The Philadelphia Flyers can't seem to shake the injury bug that has dogged them in recent seasons.
Philadelphia lost goaltender Ron Hextall with a strained left groin in the second period of a 7-4 victory Thursday night over the New Jersey Devils. Hextall, who played in only eight games last season because of a series of groin injuries, had to be helped off the ice after stopping a shot by Walt Poddubny.The Flyers said Hextall should be sidelined for 10 to 14 days, but he reinjured himself several times last season when he tried to return to action before the injury was fully healed.
"It's not that bad," Hextall said. "It's not as bad as the others I have had."
The Flyers lost Tim Kerr and defenseman Mark Howe for long stretches because of injury last season and saw rookie Mike Ricci, their top pick in this year's draft, break a finger in the opening game this season that will sideline him for three to four weeks.
Gord Murphy and Ron Sutter scored 32 seconds apart in the third period and Jiri Latal tallied a pair of goals to lead the Flyers' offense. New Jersey closed within 4-3 on a goal by Kirk Muller before Murphy fired a 55-foot slap shot past goaltender Sean Burke and Sutter beat Burke through his pads for a 6-3 Philadelphia lead.
Tim Kerr, Rich Tocchet and Norm Lacombe also scored by Philadelphia. New Jersey got goals from Poddubny, Patrik Sundstrom and Peter Stastny.
The Flyers, who managed only a single goal in each of their first two games, struck for seven goals for the second time in a row.
"For us to score seven goals in two consecutive games is mind-boggling," said Flyers Coach Paul Holmgren, who expects his team to win with its defense this season.
Sutter said the secret was simple - hard work.
"We're playing tough and we're banging in there," Sutter said. "Our coaching staff has been working hard to get us to go at the other team's net and we had all better realize that that's how we will score goals."
Blackhawks 4, Penguins 1
At Chicago, Jeremy Roenick struck for three goals to lead the Blackhawks and goaltender Ed Belfour improved his record to 3-0 this season. Mike Hudson also scored for Chicago, while Pittsburgh got its only goal from Kevin Stevens.
North Stars 3, Bruins 3
At Bloomington, Minn., Mike Modano's power-play goal midway through the third period gave the North Stars the tie. Boston blew a 3-0 lead but remained one of three unbeaten teams with a 4-0-1 record.
Kings 5, Oilers 5
At Los Angeles, Wayne Gretzky scored with 49 seconds left in regulation and assisted on the four other Los Angeles goals. Gretzky, whose five points leaves him 12 away from the 2,000 mark in his career, took a 35-foot crossing pass from Steve Kasper and wristed a 10-footer into the right side of the net.