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NHL briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 5, 2001


Bottom 3 in East race victorious

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jason Allison scored the winner as the Boston Bruins survived a late scare against the Sabres to stay in the chase for the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff spot.

The victory kept the Bruins -- 7-1-2-1 in their past 11 -- locked in a tie with the Hurricanes, who beat the Rangers. Toronto, which beat the Islanders, is two points ahead of both.

All three teams have two games left.

Mikko Eloranta and Brian Rolston also scored for the Bruins, who blew a pair of two-goal leads in the third period but hung on for a 3-2 win Wednesday.

The game did not end without some suspense as Buffalo's James Patrick converted J.P. Dumont's centering pass to cut the Bruins' lead to 3-2 with 2:14 left.

Doug Gilmour scored Buffalo's other goal with 8:24 left after the Bruins opened a 2-0 lead.

The fourth-place Sabres, attempting to gain home-ice advantage for the playoffs, failed to pad their lead in the standings, remaining a point ahead of idle Philadelphia. The loss snapped Buffalo's three-game winning streak.

Turnovers by Donald Audette and Jason Woolley led to Boston's first two goals.

Eloranta opened the scoring four minutes into the second period when Andrei Kovalenko -- standing inside the Sabres blue line -- intercepted Audette's pass through the middle of the ice. Heading to the net, Kovalenko dropped a pass back to Eloranta, who burst past Buffalo defender Alexei Zhitnik and lifted a shot over Martin Biron's left shoulder.

Rolston was handed a gift when Woolley, standing behind his own net, fed the puck directly on his stick. With Biron scrambling to get into position, Rolston calmly snapped a shot into the open side.

The Bruins visit the Devils on Friday and host the Islanders on Saturday.

HURRICANES 3, RANGERS 1: Jeff O'Neill had two goals and an assist and Rod Brind'Amour had one of each for Carolina.

Defenseman Marek Malik had three assists as the Hurricanes spoiled the Rangers' home finale.

Brind'Amour snapped a 1-all tie with 6:04 left, converting a rebound of Malik's point shot for his 19th goal. New York tied it earlier in the period on Mark Messier's short-handed goal.

Brian Leetch nearly tied it with one minute left, but his drive struck the crossbar. O'Neill's 40th goal into an empty net sealed it with eight seconds left.

Arturs Irbe followed a 30-save performance in a 2-2 tie at St. Louis on Tuesday with 24 stops against New York. Irbe, who made eight saves in each period, played in his 75th game this season. He hasn't missed one since Feb. 16.

Carolina's final games are at home, against the Thrashers on Friday and the Penguins on Sunday.

Rangers forward Jan Hlavac, a Czech, sprained a ligament in his left knee and will miss the final two games of the season as well as the world championships.

Rangers left wing Adam Graves received an ovation when shown on the video screen during the national anthem. It is not known if Graves, the club's third-highest career goal scorer, will return for an 11th season.

MAPLE LEAFS 4, ISLANDERS 2: Darcy Tucker and Jonas Hoglund had a goal and an assist for host Toronto.

Alyn McCauley and Gary Roberts also scored for the Leafs, who play in Chicago on Friday and Ottawa on Saturday.

Oleg Kvasha and Kenny Jonsson scored for the Islanders, who became the first team to finish 30th in the NHL. Finishing last gives New York the best chance at the top overall draft pick for the second straight season.

The Islanders selected goaltender Rick DiPietro with last year's top pick. DiPietro, who allowed five goals on 19 shots against the Rangers Thursday, allowed four on 40 shots against Toronto.

The Leafs have won just three of their past seven games.

STARS 5, PREDATORS 1: Brett Hull scored his 39th goal and assisted on a goal by Mike Modano -- each coming 13 seconds into power plays -- in Dallas' home finale.

The Stars, 172-94-45 at Reunion Arena since moving from Minnesota in 1993-94, increased their season-best unbeaten streak to 12 games. It matches the second-longest streak in franchise history.

Dallas set an NHL record by not being outscored in 22 straight third periods, breaking the mark held by Winnipeg (1989-90) and Quebec ('80-81).

OILERS 2, WILD 2: Doug Weight scored a power-play goal with 48 seconds left to force overtime and give a point to visiting Edmonton, which moved into sole possession of fifth place in the Western Conference.

San Jose is one point back and Los Angeles two.

The Oilers, winless in four games, have one game left. San Jose has three and Los Angeles two.

MIGHTY DUCKS 1, AVALANCHE 1: Joe Sakic scored his 50th goal to remain in contention for the NHL scoring title for host Colorado. Patrick Roy, one victory short of his first career 40-win season, had 28 saves for the Avalanche.

FLAMES 5, BLACKHAWKS 2: Craig Conroy scored two goals for visiting Calgary.

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