Gretzky tops them all

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Wayne Gretzky reached another milestone and set up Adam Graves for a pair of first-period scores as the New York Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks in a 8-4 blowout.

Gretzky scored his 1,071st goal as a pro, tying him with Gordie Howe for the all-time lead. Both totals include regular-season and playoff games played in the NHL and World Hockey Association. It took Gretzky only 1,768 games to accomplish the feat, while Howe needed 2,421 games.

Gretzky had to leave the game in the third period, after he was shoved hard into the boards by rookie Bill Muckalt with 6:32 remaining. Gretzky was already nursing sore ribs.

"It's his ribs again," Rangers coach John Muckler said. "You're not going to sit a Wayne Gretzky in the third period. He wants to play and he was really alert. He was focused and he played exceptionally well, but there's always concern. This is the game of hockey, people get hurt. But Wayne wanted to play -- accidents happen."

"He didn't hit me that hard," said Gretzky. "I got myself into a position I normally never get in, three or four feet away from the boards, he hit me and that's always the way to get someone hurt."

Rangers snapped a four-game home losing streak, the team had combined for only four goals during the slide.

"Goals come in bunches sometimes. You have to take them while you can get them," John MacLean said. "I don't know if we realized that, we just needed a win bad. But we came out with a lot of emotion tonight."

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