"If we're going to get out of this thing, it's going to take more than a bull session with the players," said Capitals coach Terry Murray, who met with his players Thursday in an attempt to shake the team out of its slump. "We need to establish some kind of rhythm and get better results from our key people, who need to step forward and do something. We can't rely on guys who aren't known for scoring."
Last night, the team's top three scorers -- Kevin Hatcher, Michal Pivonka and John Druce -- didn't produce a point.
"The guys who are getting the most ice time have to score for us," said Murray. "Sure, things could be worse, but they could be a lot better. Right now, everybody is taking on the responsibility of where we're at and trying too hard to do something about it."
As a result, Murray said all he sees on the ice is "a lot of tension. It's the only word to describe it."
Murray said New York's game plan was evident in the second period.
"All they did was ice the puck and take away any momentum we had," he said. "And that only tends to frustrate a team that is going badly, like us."
The Capitals' Dimitri Khristich, 21, the youngest player allowed to leave the Soviet Union to play in the NHL, made a nifty move on Rangers defenseman Mark Hardy to score the first goal of his NHL career 2 minutes, 41 seconds into the third period.
Khristich whirled around Hardy to get the shot off after taking a pass from Dino Ciccarelli. Khristich's goal cut the New York lead to 4-2.
Khristich has played five games since being signed by the Capitals 17 days ago.
Kevin Miller answered for New York with a goal at 14:06 of the third period, running the lead to 5-2 and dimming Washington's hopes.
Washington took a 1-0 lead at 2:47 of the first period when center Peter Zezel deflected Mikhail Tatarinov's slap shot from the right point into the net.
Then, the Capitals got caught up in a penalty-filled first period.
Eleven penalties were called in the first 20 minutes, in which the Rangers came back on goals by James Patrick and Ray Sheppard for a 2-1 lead.
N.Y. Rangers 2 2 1 -- 5
Washington 1 0 2 -- 3
First period--1, Washington, Zezel 7 (Tatarinov, Ridley), 2:47 (pp). 2, New York, Patrick 7 (Leetch, Turcotte), 5:14 (pp). 3, New York, Sheppard 17 (Hull, Kevin Miller), 12:32. Penalties--Nicholls, NY, minor-misconduct (unsportsmanlike conduct), :33; Mallette, NY, major (fighting), :33; Ciccarelli, Was, double minor (unsportsmanlike conduct, slashing), :33; Lalor, Was, major (fighting), :33; Kisio, NY (tripping), 1:31; King, NY (unsportsmanlike conduct), 4:09; Hunter, Was (unsportsmanlike conduct), 4:09; May, Was, minor-misconduct (elbowing), 4:09; Mallette, NY (high-sticking), 8:34; Kypreos, Was (slashing), 8:34; Rochefort, NY (hooking), 8:43.
Second period--4, New York, Rochefort 2 (Kisio), 11:42. 5, New York, Nicholls 16 (Gartner, Turcotte), 15:46 (pp). Penalties--May, Was (cross-checking), 12:49; Lalor, Was (roughing), 14:48; Rochefort, NY (tripping), 16:50.
Third period--6, Washington, Khristich 1 (Ciccarelli, Ridley), 2:41. 7, New York, Kevin Miller 14, 14:06. 8, Washington, May 4 (Kypreos, Johannson), 14:49. Penalty--Khristich, Was (interference), 7:53.
Shots on goal--N.Y. Rangers 11-15-5--31. Washington 6-4-11--21. Power-play opportunities--N.Y. Rangers 2 of 5; Washington 1 of 3. Goalies--N.Y. Rangers, Richter, 11-7-3 (21 shots-18 saves). Washington, Beaupre, 5-9-0 (31-26). A--17,393. Referee--Kerry Fraser. Linesmen-- Gord Broseker, Kevin Collins.