LANDOVER -- Dino Ciccarelli was back, and all was right with the Washington Capitals last night at the Capital Centre.
Ciccarelli, wearing a visor to protect a badly swollen left eye, seemed to light a fire under his teammates early with aggressive play along the boards and then contributed two assists in a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames.
Sylvain Cote also had two assists. The Washington goals, by Randy Burridge, Mike Ridley, Al Iafrate and Peter Bondra, were scored by 9 minutes, 19 seconds into the second period.
The win gave the Capitals a record of 21-9, best in the NHL, and 42 points, tying the Montreal Canadiens for the most in the league.
Ciccarelli, who missed Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, made it clear that he wasn't going to let the injury intimidate him.
"I had to get out there and get some hits in," he said. "It was tough to get adjusted at first, and I felt a little uncomfortable in the first period with the shield on. But I soon got into it."
It was uncertain until the pre-game skate whether Ciccarelli was going to play.
"Dino came to me and said he was ready to play," said Capitals coach Terry Murray. "And when a player like Dino tells me he's ready, I use him."
Ciccarelli received six stitches after Minnesota North Stars defenseman Derian Hatcher hit him with a high stick Friday night in Minnesota.
Calgary broke up Washington goaltender Don Beaupre's shutout bid at 1:44 of the third period on a goal by center Joe Nieuwendyk.
Thereafter, the game disintegrated mostly into a physical battle that led to a fight at 18:12 of the third period resulting in a game misconduct penalty for Washington left wing Nick Kypreos.
Kypreos joined in a fight that started between Washington's Alan May and Calgary's Neil Sheehy.
Murray pleaded with referee Paul Stewart to lift the penalty, but Stewart didn't change the call.
Murray said: "All I wanted was an all-even situation. If Calgary had been hit with a game misconduct, I would have had no problem. Now Nick Kypreos is faced with a possible suspension."