NEW YORK -- The Washington Capitals got 35 saves from Don Beaupre and excellent penalty-killing from his teammates in defeating the New York Rangers, 3-0, last night in the second game of the Patrick Division semifinal series.
In evening the best-of-seven series at one game each, the Capitals also gained a payback of sorts against the Rangers -- specifically forward Troy Mallette. He had said after the first game of the series -- a 2-1 New York victory -- that the Capitals could be intimidated.
"I thought they tried to intimidate us in the media," Washington coach Terry Murray said last night.
Capitals forward Kelly Miller said: "Actions speak louder than words. It's a matter of what you do on the ice and what the final score is."
After their boasts, the Rangers tried to intimidate the Capitals last night. The strategy backfired in the first two minutes on a goal by Dino Ciccarelli, and goalie Don Beaupre preserved the lead with 35 saves.
Al Iafrate, returning after personal problems, assisted on Ciccarelli's goal and then on a short-handed score by Miller. Michal Pivonka added a goal into an empty net. Iafrate declined to be interviewed after the game, but fellow defenseman Kevin Hatcher praised him.
"He plays in all key situations," Hatcher said. "He's key."
Now the series heads to the Capital Centre for games tomorrow and Tuesday. The Capitals own not only the home-ice advantage, but also a domination of the special teams.
"Our penalty-killers did a great job," Ciccarelli said. "We don't have a lot of games where we blow teams out. It comes down to special teams."
Miller's goal came on New York's eighth power play of the game, the only goal that came on a Rangers power play. Remember, too, that the Capitals' penalty-killers were 5-for-5 in Game 1.
Mallette said after the opener that the Capitals looked scared.
"[They] are a big bunch of chickens," he said. "They don't want to get involved. They won't go near Joey [Kocur]."
In the opening seconds of Game 2, the Rangers tried to back that up. It earned Washington a 5-3 advantage that Ciccarelli converted.
"Al Iafrate made a great play," Ciccarelli said, explaining that New York goalie Mike Richter possibly was expecting a shot. Instead, Iafrate passed to Ciccarelli, who put the puck into a virtually open cage. Washingto failed to convert on six other power plays, but the one goal was enough.
That was because of Beaupre. He got his third shutout in his past five outings, and also picked up an assist.
His biggest stop may have come in the second period, when he denied Kris King coming out of the penalty box.
"It's key for the players to have confidence in the goalie," Beaupre said.
"Donnie has been playing really fantastic for us," Miller said. "He's a real key for us, and hopefully he can continue to do so."
Early in the third, Beaupre was positioned to stop Jan Erixon's backhand from in front.
"Tonight was a super game," King said. "Their goalie played unbelievable, and we had some really good chances. It could have gone either way. We're going to have to go into their building and play hard."
New York's Brian Mullen said: "I think we have a very hot goaltender. You can't take anything away from Mike Richter. He had a great game, too. It's going to be that type of series."
Beaupre had plenty of help. His teammates cleaned the slot and won the battles. They also forced New York wide on the sorties into the zone.
Shortly after Beaupre denied Erixon, while killing a penalty, Mike Ridley broke into New York's zone on a two-on-one situation. He faked Darren Turcotte to the ice, then fed Miller for a tap-in. Iafrate assisted on the play.
"Our game plan hasn't been any secret," Murray said. "We were hoping the power play would connect. We just wanted to play under control."
Washington 1 0 2 -- 3
N.Y. Rangers 0 0 0 -- 0
First period--1, Washington, Ciccarelli 1 (Iafrate, Hatcher), 1:40 (pp). Penalties--Kocur, NY (unsportsmanlike conduct), :23; Mallette, NY, double minor (spearing), :23; Ciccarelli, Was (elbowing), 2:15; Shaw, NY (roughing), 2:15; Hunter, Was, double minor (hooking, unsportsmanlike conduct), 4:16; Moller, NY (slashing), 5:54; Hardy, NY (holding), 8:06; Ridley, Was (holding), 9:25; Langway, Was (holding), 11:18; Ciccarelli, Was (roughing), 17:50.
Second period--None. Penalties--Ciccarelli, Was (holding), 1:10; King, NY (boarding), 4:35; Sheehy, Was, misconduct, 8:26; Patrick, NY (holding), 9:10; Nicholls, NY (tripping), 12:20; Lalor, Was (holding), 14:53.
Third period--2, Washington, Miller 1 (Ridley, Iafrate), 5:24 (sh). 3, Washington, Pivonka 2 (Khristich, Beaupre), 19:34 (en). Penalties--Sheehy, Was (cross-checking), 4:29; Ridley, Was (cross-checking), 6:56; Cirella, NY (cross-checking), 6:56; Kocur, NY (slashing), 10:24.
Shots on goal--Washington 13-11-8--32. New York 16-10-9--35. Power-play opportunities--Washington 1 of 8; New York 0 of 8. Goalies--Washington, Beaupre, 1-1 (35 shots-35 saves). New York, Richter, 1-1 (31-29). A--16,792. Referee--Andy vanHellemond. Linesmen--Mike Cvik, Randy Mitton.