LANDOVER -- Don Beaupre was having a pretty good night in the net last night for the Washington Capitals until the final five minutes.
Then he turned it up a couple of notches down the stretch to draw words of praise such as "great" from coach Terry Murray.
"Donnie played great in the last five minutes," Murray said after Beaupre had held off the Toronto Maple Leafs with two tough saves in the final 20 seconds to give the Washington Capitals a 4-3 victory before 14,133 at the Capital Centre.
"Thank goodness for Don Beaupre's right leg [on a save of a Mike Bullard shot with 20 seconds left]," said Murray. "He made a great save on that play."
Bullard tried to tip in the rebound of a shot by Toronto's Daniel Marois from the right corner, but Beaupre stopped it with his right leg after turning back the previous shot by Marois.
"If Donnie hadn't made that save, it would have made the game real interesting," said Murray. "I'm glad it's over. The Maple Leafs had a lot of things going for them."
Beaupre, who had 26 saves to improve his record to 12-5, said of the deciding series of two shots:
"I got lucky," he said. "I know the first shot came out of the right corner, but I don't know who took it or exactly where it came from. I thought I was pretty average up to the final five minutes."
Average was good enough to keep the Capitals ahead most of the night and enable the home team to run its NHL leading points total to 49.
Alan May, Randy Burridge, Peter Bondra and Michal Pivonka scored for the Capitals. Seven different Washington players had assists.
It was the first goal for Pivonka in 13 games.
Toronto defenseman Dave Ellett said of the last two chances for the Maple Leafs, "That's the way it's going for us. You get a great chance and the goalie makes an unbelievable save."
Until the last five minutes, Murray felt that Beaupre wasn't really tested in the game.
"Donnie was only tested three times in the first two periods," said Murray. "We got some big plays out of people like Bondra, Pivonka and Dimitri Khristich."
Washington surged ahead, 3-1, at the end of the third period on goals by Bondra and Burridge.
But Toronto came back with a Gary Leeman goal at 4:45 of the third period to cut the lead to 3-2 and cause some concern for the Capitals.
The two teams traded goals during a 41-second stretch later in the third period to set the stage for Beaupre's final show.
"We have overtime if Don doesn't make those saves," said Washington defenseman Mike Lalor. "Everybody's contributing for us this season and we don't even want to sit around and think about how good we're doing and if we're for real. We just want to keep going out and playing this way."
Toronto 1 0 2 -- 3
Washington 1 2 1 -- 4
First period--1, Washington, May 6 (Ciccarelli, Lalor), 17:21. 2, Toronto, Foligno 5 (Krushelnyski, Berube), 18:07. Penalties--Maguire, Tor (roughing), 7:42; Druce, Was (roughing), 7:42; Johansson, Was (interference), 9:13; Gill, Tor (holding), 10:54; Rouse, Tor (hooking), 13:44.
Second period--3, Washington, Burridge 12 (Hatcher, Hunter), 2:01 (pp). 4, Washington, Bondra 16 (Cote), 9:28. Penalties--Anderson, Tor (hooking), 1:38; Iafrate, Was (holding), 3:40; Kypreos, Was (roughing), 10:36; Sabourin, Was (tripping), 15:03; Berube, Tor (cross-checking), 17:37, Petit, Tor (high-sticking), 18:53; Hunter, Was (high-sticking), 18:53.
Third period--5, Toronto, Leeman 6 (Gill, Bradley), 4:45. 6, Washington, Pivonka 11 (Druce, Khristich), 7:19. 7, Toronto, Elynuik 7 (Foligno, Krushelnyski), 8:00. Penalties--Rouse, Tor (interference), 1:04; Druce, Was (hooking),10:59.
Shots on goal--Toronto 11-9-9--29. Washington 14-9-9--32. Power-play opportunities--Toronto 0 of 5; Washington 1 of 5. Goalies--Toronto, Fuhr, 8-15-3 (32 shots-28 saves). Washington, Beaupre, 12-5-0 (29-26). A--14,133. Referee--Ron Hoggarth. Linesmen--Pat Dapuzzo, Dan McCourt.