The Chicago Blackhawks are defending their honor on the road.
The Blackhawks have not been known for their fierce play away from the friendly confines of Chicago Stadium. However, with a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers, they are 4-0 on their current road swing and that has given them the best record the league.Chicago has 34 points, one ahead of the New York Rangers, with each team having played 24 games.
"It feels great," said Chicago Coach Mike Keenan. "We've built our entire game on team defense and it's working out well for us. We've got really good balance and we've been getting a consistent effort from everybody."
Chris Chelios, Adam Creighton and Jeremy Roenick scored in rapid succession late in the first period to give the Blackhawks a 3-0 lead. Roenick attributed Chicago's success to "hard work and confidence, especially in our goaltending".
Netminder Ed Belfour once again played well and improved upon the 1.95 goals against average he brought into the game.
"They had a great jump right at the start," said Edmonton defenseman Kevin Lowe. "They were really freewheeling. Then when we had our chances in the second period we could only score once. They're playing really well right now. They're definitely functioning on all cylinders."
Kings 5, Devils 4
At Inglewood, Calif., Tomas Sandstrom fired in the first three goals of the game, but had to add an assist on John Tonelli's winning score with 4:33 to play to power the surging Kings. Wayne Gretzky added a goal and two assists for the Smythe Division leaders, to pull to within one point of NHL leader John Cullen's 39 points. New Jersey battled back as John MacLean set up two second period goals and then scored twice in the third period to deadlock the match with 11:20 to play.
Blues 4, Jets 2
At St. Louis, Gino Cavallini scored the winning goal with 5:47 left, rallying the Blues. The victory helped the Blues avenge Sunday night's game in which they lost a lead and the game in the third period in Winnipeg. St. Louis has won seven of its last eight games and is 13-2-1 in its last 16 games for a franchise-best start of 15-5-1.