The Quebec Nordiques, granted only two power play opportunities, converted both of them tonight and knocked the Boston Bruins out of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Defenseman Dave Pichette's first playoff goal, with 10:21 left in the game, and a 28-save effort by goalie Dan Bouchard carried the Nordiques to a 2-1 victory in the decisive seventh game of a most exciting Adams Division final series.
The fourth-place Nordiques, who eliminated Montreal earlier, will move on to another formidable target, the New York Islanders, in the Prince of Wales Conference series that opens Tuesday at Nassau Coliseum.
Pichette's big goal was set up by a nonsensical penalty on Terry O'Reilly, who charged into the Nordiques' aggressive Dale Hunter from behind when Hunter did not have the puck. Despite the rather obvious nature of the foul, Boston Coach Gerry Cheevers complained bitterly about it afterward.
The Nordiques, fourth-best extra-man club in the NHL this season, took their time setting up a scoring chance. The puck had been passed for almost 30 seconds without a shot when Pichette shot a 40-footer down the middle that sailed over the right shoulder of Mike Moffat, Boston's rookie goalie.
"On our power play we usually move the puck around and wait for a good opportunity," said Pichette, 22, who started last season in Hershey. "We don't shoot much from the point like other teams.
"I had it once in the slot, but I didn't have a good shot, so I gave it back to Peter (Stastny). When I got it back, I had a good shot and it went in. The goalie had a clear look--the defenseman had just skated out of his view."
Moffat stopped a breakaway by Real Cloutier not long afterward and the Bruins had several good chances to tie. Steve Kasper and Barry Pederson both shot wide from close range, another Pederson shot was deflected over the net and Kasper dribbled the puck into Bouchard when a lift would have meant a tie.
Boston had its opportunities during a scoreless first period, too, when it outshot the Nordiques by 12-2. Bouchard, returning to the net for the first time since the opening game of the series, was outstanding, just as he had been in that concluding overtime victory in Montreal.
Moffat stopped five Quebec shots in the first minute of the second period, but the Nordiques went ahead at 9:56, with Boston's Larry Melnyk in the box for holding Peter Stastny.
Stastny was chopped down by Moffat just outside the crease. He rose, took Wilf Paiement's pass and slid the puck through the crease to Michel Goulet for an easy tap-in. Despite the goal, Stastny immediately complained to referee Andy Van Hellemond because there had been no penalty call.
The Bruins tied it at 13:35, as O'Reilly's pass from the right wing circle, intended for Don Marcotte in the slot, struck Peter McNab instead and caromed past the helpless Bouchard.
There was a lot more good goaltending on both sides before Pichette provided the winner for the Nordiques, who won five of eight games in Boston Garden this season while losing four of seven to the Bruins in Le Colisee.
It would be nice to report that this superb series ended with good sportsmanship on both sides, but such was not the case. Before a faceoff with two seconds left, Hunter and Boston's Wayne Cashman swung their sticks at each other and Cashman tried to spear Hunter.
O'Reilly then got into the act, swinging his stick like an ax at Hunter. Van Hellemond, despite his bad back, pulled O'Reilly down and imposed a game misconduct.
The crowd of 14,673 littered the ice during the last four minutes and at the finish fans and police were fighting behind the Boston bench.