Mike Vernon felt pressure to prove himself to his new teammates. Not losing for two months has been a pretty good way to gain their confidence.
"Mike was the new kid on the block and took a little while to adjust," Keith Primeau said Sunday after his breakaway goal and Vernon's goaltending helped the Detroit Red Wings defeat the Blackhawks, 4-1, at Chicago.
Vernon, acquired from Calgary in the offseason, is 12-0-3 since last losing on Feb. 10. Sunday, he made 25 saves as the Red Wings (26-7-3) moved into first place in the overall standings, a point ahead of Quebec.
Six games ago, Detroit was only four points ahead of Chicago in the race for the top Western Conference record, but the Blackhawks have gone 0-5-1 to Detroit's 5-0-1 in that span.
Boston 6, Buffalo 5--Bryan Smolinski ripped a slap shot between Dominik Hasek's legs with 20.1 seconds remaining to lift the Bruins at Buffalo.
Buffalo had tied the game with 43 seconds remaining on Yuri Khmylev's goal before Smolinski put the Sabres away with his second goal of the game.
New Jersey 2, New York Rangers 0--Martin Brodeur made 32 saves in his second consecutive shutout.
The victory at East Rutherford, N.J., extended the Devils' unbeaten streak to a season-high seven games (5-0-2) and handed the Rangers their second consecutive loss and 10th in 12 games.
Dallas 3, St. Louis 2--Kevin Hatcher scored his second goal of the game with 3:30 left to lift the Stars at St. Louis.
The loss ended the Blues' unbeaten streak of seven games. St. Louis had lost only once in its previous 10 home games.
San Jose 5, Edmonton 2--Ulf Dahlen scored the tie-breaking goal in a two-goal second period at Edmonton as the Sharks handed the Oilers their ninth loss in a row.
Mike Rathje, Craig Janney, Dahlen, Sergei Makarov and Andrei Nazarov had the San Jose goals as the Sharks beat Edmonton for the second time in three games.
Tampa Bay 3, Hartford 0--Backup goalie J.C. Bergeron stopped 23 shots at Hartford for his first NHL shutout and the Lightning ended a four-game winless streak.
Bergeron, pressed into action with starter Daren Puppa bothered by a sprained wrist, frustrated the Whalers with several acrobatic saves. Bergeron stopped 12 shots in the second period, including a breakaway by Darren Turcotte.
Kirk Muller, acquired by the New York Islanders in a trade with Montreal last Wednesday, finally reported to his new team Sunday. "I wanted to take a few days to get adjusted," Muller said.