The Vancouver Canucks may not get the recognition the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers command, but they sure are getting the points.
Pavel Bure scored a goal and picked up an assist Wednesday night, lifting Vancouver to a 3-2 triumph over the Hartford Whalers and reducing the Canucks' magic number for clinching the Smythe Division to two.The Canucks, who lead the second-place Los Angeles Kings by 11 points, can wrap up their first division title since 1974-75.
Vancouver, which earned its 88th point of the season in Calgary Saturday night to set a franchise record, notched its 90th Wednesday to move into a tie with Montreal for second place overall in the NHL. The Canadiens were 4-3 losers to Philadelphia.
The Canucks won their fifth straight.
Bure notched his 26th of the season to give him 37 points in his last 29 games, including 20 goals.
The former Soviet star, fifth among rookies in NHL scoring, has six points in his last three games.
"With the addition of Bure and guys like Trevor (Linden) leading this team, we have really taken off this year," said Canucks goaltender Troy Gamble, who got the win for Vancouver.
"Ninety points looked good at Christmas, but now that we've reached that point, we've just got to go on to the next level."
Flyers 4, Canadiens 3
Mark Freer, Rod Brind'Amour and Gary Galley each scored a goal and notched an assist and Ron Hextall stopped 33 shots to help Philadelphia snap Montreal's 10 game unbeaten streak at the Forum. The Flyers, who won their third straight, trail the Pittsburgh Penguins by nine points for the fourth and final Patrick Division playoff spot. Montreal has lost two straight and just four of its last 17. Mark Pederson also scored for the Flyers. Mike McPhee, Stephan Leabeau and Gilbert Dionne scored for the Canadiens.
Islanders 1, Rangers 1
Joe Reekie scored early in the third period to break a tie, lifting the New York Islanders into a tie with the New York Rangers. The Rangers, who lead the NHL with 95 points, increased their lead in the Patrick Division over the second-place Washington Capitals to six points. Washington has played one less game.The Islanders, fifth in the division behind Pittsburgh, now trail the defending champion Penguins by seven points for the final division playoff spot. Rangers goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck, who had a six-game win streak snapped, stopped 35 shots and has yielded just five goals in six games. Mark Fitzpatrick made 30 saves for the Islanders.