islanders 5, Hartford 3--Brad Lauer scored the 5,000th goal in Islander history in this game at Uniondale, N.Y., and it triggered a four-goal rally that carried the team to victory.

Brent Sutter had two power-play goals just 54 seconds apart as the Islanders handed the Whalers their fourth loss in a row.

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