Nordiques 5, Rangers 4
QUEBEC (AP) _ Joe Sakic’s third goal of the game with 38 seconds left gave the Quebec Nordiques a comeback 5-4 victory over the New York Rangers in the opener of their NHL playoff series Saturday night.
Game 2 of the best-of-7 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series is set for Monday night at the Colisee.
The Nordiques entered the final period down 4-2, but got goals from Sakic, Bob Bassen and Sakic to beat the Rangers, who had been 15-0-1 in games in which they led after two periods.
The Nordiques were 3-0 and finished 18 points ahead of the Rangers during the season.
Sakic and Scott Young had scored in the first period for Quebec, which finished first in the conference this season to make the playoffs for only the second time in seven years.
Adam Graves scored in the first period and added another as the Rangers got three goals in the middle period. Alexander Karpovtsev and Alexei Kovalev also scored for New York.
The Rangers hemmed the Nordiques in their zone with vigorous forechecking and did a smart job of cutting off the speedy Nordiques’ fast-break attacks for two periods.
But Quebec skated away from the veteran Rangers in the third and ended up outshooting New York 33-32 thanks to 14 third-period shots.
Sergei Zubov’s rebound off defenseman Sylvain Lefebvre’s leg landed on Graves’ stick at the edge of the crease as New York opened the scoring on a power play 4:34 into the game.
Young poked the puck past Brian Leetch at the point and went in alone to beat Mike Richter shorthanded at 17:03.
With Quebec on a power play, Young laid a pass across the slot that Sakic drove into an open side at 19:41.
Goaltender Stephane Fiset, making his first career playoff start, should have inspired the Nordiques with a sprawling save on Mark Messier to open the second period, but the Rangers kept Quebec on its heels throughout the period.
Graves redirected Messier’s pass inside the post on a power play at 5:08 to tie the game.
Sergei Nemchinov won a faceoff from Claude Lapointe in the Quebec zone and Karpovtsev blasted a point shot under the crossbar at 9:27. Zubov drew Fiset out and slipped a pass behind him to Kovalev for a two-goal lead at 18:51.
Chris Simon’s blast rebounded off the end glass, went off Richter’s back and was chopped just over the line by Sakic at 9:44 of the third period.
Bassen tied it at 14:07 when he tipped Owen Nolan’s pass behind Richter.
Uwe Krupp hit Sakic with a pass at the Quebec blueline and the Nordiques’ captain used a Ranger defenseman as a screen and drilled a shot past Richter at 19:22.