Wayne Gretzky was drawn into a rare roughing penalty when he was sucker-punched in the first period by Hartford’s Kevin Haller, then got even with four assists in the Rangers’ 5-2 victory Wednesday night in New York.
“He played hard,” Gretzky said of Haller. “He’s doing his job, trying to distract me, trying to get under my skin.”
The first-period sparks between Gretzky and Haller soon sparked the Rangers. Trailing, 1-0, New York scored twice in the second period and three times in the third.
Gretzky set up two goals in each period.
“It certainly does get your adrenaline up when your top players are being taken advantage of by their enforcers,” Ranger goaltender Mike Richter said. “It’s a dangerous thing [for opponents] because it seems to get Wayne going.”
Gretzky was held without a goal for the 15th game in a row, the second-longest goal-less streak of his his career.
New Jersey 4, N.Y. Islanders 1--Steve Sullivan scored a goal and set up Dave Andreychuk’s 20th of the season for the Devils in a win at East Rutherford, N.J.
Bill Guerin and Randy McKay also scored as New Jersey stretched its unbeaten streak to five games (2-0-3) and ended a frustrating string of three consecutive ties.
Dallas 4, Tampa Bay 0--In Dallas, Arturs Irbe stopped 28 shots in his first shutout in almost two years and ninth of his career.
Dave Reid, Pat Verbeek, Joe Nieuwendyk and Neal Broten supplied the offense for the Stars, 5-2-0 in their last seven games.
Pittsburgh 6, Montreal 3--Rookie goaltender Patrick Lalime stopped 46 shots and Peter Nedved and Glen Murray scored two goals each for the Penguins at Montreal.
Pittsburgh’s Mario Lemieux was out because of a sore back.
Edmonton 5, Calgary 2--Held to 19 shots on goal, the Oilers got goals from Todd Marchant, Doug Weight and Mariusz Czerkawski in the second period of a victory at Edmonton.
It is the first time since 1992 that the Oilers have won five in a row.