LANDOVER -- For the second game in a row, the Washington Capitals played excellent hockey. However, for the second night in a row, it was not good enough, as the Boston Bruins defeated the Capitals, 5-3, before 16,342 last night at the Capital Centre.
The Bruins were the second straight Adams Division team to beat Washington, which had won five straight before losing to the Buffalo Sabres, 4-2, Saturday.
Boston broke a 3-3 tie on Craig Janney's goal at 2 minutes, 18 seconds of the third period. Jim Wiemer took a shot that goalie Mike Liut saved, but Liut could not control the rebound. The puck lay in the crease, and Capitals left wing Dave Tippett and defenseman Mikhail Tatarinov both had shots at it and missed. Janney didn't and poked the puck into the cage for the game-winner.
"The puck was there, and I was lucky enough to get my stick on it," said Janney. "Any time you're missing a player the quality of Kevin Hatcher, your defense has to be hurting because he's an anchor back there."
The Bruins added an empty-net goal by Randy Burridge with 20 seconds remaining.
"We just couldn't get a bounce to go our way to save our lives," said Capitals coach Terry Murray. "Everything went Boston's way. Losing two games in a row at home after playing so well is very disappointing. This is a low point for us, and the reason was because we had too many turnovers."
Four of the Bruins' five goals came as the result of Washington turnovers. Chris Nilan scored in the first period after John Purves gave up the puck at center ice. Bobby Carpenter scored Boston's second goal after the Capitals failed to get the puck out of their zone during a power play; Dave Christian scored on a breakaway after Andy Brickley stripped a Capital of the puck; and Janney's game-winner came because of Washington's negligence at clearing the puck.
"On Carpenter's goal, the puck was inches from going over the line and Ray Bourque just got his stick on it to keep it in," said Murray. "And on the game-winner we had two guys there and neither could get his stick on the puck. Buffalo and Boston are good teams, but it was our own execution that hurt us the most. You can't afford to make mistakes with the puck against a team like Boston because they'll just kill you."
"We capitalized on some mistakes by Washington and turned them into offensive chances," said Carpenter. "We got the big goal early in the third period. We could play the way we wanted to after that."
That was a total defensive style, dumping the puck into the Washington end and keeping three men back to take away any Capitals breakaways.
Joel Quenneville, playing in his third game of the season, Steve Leach on a power play and John Druce, scoring his team-leading goal of the season, scored for Washington which dropped out of second place in the Patrick Division as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Vancouver Canucks, 2-0.
The Capitals were without scoring threats, Dino Ciccarelli and Peter Zezel, goalie Don Beaupre and defenseman Kevin Hatcher, all because of injuries.
"The injury that hurt the most was Hatcher's," said Murray. "He's become a dominant player in the league at defense. The others (( guys being out hurt, but it's pretty hard to compensate for a blue line starter like Hatcher."
Hatcher injured his left knee in Saturday's game and will be re-examined by a doctor today. After yesterday's examination, the doctor said it appeared that Hatcher has a bruised knee, but the knee was too swollen to tell for sure.
The Capitals outshot the Bruins, 15-7, and outscored them, 2-1, in the first period.
Boston scored on its first shot after a gift from Washington. Purves gave up the puck at center ice to Bob Sweeney and Sweeney pushed it ahead to Burridge. Burridge found Nilan breaking up the left boards and Nilan went in on a breakaway and beat goalie Liut from close range at 2:57.
Washington rallied with a pair of goals. Quenneville fired a slap shot from the the left circle that went over Bruins goalie Reggie Lemelin's left shoulder at 10:08. It was Quenneville's first point of the season and tied the score at 1.
The Capitals took the lead at 18:04 on Leach's power-play goal. Kelly Miller in the right circle, passed the puck across the slot to Leach, who was at the right goal post, and Leach poked the puck past Lemelin for a 2-1 lead.
A pair of goals by former Capitals in a 62-second span early in the second period boosted Boston into a 3-2 lead. Carpenter, redirecting a shot from the circle by Ken Hodge, scored during a power play to tie the score, and Christian climaxed a two-on-one break with Andy Brickley by scoring from close in on Liut.
Washington tied the game at 3 on Druce's 10th goal of the season. Druce, skating down the left side of the rink with Michal Pivonka on his right, went in on goal, faked a pass and ripped a shot past Lemelin at 10:57.