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SAVE THE WHALES? HARTFORD’S DOING IT

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NHL fans know what kind of a season the Pittsburgh Penguins and Colorado Avalanche are having, but has anyone noticed the Hartford Whalers recently?

Since the new year, the suddenly revived Whalers are 10-4-1, including Wednesday night's 5-3 victory at Vancouver."Our skilled players up front came through for us," Jeff Brown said after the Whalers wiped out a 3-1 deficit with four straight goals in the third period.

The Whalers, all but counted out of the playoffs at mid-season, were 11-21-5 before their recent run improved their record to 21-25-6. That put them 10th in the Eastern Conference - two spots away from a playoff position.

Penguins 1, Devils 1

Ken Wregget stopped New Jersey defenseman Scott Niedermayer on a penalty shot late in the third period as visiting Pittsburgh preserved a tie with the Devils.

Avalanche 4, Lightning 4

In Denver, Petr Klima scored his 19th goal at 9:49 of the third period as Tampa Bay rallied to tie Colorado.

Klima broke in alone and beat Avalanche goalie Stephane Fiset for his first goal since Jan. 13.

Sabres 2, Bruins 1, OT

In Buffalo, Derek Plante's 40-foot wrist shot 24 seconds into overtime led the Sabres over Boston in a duel of goaltenders.

Canadiens 4, Stars 2

In Dallas, Andrei Kovalenko scored off a rebound with 15:02 to play to snap a 2-2 tie and added an empty-netter with 31 seconds left to lead Montreal over the Stars.

Capitals 2, Oilers 1

In Edmonton, Peter Bondra scored early in the third period to lift Washington over the Oilers.

Oilers goaltender Curtis Joseph had foiled Bondra throughout the game, making several glittering saves after Glenn Anderson had given Edmonton a 1-0 lead in the first period. But with the game tied 1-1 and Washington on the power play early in the third, Bondra finally beat Joseph.

Maple Leafs 2, Mighty Ducks 1

In Anaheim, Dave Gagner scored his first goal as a Maple Leaf late in the second period to snap a 1-1 tie and Toronto ended a nine-game winless streak.