Tim Kerr broke open a close game with two second-period goals four minutes apart to lead the Philadelphia Flyers, who were playing at home, to an 8-2 rout of the New York Rangers last night.

The victory moved the Flyers into a first-place tie with the Washington Capitals in the Patrick Division.

Kerr's goals gave the Flyers a 5-2 lead. Philadelphia got third-period goals from Rick Tocchet at 12:19, Brian McCrimmon at 15:24 and Ron Sutter at 18:33.

Kerr, who has 54 goals, has at least two goals in 16 of his games this season.

"They outworked us in every way. We couldn't stop Tim Kerr tonight," said Rangers Coach Ted Sator.

"It's very satisfying when you can score that many goals," Flyers Coach Mike Keenan said. "It's been a long time since we've done that. It installs a lot of confidence in our team."

Philadelphia went ahead, 1-0, at 9:03 of the first period on Ilkka Sinisalo's 36th goal. Sinisalo took a pass from Murray Craven and, with his back to the net, backhanded a shot past goaltender Glen Hanlon.

Dave Poulin scored 43 seconds into the second period. Thomas Sandstrom's goal 23 seconds later brought New York within 2-1.

Philadelphia made it 3-1 at 6:36 when Brian Propp converted a Poulin rebound.

*Oilers 4, Islanders 4: Jari Kurri's second goal of the game and 64th of the season with 7:08 remaining in the third period gave visiting Edmonton the tie with New York, a result that enabled the Islanders to clinch third place in the Patrick Division.

Kurri directed Dave Hunter's pass behind goalie Kelly Hrudey after a nice cross-ice series of passes with Wayne Gretzky. It marked the third time the two-time Stanley Cup champions had erased a one-goal deficit.

Bryan Trottier's disputed goal gave the Islanders a 4-3 lead at 13:10 of the second period. Trottier fired his 35th goal of the season between the legs of Edmonton goalie Andy Moog, but a replay showed that New York's Greg Gilbert had hooked Moog's skate with his stick. Moog chased referee Billy McCreary almost to center ice but lost the argument.

*Bruins 2, Sabres 1: Bill Ranford stopped 25 shots in his NHL debut to help Boston beat visiting Buffalo.

The win moved the Bruins three points ahead of the Sabres and the Hartford Whalers, who are tied for fourth in the tight Adams Division race.

Buffalo left wing Gilles Hamel spoiled Ranford's shutout bid when he finished a play with Phil Housley by backhanding a shot over the goaltender at 12:09 of the third period.

*Devils 3, Blackhawks 2: In East Rutherford, N.J., Rich Preston and John MacLean scored second-period goals to break a 1-1 tie as New Jersey upset Chicago.

The Devils won the season series, 2-1, and extended a franchise record with their 26th victory of the season.

Behn Wilson opened the scoring for the Blackhawks at 1:49 of the first period when he fired a 30-foot shot from the slot, beating Devils rookie goaltender Sam St. Laurent.

Aaron Broten tied the score at 17:25 when he backhanded McLean's rebound over Blackhawks goaltender Murray Bannerman.

*North Stars 5, Red Wings 4: In Detroit, Dino Ciccarelli scored three power-play goals to lead Minnesota.

Ciccarelli, who was scoreless in his first 18 games this season, has 20 goals in his last 18 contests and leads the North Stars with 44. The hat trick was his third of the season and 13th of his NHL career.

Minnesota led, 2-0, after first-period goals by Neal Broten and Ciccarelli. Broten's shot caromed off the stick of Detroit's Adam Oates and got past Ed Mio at 4:00. Ciccarelli scored on a deflection on Scott Bjugstad's shot at 18:51.

Ciccarelli converted a rebound at 3:03 of the second period to give the North Stars a 3-0 lead. Detroit's Doug Shedden tipped Petr Klima's shot past goalie Don Beaupre at 5:39, but Keith Acton countered for Minnesota on a shot from the faceoff circle at 8:35.

*Maple Leafs 4, Blues 1: In Toronto, defenseman Al Iafrate scored two goals to help the Maple Leafs end a four-game losing streak.

The Blues, who had a chance to gain a share of the overall lead with Chicago in the Norris Division, delivered a sloppy effort. They are two points behind the Blackhawks, who lost to New Jersey, and one behind Minnesota.

Iafrate, who entered the game with just five goals, struck quickly in the first period as he put a backhand pass from Peter Ihnacak behind goalie Greg Millen at the 12-second mark. Kevin LaVallee evened the score at 1 on a power play, sending a shot that found the open side behind Toronto goaltender Ken Wregget.