Toronto is turning over a new leaf in the National Hockey League this season.
“There’s no magic,” said goaltender Ken Wregget after the Maple Leafs beat the Minnesota North Stars, 3-2, Wednesday night at Bloomington Minn.
“We’re just on top of our game. Sometimes it’s easier on the road, we’re more relaxed. We’ve got nothing to prove except to the 20 guys on the team.”
The victory was the sixth straight on the road for the Maple Leafs, who won only 7 road games all last season when they finished with the league’s second-worst record. The Maple Leafs lead the Norris Division with the NHL’s best record--8-3-1 for 17 points.
Leaf Coach John Brophy credited Ed Olczyk’s goal for turning Wednesday night’s game. Olczyk scored with 25 seconds left in the second period to snap a tie.
“To score a goal like that with (25) seconds left, especially how well the North Stars were playing, that’s a back-breaker,” Brophy said.
Said Olczyk: “That’s the killer. You never want to give up a goal in the first or last minute of a period.”
The North Stars, meanwhile, are again at the bottom of the Norris Division with a 1-7-1 record.
“I have to be happy with the effort,” Minnesota Coach Pierre Page said.
New York 4, Philadelphia 3--Tony Granato scored a tie-breaking goal with 6:08 to play to extend the Rangers’ winning streak to 5 games with a win over the Flyers at New York.
It is the Rangers’ longest winning streak since they won six in a row in February, 1986.
Granato, a rookie, scored his second NHL goal when he took a bouncing pass from Tomas Sandstrom on the left side of the net and batted a backhander past goaltender Ron Hextall.
The game marked the first time that Flyer right wing Dave Brown faced the Rangers since he received a 15-game suspension for a cross-check to Sandstrom’s neck on Oct. 26, 1987. Brown missed 2 Flyers-Rangers meetings during the suspension, and 3 more with a hand injury.
“I didn’t think about it,” Sandstrom said. “I can’t worry about things that happened last year.”
New York’s Brian Lawton had tied the score, 3-3, with a goal at 2:28 of the third period, circling around the net and tucking the puck into the corner on the right side.
Rick Tocchet scored 2 goals for the Flyers, who lost their third straight game.
Detroit 4, Montreal 2--Paul MacLean scored with 6:50 remaining in the third period to snap a 2-2 tie as the Red Wings beat the Canadiens at Detroit.
After the Canadiens had tied the score on Claude Lemieux’s goal 3:30 into the final period, MacLean scored the game-winner after a muffed clearing pass by Canadiens goalie Patrick Roy.
Steve Yzerman’s pass into the slot glanced off MacLean’s stick and slid toward Roy, who attempted to poke the puck away. The clearing pass hit MacLean’s skate and bounced past Roy into the Montreal net.
Detroit goaltender Greg Stefan, who recorded 20 saves, preserved the victory late in the period, stopping Stephane Richer from close range after the Canadiens forward had slipped around the Detroit defense.
Yzerman’s empty net goal with 49 seconds accounted for the final margin.
Hartford 7, Buffalo 1--Right wing Kevin Dineen scored twice, and defenseman Dave Babych collected 4 assists for the Whalers at Buffalo.
The Whalers, who have scored 23 goals in the last 4 games, never trailed, leading, 1-0, after the first period and 2-1 entering the third.
Scott Young, Ron Francis, Dean Evason, Dave Tippett and Sylvain Turgeon scored the other Hartford goals.