PHILADELPHIA -- With their 28-15-4 record, the Washington Capitals have had a solid impact on the NHL all season. And with Don Beaupre in goal for the Wales Conference squad during the second period of the All-Star Game, the pattern continued yesterday.
Taking over for starter Patrick Roy and with his team trailing by 2-1, the only thing Beaupre lacked aside from help over the next 20 minutes was a blindfold and a last request.
In 12 minutes, the Campbell Conference sent eight shots the Capitals goalie's way, and five of them found net.
On only about half the six goals Beaupre allowed during the Campbell's 10-6 triumph could he be faulted. Still, it's the guy in net who always catches the flak and catcalls during these exercises.
"I knew eventually they'd hit me with one [shot]," said the goalie, "but you know going out there it can happen to you. It's OK. At least it doesn't hurt the Caps."
Wayne Gretzky commiserated with all goalies, pointing out, "All the guys were on the bench just very happy they weren't in goal. What a tough place to be."
The Campbell carried a 2-1 edge into the middle period, Trevor Linden and Gretzky scoring goals around Kevin Stevens' tally for the Wales.
Forty-two seconds had elapsed when Gretzky bore in with Brett Hull on his right, and Beaupre had to know it was going to be a lifetime before he got to the dressing room. After Hull's goal and a bit later, after Scott Stevens had scored for the Wales, Brian Bellows was sent in on a nice headman pass from Sergei Fedorov and, again, Beaupre had no chance.
Less than a minute later, Jeremy Roenick scored, then Theron Fleury, then Hull again, from Gretzky.
After Beaupre was treated to a South Philly serenade, the hockey equivalent of a Bronx cheer, for turning back a shot, the victors got a second goal from Fleury before Owen Nolan broke (( the string of six straight goals with a slap shot from 30 feet.
Worthy of note during the middle session was the first collision of bodies at 17 minutes, 24 seconds, followed closely by an almost check. It did not get sufficiently roughhouse for any penalties to be called, however, the first time it has happened since the game was started in 1947.
"It's no party coming in cold," Beaupre continued, adding "facing all those odd-man rushes [two-on-ones and three-on-twos] requires you make a bunch of great saves. Hey, if I made all those saves, I might have been named MVP."
As it was, the honor went to Hull with his two goals. Gretzky's three points (a goal and two assists) raised his All-Star total to 17, pulling him to within two of Gordie Howe's mark registered over 23 games.
It was the Campbell's fifth victory in 16 scrimmages since the names of the squads were changed in 1975. As though anyone's keeping track.
The Caps' other representatives, Kevin Hatcher and Randy Burridge, provided a third of the losers' offense, both scoring goals.
The teams peppered 83 shots yesterday, one more than in Chicago last year.