Joe Nieuwendyk of the Calgary Flames got a step on the Minnesota North Stars and kept the Flames one point ahead of the Montreal Canadiens in the race for the National Hockey League’s best record.
Hakan Loob saw Nieuwendyk break clear and fed him for a goal with 1:36 remaining Monday night to give the Flames a 3-2 victory over the North Stars at Bloomington, Minn.
“I saw that Nieuwendyk had a step and got the pass to him,” Loob said. “A step is all he needs. If he gets a good look at the net and gets off a clean shot, it usually turns out to be a goal.”
In improving its record to 52-17-9 with its sixth victory in its last seven games, Calgary retained its edge for the home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
Nieuwendyk’s 51st goal matched his output of last season, when he was the league’s top rookie.
Goalie Mike Vernon stopped 29 shots for his league-leading 36th victory. The Flames won despite getting only 19 shots on goalie Jon Casey. Calgary’s first shot didn’t come until 11:53 into the game.
The North Stars, who have only five goals while going 0-3-1 in their last four games, slipped four points behind second-place St. Louis in the Norris Division. Each team has three games left and one St. Louis victory or one Minnesota defeat will give the Blues home-ice advantage when the teams meet in a best-of-seven series that begins next week.
Montreal 5, Boston 2--Guy Carbonneau scored the winning goal with 2:57 left in the second period at Montreal, helping the Canadiens complete an unbeaten season series against the Bruins.
Carbonneau flipped Ryan Walter’s pass over goaltender Rejean Lemelin, giving Montreal a 7-0-1 record against Boston.
Mats Naslund, Claude Lemieux, Mike Keane and Brent Gilchrist also scored for the Canadiens, who are undefeated in their last four games. Bob Joyce and Ray Bourque scored for Boston.
The Bruins missed injured right wing Cam Neely in the physical game that featured heavy body-checking and frequent skirmishes after whistles.
Montreal goalkeeper Patrick Roy made 26 saves to stretch his club-record home unbeaten string to 28 games. Roy is 25-0-3.
New Jersey 5, Philadelphia 3--Kirk Muller scored twice in a four-goal second period as the Devils beat the Flyers at East Rutherford, N.J.
The loss was a setback for the Flyers, who are trying to challenge the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins in the Patrick Division.
Philadelphia is in fourth place, six points behind Pittsburgh and five in back of the Rangers with three games remaining.
St. Louis 3, Detroit 2--Bernie Federko scored his 22nd goal of the season with 1:43 remaining as the Blues kept their slim Norris Division title hopes alive with a come-from-behind victory over the Red Wings at Detroit.
The victory prevented Detroit from clinching its second consecutive division championship. The Blues trail the Red Wings by six points with three games left for each.