With the regular season winding down in the National Hockey League, it has largely been decided who will be playing in the playoffs.
Only five teams fail to qualify for Stanley Cup competition. Two of those who failed to make it--Quebec and New Jersey--lost out Sunday without even suiting up.
The regular season ends in two weeks and all the division titles have been decided except the Patrick, which Washington is likely to win.
Another team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, are precariously close to joining the Nordiques and Devils on the sidelines.
Brian Propp scored a power-play goal with less than two minutes remaining at Philadelphia to break a 6-6 tie and the Flyers went on to score an 8-6 victory over Toronto.
The Maple Leafs, who fought back from a 4-1 first period deficit, now is faced with the necessity of winning at least three of their last six games. So far, they’ve won only 25 of 74 games.
Rick Tocchet scored an empty net goal to assure the Flyers of making the playoffs for the 17th consecutive season.
Before scoring the decisive goal, Propp assisted on three goals.
Gary Leeman kept the Leafs in the battle with a hat trick. His final goal tied the game at 6-6 at 8:28 of the last period. Then the Flyers tightened their defense and it was all over.
Edmonton 3, New York Islanders 2--Goaltender Grant Fuhr stopped 32 shots and Mark Messier scored his 30th goal in this game at Edmonton and the Oilers moved into a tie with the Kings for second place in the Smythe Division.
It was the first win for Edmonton in the last six games. It was made possible by Fuhr, who was brilliant in the clutch. He protected the lead by stopping a breakaway by Mikko Makela late in the game.
Although they are tied, the Kings have seven games to play, Edmonton five.
Hartford 3, Boston 2--Ray Ferraro’s 37th goal came with just over two minutes remaining in regulation at Boston and clinched a playoff spot for the Whalers.
The victory gave the Whalers 71 points and 33 victories to 57 points and 25 victories for Quebec. Even if Quebec wins all its remaining games, it will finish fifth in the Adams Division.
The Bruins had tied the game early in the last period on a fluke short-handed goal when a clearing pass struck Whalers defenseman Joel Quinneville’s stick and went past startled goalie Peter Sidorkiewicz into the net.
Chicago 5, Detroit 3--Steve Konroyd’s goal with 4:25 to play broke a 3-3 tie as the Blackhawks beat the Red Wings at Chicago.
Konroyd’s goal, his sixth of the season, came after Detroit goaltender Greg Stefan had kicked out Dirk Graham’s 25-foot slap shot.
With Stefan out of position, Konroyd picked up the rebound and put it in into the vacated net for his sixth goal of the season.