Nobody, not even the Boston Bruins themselves, thought they had a team capable of winning more regular-season games than anyone else in the NHL this season.
But Thursday night at Boston, in a well-played preview of a first-round playoff series, the Bruins wrapped up their first Adams Division title since 1984 and clinched the NHL's best record with a 3-2 victory over the Hartford Whalers.
"We're overachievers," Bruin goalie Reggie Lemelin said. "I don't think anybody felt we could do it."
Craig Janney won the game when he lifted the puck into the upper left side of the net with 3:09 left after Brian Propp missed a 50-foot shot that Whaler goalie Peter Sidorkiewicz saved before poking the puck away.
Boston has 99 points. Calgary, with 95, can match that, but Boston would win a tiebreaker because it would have more wins.
Chicago 4, Toronto 2--Doug Wilson and Jocelyn Lemieux scored early goals as the Blackhawks clinched the Norris Division title at Chicago--their first division championship since 1985-86.
New Jersey 6, New York Rangers 4--Soviet defenseman Viacheslav Fetisov scored a goal and set up four others, tying a club single-game record for points by a defenseman, as the Devils clinched second place in the Patrick Division at East Rutherford, N.J.
The victory assured the Devils of their best regular-season finish since moving to New Jersey from Colorado in 1982.
Washington 2, Philadelphia 2--Geoff Courtnall's goal late in the second period at Philadelphia allowed the Capitals to clinch a Patrick Division playoff spot.
Montreal 5, Quebec 2--Russ Courtnall scored a goal and added three assists at Quebec as the Canadiens kept alive their chances of finishing second in the Adams Division.
The Canadiens trail second-place Buffalo by three points.
Buffalo 4, Minnesota 2--Scott Arniel tipped in a shot from the point to break a tie with 5:51 remaining in regulation at Buffalo, N.Y., as the Sabres ended the North Stars' four-game winning streak.
St. Louis 5, Pittsburgh 4--Rod Brind'Amour's tiebreaking goal early in the third period at St. Louis assured the Blues of finishing second in the Norris Division, and prevented the Penguins from clinching the final playoff berth in the Patrick Division.