Caps take scoring drought on road Murray changes pair of lines

October 26, 1992|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

The Washington Capitals are having trouble scoring goals, with 26 in their first eight games.

They're taking the problem on the road tonight, in a game in Winnipeg against the Jets.

Capitals coach Terry Murray said this drought will end, and he's shaking up his lines to try to speed up the process.

"I do think we're going to snap out of this," said Murray, whose club is 3-5. "But it's not going to be like a light switch being flipped. We're going to have to get our emotional level higher, and we have to come at it with an even higher level of intensity than it's at right now."

Murray has decided to shift a couple of lines. Paul McDermid will move up to play with center Bob Carpenter and Kevin Miller, and Peter Bondra, the Capitals' leading goal scorer, will play with Mike Ridley and Kelly Miller.

"This road trip is very important. I need to get two lines going at least," said Murray. "I'm not saying I'm going to keep them this way, but it's game evaluation time and I think everyone is concerned. We're going to see how it goes game to game."

Tonight's 8:35 game begins an eight-day trip that includes stops in Vancouver (Wednesday), Calgary (Friday) and Edmonton (Saturday).

Getting some goal production from Carpenter and Kevin Miller, who have yet to score a goal, is a priority this week.

"Emotion is a real important thing for this team to have in order to do its job," Murray said.

"But we're close to the time when we need to begin demanding more from everybody. We've been patient with Kevin, but it has been a month and a half now that we've had everyone together, and it's time for him to start producing.

"When the expectations are high, you've got to do different things to force it out of a player, and if it's not there, then we have to look to do something else -- whatever that something else is," Murray said.

The coach also said that Carpenter, who has three assists, has to score. Murray has been happy with Carpenter's play away from the puck, but on a team that has scored eight goals in five Patrick Division games, such play isn't enough.

"Bob has a lot of talent and skill, and he was brought here with the intention that he would do things in all areas of the game," Murray said. "We need more from him. Certainly, the offensive part of the game is being a real priority. This road trip, he has to step it up quite a bit. He has to give me some offensive production. He has to give me some results that I can look at in pTC my stat column, where I can say, 'Yeah, he's doing the job we want him to do.'

"Again, you can wait and be patient, and say everything has to fit in and be adapted, but the time has gone in his favor and he should be adapted and know everyone's style now. He has enough talent he can bring some other people to a higher level, and that needs to happen real soon."

After practice yesterday, Carpenter said he was getting ready to catch the team's flight and did not have time to answer any questions.

Murray said he hopes this trip will give the Caps time to concentrate on basics like skating and shooting.

"Last year, we had goal production coming from every line, and we need to get back to that," Murray said. "Getting away for four games, maybe people can relax."

* Murray said he wants his team to stay away from third-period defensive breakdowns. "Maybe we're suffering from the idea that the third period kind of belonged to us in every game last year to the point where we'd come on and score a couple goals whenever we needed to," he said. "Now we're trying to do the same thing and it's backfiring on us."

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