Caps turn up power for 6-2 win Down Devils for 5th straight

December 10, 1992|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.-- The Washington Capitals ha been here three previous times this season, but it was never like this. Always before, they had lost.

But last night, carrying a four-game winning streak into Meadowlands Arena, the Caps took an early lead and never looked back, winning with surprising ease, 6-2.

"This was a huge game for us," coach Terry Murray said. "We'd lost three to them, and the main thing was we didn't want to lose the season series to New Jersey here tonight. We played well against a Patrick Division foe, and we continue to carry the momentum."

It is early in the season to be talking about losing season series, but Murray said it is an indication of how the Caps stumbled early on.

During the past 10 games, the Caps have looked like full-fledged racehorses, compiling an 8-1-1 record. Now the winning streak is at five and The Caps remain in second place in the Patrick Division.

This victory, however, may be one of the sweeter for Murray and his Capitals. Two days ago, Washington had a 5-2 lead on the Ottawa Senators and had to hang on for dear life to escape, 6-5.

Last night, when the Caps went up 5-2 on a power-play goal by Sylvain Cote with 20 seconds gone in the third period, there was no let up.

"Everyone is coming out of their cocoons and exploiting their talents a little more," said Cote, who extended his point-scoring streak to five games and matched his career high for goals (11) set last season. "It's amazing what winning can do to you. It can change your whole attitude on the team and your personality, and it's a lot of fun."

Caps defenseman Al Iafrate continued to have fun last night. Only 1:27 later, Iafrate took a shot from near the blue line that hit Peter Bondra and went into the net for a 6-2 lead. It was the Caps fourth power-play goal of the game.

"I've seen our power play teams play better," said Murray, whose team was four of eight last night. "It happens, when you shoot at the net. A break here and there. The last one hit Bondra's pants and went in. Sometimes you get those breaks."

For Iafrate, who had seven goals, 10 assists in his past seven games, it was his third assist of the game. And it also extended Bondra's point streak to six games and his team-leading goal count to 16.

All of it was enough to have the crowd of 9,072 chanting "Brooks must go." Not a happy night for Devils coach Herb Brooks, whose team slipped into fourth place in the Patrick Division. The Devils are 14-12-1, but have lost six of their past eight games at home.

Brooks spent two minutes in interviews blaming the organist for not getting the fans into the game to create a winning atmosphere.

"Whoever's handling that stuff fell asleep," Brooks said.

"This is the worst building in the NHL. Am I right? Did you hear it? Am I right?"

Brooks was right about the quiet. At one point, the sound of sticks hitting on the ice was so loud it sounded like a strip of fire crackers going off.

Washington captain Kevin Hatcher got the Caps started early, scoring the team's first goal on a power play 2:03 into the game and then assisting on another power-play goal by Dimitri Khristich, to give the Caps a 2-1 lead in the first period.

Mike Ridley scored at 2:33 of the second period, and Paul Cavallini demonstrated a hip-wiggling routine in celebration of his goal 17 seconds later that put the Caps ahead 4-1 in the second.

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