Denis Potvin of the New York Islanders became the NHL's top point-scoring defenseman of all time when he got his 916th point by setting up Mike Bossy's first-period goal last night in New York. Bobby Orr had held the record.
Potvin's record was unappreciated by many at Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Rangers. Some of the 17,409 fans stood and applauded him, but most booed. Before long, many fans chanted obscenely at him.
Potvin controlled a loose puck and passed across the ice to Bossy at 3:38 of the period. Bossy's 50-foot slap shot beat goalie John Vanbiesbrouck to provide a 1-0 lead over the Rangers in a game that ended in a 2-2 tie.
"It's sort of ironic I did it here," Potvin said, noting that he gets worse treatment from Madison Square Garden fans than any others. "I'm thrilled and happy -- a lot of good things have happened in this arena, and a lot of bad things. This was a good thing."
It took Potvin 882 games, all with the Islanders, to set the record. Orr played 657 games in 12 seasons with the Boston Bruins and Chicago Black Hawks.
As for comparisons with Orr, Potvin said:
"I think the guy is legendary. He always will be the greatest player in the game. He was an innovator. I was proud to break the record and I was thrilled to have played against him."
Potvin has 651 assists and 265 goals. He is the 20th player overall, the seventh active and the third defenseman to get 600 assists. Orr holds the record for goals by a defenseman, 270.
The Islanders carried a 2-1 lead deep into the third period before the Rangers tied it on a deflection by rookie Mike Ridley. The Islanders are unbeaten in their last five games. The Rangers have won four of their last 13 home games and are 0-6-2 in overtime this season. Blues 5, Flames 2:
Rick Wamsley stopped 41 of 43 shots in St. Louis to continue his success against Calgary.
He has won 11 of 12 games in his career against Calgary. The loss was the fourth straight for the Flames and second in the two games this season against St. Louis.
Mark Hunter scored two goals and an assist for St. Louis. Oilers 9, Kings 4:
In Edmonton, Jari Kurri scored four goals -- two of them short-handed -- and Wayne Gretzky had six assists against Los Angeles. Gretzky has 67 assists in 34 games. Teammate Paul Coffey, a defenseman, had three goals. Canucks 5, Maple Leafs 3:
Moe Lemay scored twice and rookie goaltender Wendell Young blocked 17 shots in two periods in Vancouver. Young, who had never won an NHL game, replaced Richard Brodeur, who hurt his back.