Penguins close in on first by beating Nordiques, 6-3

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins weren't afraid of th Quebec Nordiques yesterday, just afraid of losing to the team with the National Hockey League's worst record at such a crucial point in the season.

"Today was a dangerous day because the game meant everything to us and absolutely nothing to the Nordiques," said Pittsburgh's Kevin Stevens, who assisted on two Mark Recchi goals in the Penguins' 6-3 win over Quebec.


The victory pulled the Penguins within one point of the Patrick Division-leading New York Rangers, whom the Penguins play at New York today and at home Thursday.

Bryan Trottier also scored twice for Pittsburgh and Jaromir Jagr had one goal and an assist as the Penguins extended their unbeaten streak to five games overall and 13 straight at home.


"The way to play is to put the pressure on them," Trottier said of the Rangers. "They've been in first place for a long time."

"This is something the players thrive on," said Recchi, whose two goals came on power plays. "If we play well, we could be in first place by the end of the week."

Recchi's first goal yesterday came 5 minutes, 46 seconds into the second period after he took a pass in the right slot from Stevens and pushed it past Quebec goalie Ron Tagnutt.

Recchi's other goal, his 39th of the season, came nearly 10 minutes later and also was set up by Stevens.

Quebec managed only 23 shots on goal, and coach Dave Chambers said a lack of experience was taking a toll on his team.

Quebec.. ..0 2 1 -- 3

Pittsburgh 2 2 2 -- 6 First period--1, Pittsburgh, Loney 5 (Trottier, Jennings), 2:56. 2, Pittsburgh, Trottier 2 (Jagr, Barrasso), 6:51.

Second period--3, Quebec, Pearson 7, 1:28 (penalty shot). 4, Pittsburgh, Recchi 38 (Murphy, Stevens), 5:56 (pp). 5, Quebec, Pearson 8 (Sakic, Nolan), 7:26. 6, Pittsburgh, Recchi 39 (Stevens, Murphy), 15:39 (pp).


Third period--7, Pittsburgh, Jagr 23 (Samuelsson, Stanton), 7:31. Quebec, Sundin 21, 8:04. 9, Trottier 8 (Young), 17:59 (sh).

Shots on goal--Quebec 8-5-10--23. Pittsburgh 20-12-10--42. Power-play opportunities--Quebec 0 of 0; Pittsburgh 2 of 3. Goalies--Quebec, Tugnutt, 10-27-9 (42 shots-36 saves). Pittsburgh, Barrasso, 24-14-2 (23-20). A--16,164.

Red Wings 5, Bruins 3

BOSTON -- Jimmy Carson scored twice to end his five-game scoring draught, as Detroit hung on for a victory over Boston.

Gary Shuchuk, playing his first NHL game, gave Detroit a 1-0 lead on his first shot at 7:26.

Kevin Miller made it 2-0 at 15:05 of the second period, when he intercepted a pass at the Detroit blue line and went in alone to score a short-handed goal.


Carson got his 20th goal of the season on a power play at 16:59 and scored again off a pass from Bob Probert at 1:57 of the third.

Peter Douris scored for Boston at 6:58 of the third and Ken Hodge pulled Boston to with 4-2 with his 25th goal of the season on a power play at 10:48.

Dave Poulin, in his second game back after missing 15 games with a shoulder injury, got the Bruins within a goal at 13:23. But Shawn Burr sealed the victory when he scored with 52 seconds left.

Detroit goaltender Tim Cheveldae had 28 saves in winning his 29th game of the season, the most by a Detroit goalie in 25 years. Boston goalie Andy Moog faced 29 shots.

Detroit 1 2 2 -- 5

Boston 0 0 3 -- 3


First period--1, Detroit, Shuchuk 1 (Primeau, Carson), 7:26.

Second period--2, Detroit, Miller 19, 15:05 (sh). 3, Detroit, Carson 20 (Ysebaert, Probert), 16:59 (pp).

Third period--4, Detroit, Carson 21 (Probert, Crossman), 1:57. 5, Boston, Douris 5 (Janney, Carter), 6:58. 6, Boston, Hodge 25 (B.Sweeney, Bourque), 10:48 (pp). 7, Boston, Poulin 8 (Wiemer), 13:23. 8, Detroit, Burr 18 (Yzerman), 19:08.

Shots on goal--Detroit 12-8-9--29. Boston 7-7-17--31. Power-play opportunities--Detroit 1 of 2; Boston 1 of 4. Goalies--Detroit, Cheveldae, 29-24-5 (31 shots-28 saves). Boston, Moog, 24-12-7 (29-24). A--14,448.

Whalers 6, Devils 2

HARTFORD, Conn. -- John Cullen scored power-play goals 39 seconds apart and Paul Cyr added a goal 37 seconds later as Hartford beat New Jersey.


The three-goal spurt midway through the second period broke open a 1-1 game and sent Devils goalie Chris Terreri to the bench. Terreri, making his career-high eighth straight start, gave up four goals on 10 shots.

Jim McKenzie, Pat Verbeek and Mark Hunter also scored for Hartford, which got six goals for only the third time this season. Doug Brown scored both of New Jersey's goals.

New Jersey 1 1 0 -- 2

Hartford ..1 3 2 -- 6

First period--1, Hartford, Hunter 13 (Yake), 11:27. 2, New Jersey, D.Brown 11 (Maley, Kasatanov), 16:47.

Second period--3, Hartford, Cullen 34 (Verbeek, Zalapski), 8:16 (pp). 4, Hartford, Cullen 35 (Verbeek), 8:55 (pp). 5, Hartford, Cyr 12 (Dineen, Evason), 9:42. 6, New Jersey, D.Brown 12 (Muller), 19:34 (sh).


Third period--7, Hartford, McKenzie 4 (Holik, Whitmore), 4:46. 8, Hartford, Ver-beek 41 (Zalapski, Shaw), 9:05.

Shots on goal--New Jersey 8-8-14--30. Hartford 5-10-8--23. Power-play opportunities--New Jersey 0 of 3; Hartford 3 of 6. Goalies--New Jersey, Terreri, 23-20-6 (10 shots-6 saves), Burke (9:32 second, 13-11). Hartford, Whitmore, 3-6-2 (30-28). A--13,300.