Just a few days ago, Winnipeg Coach Barry Long appeared in danger of being fired. The Jets, after a strong start, had gone into a tailspin lasting six weeks.
The club had won only four of 23 games. It had lost back-to-back games at home to the lowly Kings and was headed for the cellar in the Smythe Division. Long's job seemed in jeopardy.
The Jets' play in the last two games, however, might have saved their coach.
With Dale Hawerchuk and Ray Neufeld each scoring twice, the Jets had built a 6-2 lead by the first minute of the final period. Then came the scare.
The Oilers scored three goals in 10 minutes, and the last, Wayne Gretzky's second of the game, cut the Jets' lead to 6-5 with 8:37 left to play. Victory wasn't assured until Thomas Steen scored into an empty net with four seconds remaining.
With two goals and an assist, Gretzky extended his scoring streak to 25 games.
Paul Coffey assisted on all five Edmonton goals. The high-scoring defenseman has scored in 14 consecutive games and has 16 points in the last four games.
Neufeld crashed into Edmonton goalie Grant Fuhr early in the third period and Fuhr had to leave the game. It was when Andy Moog replaced Fuhr that the Oilers suddenly came to life.
Buffalo 5, Boston 3--Although he only has a .500 record to show for it, goaltender Tom Barrasso continues to shine in the nets for the Sabres.
Barrasso held the aggressive Bruins at bay in a hectic third period at Buffalo and Phil Housley broke a 3-3 tie by scoring on a 40-foot shot with 9:04 left to give the Sabres the victory.
The Bruins fired 14 shots at Barrasso in the last period. All of them were taken from within 12 feet of the net and two of them came on two-on-one breaks, but Barrasso held firm. In the game, he stopped 29 shots.
The victory brought Buffalo to the .500 mark, out of the Adams Division cellar and to within four points of first place.
Washington 7, Quebec 5--Bob Carpenter scored the tie-breaking goal halfway through the third period at Quebec to highlight a four-goal rally that brought the Capitals from behind.
Quebec, which fired 41 shots at goaltender Al Jensen, had a 4-3 lead after two periods.
Philadelphia 3, Pittsburgh 2--Murray Craven bounced a shot off goaltender Gilles Meloche's pads at 2:12 of overtime at Philadelphia to give the Flyers a hard-earned victory.
The Flyers are 4-0 against the Penguins this season. The Penguins sent the game into overtime on a freak goal in the third period. Terry Ruskowski attempted a centering pass, the puck hit Flyer defenseman Mark Howe's stick and went into the net.
Minnesota 8, New Jersey 3--Scott Bjugstad had a hat trick and linemate Dino Ciccarelli snapped a season-long slump with two goals and three assists at East Rutherford, N.J. It was the sixth loss in the last seven games for the Devils.
The North Stars dominated from the opening faceoff, scoring in the first minute when Bjugstad took a pass from Ciccarelli and scored on his first shot.
Chicago 5, Calgary 4--Troy Murray scored his second goal of the game at 2:15 of overtime at Chicago to extend the Black Hawks' unbeaten string to four games.
It was the fifth loss in eight nights on the road for the Flames, who led, 4-3, after two periods.