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WHALERS SKEWER CANADIENS' HOPES

The hill is becoming a mountain for the Montreal Canadiens, thanks to the Hartford Whalers.

For the second time in 10 days, the Whalers edged the Canadiens 4-3, dropping Montreal to a 10th-place tie with the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference playoff race with only four games remaining."We didn't get eliminated tonight," Canadiens coach Jacques Demers said after Montreal fell Monday night. "We're still in the battle, but it's a bigger battle."

Beaten at home for only the fourth time this season, the Canadiens are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 25 years.

The victory snapped a three-game Hartford losing streak and gave the Whalers a share of the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference with three games left to play.

With Montreal leading 2-1, Geoff Sanderson tied the game, Jocelyn Lemieux put the Whalers ahead 3-2, then Sanders scored the winner on a blast from the left side at 17:09.

Adam Burt also scored for the Whalers (19-21-5).

Turner Stevenson, Pierre Turgeon and Brian Savage scored for Montreal (18-21-5), which outshot the Whalers 30-28.

Rangers 5, Capitals 4

The Rangers scored three times in the first 6:25 to chase rookie Washington goaltending sensation Jim Carey, then held on to outlast the visiting Capitals and stay in the running for a playoff spot.

Sabres 3, Lightning 1

Alexander Mogilny's power-play goal with 15:04 remaining broke a 1-1 tie and led visiting Buffalo. The goal, Mogilny's 15th of the season, came with the Sabres skating at a two-man advantage. Donald Audette sent a pass across the crease and Mogilny beat Lightning goaltender Daren Puppa on a tap-in from the right side of the net.

Islanders 5, Bruins 3

Playing at home, the Islanders ended an 11-game winless streak against Boston as Ray Ferraro and Zigmund Palffy each had a goal and an assist.

Panthers 5, Senators 1

In Ottawa, Scott Mellanby's goal 31 seconds into the second period snapped a tie and led Florida to victory. Mellanby intercepted Chris Dahlquist's pass at the Senators' blue line and beat Don Beaupre for his 11th goal of the season.

Mighty Ducks 2, Flames 1

In Anaheim, Shaun Van Allen scored on a breakaway with five seconds left to lift the Mighty Ducks over Calgary. The victory boosted Anaheim into a four-way tie for the eighth and final playoff spot with San Jose, Winnipeg and the Los Angeles Kings. But the Ducks are the only team in the race with as few as four games remaining.