TOUCHING OTHER BASES
Hockey -- Montreal got back on the track with a 3-0 week to pull into a tie with Los Angeles for the Norris Division lead. The Canadiens nipped Edmonton 4- 3 on Pierre Larouche's goal with 1:25 remaining, staged a five-goal first period blitz and coasted to a 5-3 win over Toronto, then fought back from a 3-1 deficit to edge Philadelphia 4-3 at the Forum on Guy Lafleur's 31st goal of the season early in the fourth period. The Flyers (1-1-1 for the week) retained their solid grip on the National Hockey League's best overall record with Adams Division rivals Buffalo, Boston, and Minnesota holding the next three spots in that order. . . Gordie Howe returned to Detroit for his first regular season NHL game since he last played there for the Red Wings in April of 1971 and although he didn't score his presence led the fired-up Hartford Whalers to a 6-4 victory before a record crowd of 19,905.
* Pro basketball -- In the season's first nationally televised Sunday afternoon game, Los Angeles edged Boston 100-98 in a thriller that saw long- time adversaries Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Dave Cowens upstage their rookie teammates, Earvin Johnson and Larry Bird respectively. Cowens broke out of a shooting slump with 22 points and played tenacious defense, yet Abdul-Jabbar finished with a game-high 33 points and 12 rebounds. The game took a dramatic swing in the third quarter, when the Lakers scored 21 straight points to erase a 14-point deficit. Boston used a rally of its own to knot the score at 98-all before Norm Nixon sank a pair of foul shots to win the game with three seconds left. The loss dropped the Celtics into a first-place tie with the streaking Philadelphia 76ers (4-0) in the NBA's Atlantic Division. These clubs top the league with 32-11 records. Not far behind is Seattle (33-13), which went 4-0 to open up a two-game lead on Los Angeles in the Pacific race. Atlanta (3-1) and Kansas City (3-1) expanded their first-place margins in the other divisions. San Diego Coach Gene Shue was suspended one week without pay and fined $3500 by the league office for striking a referee and refusing to leave the court after ejected.Shue later released a statement claiming the contact was accidental.
Baseball -- Outfielders Al Kaline and Duke Snider were easily elected to the Hall of Fame. Kaline, who batted .297 and collected 3,007 hits with Detroit during a 22-year career, became only the tenth player in history selected in his first year of eligibility. Snider, the slugging Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodger great, garnered the honor in his 11th attempt.
Miscellaneous -- Craig Stadler and Larry Nelson finished the fourth round of the five-round, rain-delayed Bob Hope Desert Classic deadlocked. . . American speed skater Eric Heiden won four events in a triangular meet in Oslo, yet the US team finished behind Norway and the Soviet Union. . . the NCAA voted to sponsor Division II and III championship events for women in five sports begining with the 1981-82 school year.