One-thousand nine-hundred and ninety-nine down, one point to go for Wayne Gretzky.
The Los Angeles Kings' star, the NHL's all-time scoring leader for more than a year, wanted to hit the 2,000-point plateau before the home folks, but he had to settle for two assists as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Calgary Flames 6-4 Tuesday night.Bob Kudelski, skating on the Kings' fourth line, scored 2:38 into the third period to break a 3-3 tie. His shot from low in the left circle went between goalie Mike Vernon's pads. He also scored the Kings' final goal with 1:26 left on a pass from Gretzky.
Gretzky recorded his 1,998th point when he set up Tony Granato's goal at 1:39 of the second period. Gretzky passed to Granato in the neutral zone and the left winger skated in alone and beat Vernon for a 3-1 lead.
The Kings now head out for a six-game road trip that begins in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Friday night.
"I'm really disappointed I didn't get it," Gretzky said. "My family was here and my wife was here. The home fans, who have been really good to me, were disappointed. The main thing was we won the hockey game."
Gretzky, in his 12th NHL season, eclipsed Gordie Howe as the league's all-time leading scorer with his 1,851st point on Oct. 15, 1989, in a game at Edmonton.
After Kudelski's first goal of the game put Los Angeles ahead to stay, Tomas Sandstrom made it 5-3 at 17:08 with a 50-foot slap shot during a power play. Gary Suter scored Calgary's final goal, his second of the game, with 37 seconds remaining.
Gretzky's disappointment was personal. He was delighted that the Kings beat the Flames and opened a three-game lead over Calgary in the Smythe Division.
"There's a meaning for every game, a meaning for every night," Gretzky said. "Even though we played really well in this home stand, if we would have lost to Calgary there would have been a lot of questions about us being able to beat Calgary.
"We played well against Calgary, we played well against Edmonton and Boston, and now it's important to carry this effort on the road. We have to play better on the road."
Elsewhere, it was New Jersey 8, the New York Islanders 1; Detroit 6, Vancouver 0; Montreal 5, Pittsburgh 4; and Washington 6, Philadelphia 2.
Devils 8, Islanders 1
Troy Crowder scored his first two NHL goals and New Jersey scored six times in the second period. The Devils outshot the Islanders 52-15 in winning for only the third time ever at the Nassau Coliseum, where they are 3-38-6. The loss matched the Islanders' worst ever at home, where they also lost 8-1 to Winnipeg on Nov. 1, 1988.
Crowder put in his own rebound at 16:07 for the only goal in the first period before the Devils broke it open in the second period on goals by David Maley, Peter Stastny, Claude Lemieux, Crowder, Jon Morris and Zdeno Ciger.
Red Wings 6, Canucks 0
Sergei Fedorov, who walked away from the Soviet National Team before the start of the Goodwill Games last summer, had two goals and an assist and Tim Cheveldae earned his first NHL shutout. Cheveldae, who has played in only 40 NHL games, stopped 28 shots.
Vancouver goalie Kirk McLean was replaced by Troy Gamble after Fedorov's second goal, his fourth of the season, made it 6-0 at 7:15 of the second period. McLean yielded six goals on 17 shots.
Canadiens 5, Penguins 4
Eric Desjardins and Mathieu Schneider scored 38 seconds apart as Montreal rallied in the final three minutes. The Penguins had scored power-play goals by Zarley Zalapski and Rob Brown for a 4-3 lead before Desjardins tied the score with three minutes left. Schneider then beat Tom Barrasso with a 40-foot slap shot on the glove side for the winning goal.
Stephane Richer, Brent Gilchrist and Savard scored the other Montreal goals, while Bob Errey and John Cullen tallied for Pittsburgh.
Capitals 6, Flyers 2
Defenseman Kevin Hatcher scored two goals and added an assist as Washington ended Philadelphia's six-game winning streak. Washington extended its unbeaten streak over the Flyers at the Spectrum to 4-0-1 and also won for the first time on the road this season.
Hatcher broke a 2-2 tie at 13:59 of the second period when his shot from the slot deflected off Philadelphia defenseman Gord Murphy's stick and past goalie Ken Wregget, who had won his first six decisions. Kelly Miller, Peter Zezel and John Druce capped the scoring for Washington. Rick Tocchet scored both goals for the Flyers against goalie Mike Liut.