Detroit Red Wings Coach Scotty Bowman had two milestones in mind when he decided to come back for the 1999-2000 season.
Reaching 1,100 regular season victories, which he did in last night's 3-2 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers, wasn't one of them.
"I started the season with 1,096 wins, so I was pretty sure we would get four more," Bowman said.
Before the season, Bowman talked of coaching in five decades, which he will do in January, and moving ahead of Toe Blake with a ninth Stanley Cup. The ninth title would also tie him with longtime Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach for the most championships in North American major sports.
"It's hard sometimes to realize what an honor it is to have played for the greatest coach in the history of the sport," Kris Draper said. "Eleven hundred wins, that's ridiculous. Most of the guys in this room will never even see 1,100 games."
Only three other coaches have even coached 1,100 career NHL games. Sergei Fedorov set up two goals and Vyacheslav Kozlov scored the game-winner at 8:51 of the third period.
With the loss, Philadelphia dropped to 0-5-1, the worst start in team history.
"Obviously, we're really struggling to get that first win," Philadelphia Coach Roger Neilson said. "But tonight was encouraging. This was probably our best game of the year. We're starting to look like a decent hockey team again."
BLUES 4, MAPLE LEAFS 2: In St. Louis, Roman Turek earned his first victory as a member of the Blues, making 20 saves to key the win. Turek had been 0-3-0 since joining the Blues this season in a trade from the Dallas Stars. The Blues had been 0-2-0 at home.
"I felt a little better in the game against Detroit the other night, even though we lost," Turek said. "Tonight I felt good about every part of the game."
CANADIENS 2, SABRES 1: Brian Savage continued his hot start as injury-strapped Montreal beat visiting Buffalo for its second straight victory. Savage, coming off a hat trick in a 5-4 overtime win in Philadelphia on Thursday night, helped keep the Sabres winless at 0-3-2 with his seventh goal of the season.
DEVILS 4, ISLANDERS 1: In East Rutherford, N.J., rookie Scott Gomez scored his first NHL goal and set up third-period tallies by Krzysztof Oliwa and Bobby Holik. Scott Stevens added a short-handed, empty-net goal and Martin Brodeur had 29 saves as the Devils extended their unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-1) and handed the Islanders their third straight loss.
"This is why you play the game," said Gomez, the first Hispanic player taken in the first round of the NHL draft. "You've got to give yourself a chance. Don't go into anything just to be there. I always thought that at a young age. I just gave the puck to the right people. I'm not saying I'm going to do this the next game."
BLACKHAWKS 3, PENGUINS 3: Jaromir Jagr scored his second goal of the game with 1:31 left in the third period to lift host Pittsburgh to the tie, keeping the Blackhawks winless. Chicago (0-3-3) is closing in on the team record for most games without a win to begin a season, which the Blackhawks set in 1953-54 when they started 0-7-1.
THRASHERS 4, LIGHTNING 4: Chris Gratton scored with 5:20 left in regulation as host Tampa Bay completed a three-goal third-period comeback.
PREDATORS 3, STARS 2: In Nashville, Ville Peltonen scored a goal and added an assist and Mike Dunham made 36 saves. Stars forward Jere Lehtinen fractured his ankle in the second period, and is out six to eight weeks. Defenseman Richard Matvichuk reinjured his left knee, which will be examined today. "Not only are we struggling on the ice, it seems like guys are dropping left and right," Dallas captain Derian Hatcher said. "We can't worry about the injuries."
OILERS 5, KINGS 4: Daniel Cleary's second goal of the game lifted host Edmonton to victory.
"It's the happiest I've been in a long time," said the 20-year-old Cleary. "I'm dumbfounded."
PANTHERS 3, MIGHTY DUCKS 2: Jaroslav Spacek scored a power-play goal with 3:34 left in overtime to give host Florida the victory.
COYOTES 2, BRUINS 1: In Phoenix, Keith Tkachuk had a goal and an assist and Travis Green scored a goal in his fourth straight game.
AVALANCHE 3, SENATORS 1: In Denver, Claude Lemieux and Joe Sakic each had a goal and an assist to lead Colorado.
FLAMES 4, CANUCKS 4: Host Calgary scored three times in the third period after surrendering three to Vancouver in the first.