The New Jersey Devils and Montreal Canadiens are heading in opposite directions, and Saturday's game at East Rutherford, N.J., was symbolic of that.
John MacLean scored two goals and the resurgent Devils beat Montreal, 4-1, moving the Canadiens within a game of matching their all-time record for futility on the road.
The Devils have won three in a row and own a season-high four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1), moving into second place in the Atlantic Division, two points behind Philadelphia.
"We're starting to get on a good roll," MacLean said. "But it's not where you end up in the middle of the season, it's where you end up at the end of the season."
Montreal's loss was the ninth in a row away from the Forum, one less than the club record set in the 1925-26 season.
"I don't know if our team can give more than it gave in the first two periods," Montreal Coach Jacques Demers said. "We had some chances, but in 18 games, 34 goals on the road, you're not going to win many with less than a two-goal average."
Detroit 3, Dallas 2--The Stars' Dave Gagner missed a penalty shot in the final seconds at Dallas, and the Red Wings held on for their fourth consecutive victory.
The shot was set up when with 3.4 seconds left, the referee awarded Dallas a penalty shot by ruling that Detroit defenseman Bob Rouse had pushed the goal off its standard while the Stars were threatening to score.
Gagner, however, lost control of the puck and Detroit goalie Chris Osgood was able to cover up.
Martin Lapointe, Paul Coffey and Dino Ciccarelli scored for Detroit.
After the early flurry by Detroit, Dallas dominated. The Stars outshot the Wings, 17-2, in the third period and pulled to 3-2 on Gagner's 12th goal and a Peter Zezel goal.
N.Y. Rangers 3, Boston 2--Alexei Kovalev scored two goals as the Rangers ended a seven-game losing streak and beat the Bruins at Boston.
It was an all-Russian afternoon for the Rangers, as Sergei Nemchinov scored the other goal.
The Bruins had 31 chances against Glenn Healy, the rarely used backup to Ranger starter Mike Richter.
Pittsburgh 3, Philadelphia 2--The Penguins, getting goals from Ron Francis, Luc Robitaille and Kevin Stevens, kept the slumping Flyers winless at the Civic Arena since 1990.
Eric Lindros scored for the first time in six games for the Flyers, 1-4-1 since winning eight in a row. Philadelphia is winless (0-8-4) in Pittsburgh since Nov. 21, 1990.
Vancouver 5, Edmonton 1--Trevor Linden scored the first of four unanswered goals as the Canucks beat the Oilers at Edmonton.
Cliff Ronning, Nathan Lafayette, Gerald Diduck and Geoff Courtnall added goals for the Canucks.
Buffalo 5, N.Y. Islanders 1--Bob Sweeney had two shorthanded goals and an assist, and Dominik Hasek stopped 24 shots as the Sabres won at Uniondale, N.Y., ending their seven-game winless streak at Nassau Coliseum.