Oilers 6, Bruins 3
BOSTON (AP) _ Esa Tikkanen broke a 1-1 tie midway through the second period with the first of his three goals and Wayne Gretzky had four assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers to within one victory of their fourth Stanley Cup in five years with a 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins Sunday night.
Edmonton took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and can clinch its second straight NHL championship in Boston Tuesday night.
The Bruins lost the first two games in Edmonton and were hoping a return to Boston’s smaller ice surface, where the Oilers were 2-10-2 since joining the NHL in 1979, would help. But Edmonton also was 4-2 on the road during the playoffs.
The score was tied 1-1 after the first period before Edmonton took control.
Tikkanen scored a power-play goal at 10:25 of the second period when he deflected a shot by Glenn Anderson, who had a goal and three assists. Anderson took Gretzky’s pass from the right corner of the Boston zone and was alone at the corner of the crease to the left of goalie Rejean Lemelin. Tikkanen, standing in the slot, tipped in Anderson’s short shot.
Anderson scored his eighth playoff goal at 12:57 of the second period on a shot that went through the legs of defenseman Allen Pedersen and past the right pad of Lemelin, who has a 6-22-4 lifetime record against the Oilers.
Tikkanen made the score 4-1 with his sixth playoff goal 1:32 into the final period. The Oilers dumped the puck off the boards behind Lemelin and Gretzky took it away from Pedersen. Gretzky, the NHL’s career playoff leader with 167 assists and 247 points, passed it to Tikkanen in the slot and he put a five- footer by Lemelin’s glove.
Boston staged a mild comeback with goals by Moe Lemay at 4:19 and Cam Neely at 14:02, Boston’s first power-play goal in 13 power-play chances, sandwiched around one by Edmonton’s Craig Simpson, his 11th of the playoffs, at 10:28.
Tikkanen completed the scoring with his third goal, rifling Gretzky’s pass into an empty net with 20 seconds to play.
The Oilers have won 16 of their last 17 playoff series over five seasons, losing only to Calgary in the 1986 Smythe Division finals.
The Bruins played a more physical, attacking game on the smaller ice surface at the Boston Garden than they did in Edmonton, where they lost the first two games.
They had 10 shots in the opening period after getting just 14 in the entire first game and 12 in the second.
Randy Burridge gave Boston its first lead of the series 2:46 into the game on the Bruins’ second shot. Bob Sweeney drew Gretzky to him on the left side and passed to Burridge at the Edmonton blue line.
Burridge bore down from the left on goalie Grant Fuhr, playing his 34th consecutive playoff game, and beat him with a 15-footer to the near side for his second goal of the playoffs.
The Oilers tied the game at 16:18 of the first period when Boston failed to clear a rebound. Gretzky fired a 40-foot shot from the middle and Lemelin made a pad save. But the puck trickled in the crease to Kevin McClelland, who shoved his second playoff goal under Lemelin with no other Bruins nearby.
The Bruins had two good opportunities while shorthanded in the opening period. With Neely in the penalty box, Craig Janney stole a pass from Kevin Lowe and tried to shove a backhander by Fuhr, who made the save at 10:39. Six seconds later, Steve Kasper hit the right post.