The scoring slump of the New York Rangers continued Saturday night at Landover, Md., and the Washington Capitals moved into first place in the hotly contested Patrick Division race.
Dale Hunter snapped a 2-2 tie by scoring his 17th goal with just 4:42 remaining, and the Capitals handed the Rangers their fifth consecutive defeat, 4-2. In the five games the Rangers have scored just seven goals.
Brian Mullen’s power-play score at 5:12 of the final period brought the Rangers into the tie. But with time running down, Geoff Courtnall dug the puck out of the corner and, while being knocked down, fired a strike to Hunter in the slot. Hunter’s shot went just inside the left post.
Two minutes later, a fluke goal put the game out of reach. Doug Wickenheiser got the credit when the rebound of his shot struck New York’s Tony Granato and caromed into the net.
Earlier, Dino Ciccarelli, obtained to boost the Capitals’ offense, scored his first goal since being traded by Minnesota.
With 10 games left, the Capitals lead the Rangers by two points. They lead Pittsburgh, which has 11 games remaining, by three. Philadelphia, a long shot at best, is eight points behind with 11 games to play.
There was a scare as the Capitals prepared for their skate-around Saturday afternoon. An employee at Capital Centre mistook road flares for dynamite. Before the mistake was discovered, the Capitals had evacuated the building and practice was canceled.
Buffalo 6, Boston 6--The Bruins so dominated the last period at Boston that the Sabres had only two shots on goal. However, one by Scott Arniel, with 2:33 left in regulation, slipped past goalie Rejean Lemelin for they tying score.
Buffalo never led during the game and twice trailed by two goals. Arniel’s goal was his second of the game.
Defenseman Ray Bourque also had two goals for the Bruins, including the go-ahead score with 3:30 left in regulation.
Philadelphia 7, Chicago 2--Rick Tocchet and Tim Kerr each scored twice at Philadelphia, and No. 2 goaltender Mark LaForest was brilliant in the nets to enable the Flyers to end a five-game winless streak.
LaForest stopped 35 shots. The Flyers’ top goaltender Ron Hextall has a pulled hamstring. The Flyers had been 0-2-3.
New York Islanders 3, New Jersey 2--Pat LaFontaine scored the tying goal halfway through the third period at Uniondale, N.Y., and the winning goal 64 seconds into overtime to deal the Devils’ playoff hopes a severe blow.
With Philadelphia winning, the Devils, who have 10 games remaining, trail the Flyers by 10 points in the fight for the final berth in the Patrick Division.
LaFontaine blasted a shot between the pads of goalie Sean Burke for his 37th goal and the winner on the first shot in overtime.
Montreal 5, Hartford 3--Guy Carbonneau and Petr Svoboda scored 29 seconds apart early in the second period at Montreal as the Adams Division champions continued their bid for the best overall record.
With 103 points to 101 for Calgary, the Canadiens, after their fifth consecutive win, moved closer to their goal.
Edmonton 5, Calgary 5--After building a 5-3 lead with 12 minutes left, the Oilers had to settle for a tie at home. They stretched their lead over the Kings in the battle for second place in the Smythe Division to two points.
Lanny McDonald cut the lead to one at 8:24, and Jim Peplinski tied it with his 10th goal at 15:30.
Former King Jimmy Carson had his 45th goal for the Oilers.
Toronto 5, Detroit 3--The Maple Leafs kept their playoff hopes alive by scoring four times in the first period at Toronto and holding on for the victory.
Wendsel Clark and Vincent Damphousse scored goals 17 seconds apart to fuel the rally that put Toronto just four points behind Chicago in the fight for the last playoff spot in the Norris Division. Toronto has 10 games left, Chicago 11.
Minnesota 2, St. Louis 2--Neither of these teams has clinched a playoff spot in the weak Norris Division, either.
Neal Broten scored at 8:19 of the final period at St. Louis to get the North Stars the tie.
As the stretch drive begins, St. Louis, in second place, has 62 points, Minnesota 59, Chicago 58 and Toronto 54.