It was a fluke goal, but Mike Rogers was ready to take anything he could get.
Rogers, a high-scoring center who once had a 44-goal season, returned from the minors Wednesday night to score the winning goal as the Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens, 5-2, at New York.
The 30-year-old Rogers, who broke into the big time with New England of the old World Hockey Assn. 11 years ago, had a poor training camp and was sent to New Haven of the American League.
Because of numerous injuries that have struck the team, the Rangers brought Rogers back, and this was his first NHL game of the season.
He was on the ice for a power play midway through the second period with the score tied, 2-2. From close range, Rogers fired a quick wrist shot, and the puck caromed off the stick of Montreal defenseman Rick Green into the net.
Rogers' goal came just 76 seconds after rookie Sergio Momesso had knocked in a rebound for the Canadiens to tie the game.
James Patrick and Ron Greschner scored in the third period to give goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck the victory. Vanbiesbrouck stopped 26 shots to end the Canadiens' four-game unbeaten streak.
Mats Naslund, who assisted on Momesso's goal, extended his scoring streak to 11 games.
Buffalo 6, Boston 4--Gil Perreault had a goal and two assists at Buffalo to climb into seventh place on the all-time scoring list and move the Sabres into a tie for first place with the Bruins in the Adams Division. Perreault, who has 1,268 points, forged ahead of Jean Ratelle, a former Bruin and Ranger star.
The teams were tied, 4-4, after two periods, but Perreault's perfect pass put John Tucker in position to break the tie at 1:37 of the final period. With the Sabres running out the clock, Perreault fed a pass to Gilles Hamel, who shot the puck into an unguarded net to complete the scoring.
Strangely, the Sabres scored twice in the final period on just eight shots, while the Bruins peppered goalie Tom Barrasso with 15 shots and couldn't score.
Hartford 5, Minnesota 2--Slowly, Mike Liut is beginning to perform in goal the way the Whalers expected him to. In this game at Hartford, Liut stopped 23 shots to record his second victory in a row.
In the first eight games this season, Liut had a goals-against average of 5.13. But in the last two, he has given up only five goals.
Ron Francis led the Hartford attack, setting up four goals--three of them in the second period when the Whalers came from behind to take command.
Liut gave up both goals in the first period, when the North Stars had 15 shots on goal.
The North Stars are 1-5-1 in their last seven games, and new Coach Lorne Henning is getting perturbed. He drew a gross misconduct penalty and at least a $100 fine for using abusive language against referee Ron Wicks.
Chicago 6, Quebec 4--Curt Fraser assisted on two goals and scored another in a four-minute span during the second period at Chicago.
The Black Hawks blew an early 2-0 lead, but rookie Bill Watson took a pass from Fraser to break the tie at 7:30 of the second period. Fraser scored his 11th goal of the season two minutes later, then set up Troy Murray at 11:23 to complete the flurry.
The Black Hawks played most of the game without Daryl Sutter, one of their top players. He injured his right shoulder in the opening minutes and never returned.
Calgary 3, Winnipeg 3--Kerry Wilson tipped Neal Sheehy's 30-foot slapshot into the net with 4:03 left in regulation at Calgary to get the Flames a tie.
Although they had seven shots in the five-minute overtime, the Jets couldn't put one past Rejean Lemelin.
The Flames had three shots in overtime, and both teams wound up with 37 shots in 65 minutes.
Pittsburgh 6, Vancouver 3--Former King Terry Ruskowski scored two goals, and Mario Lemieux had a goal and two assists to lead the Penguins to victory at Vancouver.
Tony Tanti had a hat trick and now has 13 goals for the season, but he was the only Canuck to score.
The Penguins scored on their first two shots and were never headed.