Defenseman David Shaw of the New York Rangers was suspended for 12 games Wednesday by the National Hockey League for slashing Pittsburgh Penguins star Mario Lemieux.

"Although this is the first offense of this nature committed by Mr. Shaw, he nevertheless deliberately swung his stick with two hands in an overhead manner, making contact with and causing injury to Lemieux," NHL executive vice president Brian O'Neill said."His excuse that he retaliated because he was cross-checked by Lemieux is totally unacceptable."

O'Neill said the suspension was in keeping with the league's efforts to crack down on violence.

Lemieux, the NHL's leading scorer, suffered a bruised sternum from the slash during the third period of Sunday's Rangers-Penguins game. He remained face down on the ice for nearly five minutes before leaving under his own power. Shaw received a five-minute major penalty and a match penalty.

In games played Wednesday, the Boston Bruins drew on last year's experience of playing in the Stanley Cup finals to take over the best record in the NHL.

Keith Crowder and Cam Neely scored two goals each Wednesday night as the Bruins routed the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-2, stretching their unbeaten string to eight games.

Sabres 6, Rangers 4

At Buffalo, N.Y., Adam Creighton notched his first NHL hat trick, including the winning goal, as Buffalo ended the Rangers' seven-game winning streak. The Sabres scored four goals in the second period to take a 5-3 lead and hand the Rangers their first road loss of the year.

Canadiens 5, Kings 3

At Montreal, Bobby Smith scored Montreal's third goal of the third period to break a tie. Smith scored on a rebound of Mats Naslund's shot from outside the crease at 10:53 of the period for his seventh goal of the season, only 29 seconds after Doug Crossman of the Kings had tied the score 3-3.

Oilers 5, Blues 4

At Edmonton, Alberta, Glenn Anderson broke out of a scoring slump with a pair of goals, including the game-winner with 3:39 left.