Capitals hold off Senators rally, 6-5 Washington rises to 2nd in Patrick

December 08, 1992|By Ken Warren | Ken Warren,Contributing Writer

OTTAWA -- Two, perhaps even three, games were played here last night.

Twice, the Washington Capitals appeared well on their way to a rout of the expansion Ottawa Senators, only to escape with a 6-5 decision.

With the win, the Capitals were able to leapfrog past the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers to second place behind the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Patrick Division.

The Senators were a most perplexing opponent, playing their best hockey when faced with four-goal deficits.

The Capitals' Kelly Miller seemed to have iced the game when he beat Senators replacement goalie Steve Weeks 5:27 into the third period for a 6-2 lead.

But the Senators, bolstered by the boisterous sellout crowd of 10,500 at the Ottawa Civic Centre, took advantage of defensive blunders by the Capitals inside their blue line to draw close.

Senators Sylvain Turgeon -- with his second of the night -- Andrew McBain and Tomas Jelinek narrowed the gap to one with 6:14 remaining.

And the Senators carried the play to the Capitals in the final minutes.

"Obviously, we tried to be too fancy," said Capitals defenseman Al Iafrate, who picked up two assists. "We made all the right decisions to get the big leads, but then we tried to do too much."

Capitals coach Terry Murray echoed Iafrate's comments.

"Sometimes when you get ahead by that much, you lose your concentration and your focus and we had some breakdowns," he said.

"You can't afford that when you're playing a team that you know works hard."

Murray was pleased with the Capitals' early jump -- for good reason.

The Capitals took control from the opening faceoff, coming at the Senators in waves.

By the six-minute mark of the first period, the Capitals led 2-0. It was 4-0 before the game was 16 minutes old.

Mike Ridley, Sylvain Cote (short-handed), Peter Bondra and Dale Hunter scored for the Capitals.

But as they did in the third period, the Senators rallied -- with goals from Jeff Lazaro and Turgeon 30 seconds apart to close the period trailing 4-2.

That late rally pumped up the Senators to start the second period, denied a third goal only because of the splendid play of Capitals goaltender Don Beaupre.

But Kevin Hatcher's power-play goal at 6:32 past Weeks -- who replaced Senators starter Peter Sidorkiewicz to start the second -- took much of the steam out of the Senators.

The Senators, however, saved their best for last.

"The fact we scored five goals is very, very encouraging. After the first period, we played them even up," said Senators coach Rick Bowness.

The Senators had not scored five goals since their opening victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

The Senators' loss moves them into a tie with the 1974-75 Caps, the team that established the NHL's futility mark. The first Capitals team and the Senators had eight points after 29 games.

Washington 4 1 1 -- 6

Ottawa 2 0 3 -- 5

First period--1, Washington, Ridley 12 (Iafrate, Miller), 2:27. 2, Washington, Cote 10 (Ridley, Miller), 5:30 (sh). 3, Washington, Bondra 15 (Iafrate, Elynuik), 10:28. 4, Washington, Hunter 7 (Jones, Elynuik), 15:33. 5, Ottawa, Lazaro 3 (Freer), 16:58. 6, Ottawa, Turgeon 9, 17:28. Penalties--Cavallini, Was (interference), 4:03; Loewen, Ott (high-sticking), 8:17.

Second period--7, Washington, Hatcher 8 (Johansson, Hunter), 6:32 (pp). Penalties--Beaupre, Was, served by May (delay of game), 3:15; Lazaro, Ott (tripping), 5:39; Anderson, Was (roughing), 8:41; Jelinek, Ott (roughing), 8:41; Luongo, Ott (high-sticking), 9:46; Cavallini, Was (interference), 13:24.

Third period--8, Washington, Miller 7 (Ridley, Carpenter), 5:27. 9, Ottawa, Turgeon 10 (Jelinek, Kyte), 6:27. 10, Ottawa, McBain 3 (Boschman), 7:24. 11, Ottawa, Jelinek 5 (Turgeon), 13:46. Penalty--Loewen, Ott (boarding), :41.

Shots on goal--Washington 15-8-8--31. Ottawa 12-10-9--31. Power-play opportunities--Washington 1 of 4; Ottawa 0 of 3. Goalies--Washington, Beaupre, 4-10-1 (31 shots-26 saves). Ottawa, Sidorkiewicz (15-11), Weeks, 0-3-0 (0:00 second, 16-14). Referee--Andy vanHellemond. Linesmen--Pierre Champoux, Jean Morin.

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