In a battle between two of the worst teams in the NHL, something had to give.
It did. The Minnesota North Stars gave away four straight goals and the result was a 5-4 victory for the Toronto Maple Leafs, only their second in 13 games this season."It seemed we were just kind of trying to get through the period instead of really pressuring them," Minnesota's Brian Bellows said. "They just kept coming at us and coming at us."
The win was a relief for the Maple Leafs (2-10-1), off to their worst start in history. But it still wasn't enough to move them out of the Norris Division cellar past the North Stars (2-8-3).
"We've been through a lot, so it's nice to finally get our second win," said Gary Leeman, who scored Toronto's winning goal with 49 seconds left in regulation.
Leeman poked in a rebound at 19:11 to cap the Maple Leafs' comeback. They trailed 4-1 in the second period before getting goals from Ed Olczyk, Kevin Maguire, Wendel Clark and Leeman.
Clark's goal at 13:36 of the third period had forged a 4-4 tie.
Toronto ended a four-game losing streak. It was the Leafs' first game since Tom Watt was named head coach on a permanent basis Monday.
Neal Broten had two goals for the North Stars, who remained winless in seven road games.
Kings 4, Islanders 1
Wayne Gretzky scored the game-winner and added an assist as the Kings continued their strong early-season play by defeating the Islanders.
Kings goaltender Kelly Hrudey stopped all but one of the 33 shots he faced as the Kings improved their record to 9-2-1. Their .792 winning percentage is the best in the NHL.
Rookie Danny Lorenz, the fifth goaltender to be used this season for the injury-plagued Islanders, started his first NHL game. The Islanders have lost five of their last six games.
"This was a tough game to prepare for," Kings coach Tom Webster said. "It's a game we're supposed to win, and those are the toughest ones to get going in."
Penguins 6, Flyers 2
Mark Recchi had a goal and three assists and Frank Pietrangelo stopped 33 shots for his fourth straight win as Pittsburgh beat Philadelphia, extending the Flyers' losing streak to four games.
Pittsburgh (6-6-1) won its second straight game and third in its last four.
The game marked the return of Flyers right wing Tim Kerr, who made his first appearance since his wife Kathy died on Oct. 16 from complications of child birth. He missed six games.
"It was good to get out there and get my game back together," Kerr said. "My timing was a little off."
Blues 5, Red Wings 2
Brett Hull, last week's NHL player of the week, snapped a second-period tie with his NHL-leading 15th goal as the Blues extended their unbeaten streak to seven games.
Dave Lowry added two goals for St. Louis (8-3-1), which posted its fourth straight victory while snapping the Red Wings' (6-4-3) six-game home-ice winning streak.
After Gerard Gallant tied the score 2-2 midway through the second period, Hull, left unattended in front of the Detroit net, converted a centering pass from Rod Brind'Amour for his 11th goal in the last six games.
In seven road games this year, the Blues are 5-2, including four straight victories. Their road record is tops in the NHL.
"They play the game very simply," Detroit coach Bryan Murray said. "Good solid defense, quality passes. When you're playing on the road, you don't have to put on a show."
Flames 6, Devils 3
Joel Otto scored two power-play goals in the second period, including the 100th of his NHL career, as Calgary defeated New Jersey.
The Flames won their second straight while ending New Jersey's three-game winning streak.
Paul Ranheim, Theoren Fleury, Robert Reichel and Joe Nieuwendyk also scored for Calgary. John MacLean scored two goals and Claude Lemieux added a goal for the Devils.
New Jersey led 3-2 after the first period, but Calgary moved ahead 4-3 after 40 minutes.
Capitals 2, Canucks 1
Dave Tippett scored at 16:05 of the third period to lead Washington over Vancouver.
Tippett scored from 30 feet out on a passout from rookie winger John Purves after a turnover by Dave Capuano in the Vancouver zone.
It was the first loss of the season for rookien their second straight to finish a five-game road trip with three victories. Steve Bozek scored the Vancouver goal as the Canucks' three-game home winning streak ended.