Red Wings 4, Whalers 2,0437
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood stopped 26 of 28 shots and scored an empty net goal with 11 seconds remaining Wednesday night as the Red Wings reached 100 points in the fourth fewest games in NHL history by defeating the Hartford Whalers 4-2.
Sergei Fedorov, Detroit’s leader with 77 points, scored the eventual game-winner 1:28 into the third period as Detroit, the league’s runaway points leader, set a club record with 48 victories.
Fedorov left the game midway through the third period following a collision with Scott Daniels and did not return.
The score by Osgood, the league leader with 32 victories, came after Andrei Nikolisin had made it a one-goal game when he scored an unassisted goal for Hartford five minutes into the third period.
Nelson Emerson also scored for the Whalers. Vyacheslav Kozlov and Dino Ciccarelli had Detroit’s other goals.
Sean Burke had 23 saves for the Whalers, 1-4-1 in their last six games.
With 18 games remaining, Detroit (48-12-4) is on pace to break the NHL record of 60 victories in a season set by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens. That Montreal team was coached by Scotty Bowman, now the coach of the Red Wings.
Ciccarelli gave Detroit a 2-1 lead with 9:39 left in the second period when he poked in a pass from Steve Yzerman that sailed through the crease.
The Red Wings added a power play goal in the first two minutes of the third period that put the game away. With Jeff Brown penalized for holding in the final second of the second period, Fedorov took a slap shot from the point that deflected off the skate of Whalers defenseman Glen Featherstone for his 28th goal.
The Red Wings are the only club to clinch a playoff spot, and they showed why in the first two minutes of the game. After Hartford defenseman Brad McCrimmon turned the puck over in the Whalers end, Kozlov took a crisp pass from Igor Larionov and fired the puck over Burke’s left pad for his 32nd goal of the season.
But the Whalers took advantage of the power play midway through first period to tie the game. With Tim Taylor off for holding, Emerson set up at the point and let go on a pass from Geoff Sanderson that beat Osgood at 10:36 left.
The goal appeared to give Hartford a boost. Burke twice stopped Detroit’s No. 2 scorer Steve Yzerman on breakaways in the second period. McCrimmon made up for his early defensive lapse by stopping a backhand by Keith Primeau with Burke out of position in the final minute of the second period.