Montreal coach Pat Burns could find nothing wrong with his team's performance. The results were another story.
"We got beat by one man - Kirk McLean," Burns said after the Vancouver goaltender made 45 saves in a 3-0 victory at the Forum on Wednesday night."I can't criticize my team for anything. They worked hard and had lots of chances. But we can't buy a goal right now."
Certainly not from McLean, whose sensational goaltending helped the Canucks take over first place in the overall standings, one point ahead of Montreal and Washington. McLean made 18 saves in the first period alone as the Canucks shut out the Canadiens for the first time since joining the NHL in 1970.
The victory was the Canucks' seventh in 42 lifetime visits to the Forum and first since Jan. 7, 1987. They're 7-33-2 lifetime in Montreal.
"It feels great," McLean said after his third shutout of the season and eighth of his career. "The last time we were in here, I think we were down 5-0 after five minutes.It's exciting to come into Montreal and get one."
Greg Adams, playing on a new line with Soviets Pavel Bure and Igor Larionov, provided all the offense by scoring three times as the Canucks finally found some scoring after consecutive shutout losses to Edmonton and Quebec.
Maple Leafs 3, Whalers 0
Jeff Reese stopped 26 shots for his second career shutout and Toronto continued its road resurgence by beating Hartford.
Reese, making his first start in 10 games, earned his first shutout since beating Buffalo 3-0 last Feb. 17. Toronto improved to 3-0-1 in its last four games away from Maple Leaf Gardens.
North Stars 5, Blues 2
Ulf Dahlen scored in the last minute of the first period and the first minute of the second to lead Minnesota past St. Louis.
Dahlen, who leads Minnesota with 14 goals, gave the Stars a 2-1 lead with 43 seconds left in the first period, then made it 3-1 with a power-play goal 34 seconds into the second. Gaetan Duchesne also scored his first two goals of the season for the North Stars.
Jets 5, Sabres 4
Darrin Shannon scored with 1:14 remaining to cap a three-goal comeback as Winnipeg rallied to beat visiting Buffalo and extend its unbeaten streak to eight games.
Shannon, who scored his second straight game-winner, picked up the puck after it bounced off the glass behind the net and fired it past Clint Malarchuk.