Kelly Kisio scored twice during a five-goal first period and Mike Gartner reached the 30-goal mark for the 12th consecutive season as the New York Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks, 8-1, last night with a season-high 51-shot barrage in New York.
The Rangers opened a six-point first-place lead in the Patrick Division over Pittsburgh, which was a 6-2 loser to Winnipeg.
The win was the Rangers' ninth in their last 10 games against the Canucks at Madison Square Garden.
The loss was the third for the Canucks in their last four games under Coach Pat Quinn, the Vancouver general manager who took over after firing Bob McCammon last Thursday. The Canucks are last in the Smythe Division.
Former Capital Gartner picked up his 30th goal at 5:32, a power-play effort on an uncontested sharp angle shot.
Gartner, who has goals in five consecutive games, is approaching the NHL record of 13 seasons with 30 or more goals. The record is shared by Bobby Hull and Phil Esposito.
Kisio sandwiched his goals around the 20th by Bernie Nicholls, who missed the previous five games with a separated shoulder.
Jets 6, Penguins 2: Pat Elynuik had a goal and an assist in a three-goal second period in Winnipeg as the Jets climbed within six points of third-place Edmonton in the Smythe Division.
Mark Osborne and Brent Ashton also scored in the middle period to help the Jets break open a close game and take a commanding 5-1 lead.
Mario Lemieux, playing in his fifth game since a year-long absence because of a back ailment, had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. But the Penguins' superstar center heard nothing but jeers from the crowd of 13,234 after he leveled rookie Bryan Marchment with a cross-check early in the second period.
Mark Recchi had a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who lost a second consecutive game for the first time since Dec. 11.
Red Wings 8, Islanders 4: In Detroit, rookie Sergei Fedorov had two goals and three assists as the Red Wings scored on half of their 16 shots in winning for the third time in four games. At one point, they scored on eight of 10 shots.
Detroit, which was outshot 49-16, received a strong performance from goalie Tim Cheveldae, 49-16. But goalie Jeff Hackett of New York (0-3-2 in its last five games) struggled.
"I'm embarrassed with the way I played," Hackett said. "As a matter of fact, this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me in hockey. . . . When you give eight goals, especially on this few shots, you can only blame yourself."
Kings 4, Sabres 4: Grant Ledyard's second goal of the season rallied Buffalo to the tie with visiting Los Angeles and broke the Sabres' six-game losing streak, one short of the team record set in 1970-71.
Buffalo came back from a 4-2 deficit in the third period. Christian Ruuttu tipped in Dave Snuggerud's shot six minutes into the period to make it 4-3, and Ledyard tied it with 6:43 left.
The Sabres outshot Los Angeles 17-3 during the period, ending the Kings' three-game winning streak.