The Minnesota North Stars are both bad and boring. That combination is keeping the team near the bottom of the NHL standings, the Met Center half-empty and the players guessing about when -- and if -- things will get better.

"I'm not sure, I'll have to check and see how the morale is, first-year coach Bob Gainey said, "but my morale is being tested."

Playing before their third-largest crowd of the season -- a still-undersized gathering of 7,926 -- the North Stars lost 3-2 Saturday to the St. Louis Blues.

It was the fourth straight home loss for a team that had the league's fourth-best home record last season.

The fans have taken note. The North Stars are in their fourth straight season of trailing the league in attendance. Last year, they averaged 11,354 fans; this year, their best crowd was 2,225 less than that. They are averaging 6,442, and a money-giveaway promotion has failed to bring fans to Met Center.


Montreal ended a 105-minute, 27-second, scoring drought against Boston's Andy Moog when Mark Pederson scored early in the third period of a 1-1 tie Saturday.


Quebec has lost a team-record 13 straight games. The Nordiques are closing in on the NHL record of 17 straight, set by Washington in 1974-75.