Capitals hang on to beat Jets, 8-6 Big 3rd period salvages sixth straight victory

December 12, 1992|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals' personality profile probably includes a reference to Jekyll and Hyde that Washington Capitals coach Terry Murray could do without.

Thirty games into the NHL season, it hardly would seem necessary to remind the Capitals of their tendency toward individual play when a lead is in hand.

Still, last night's performance left Murray and the 14,522 fans at the Capital Centre with images of goal-scorers dancing in their heads.

The line of Peter Bondra, Dimitri Khristich and Michal Pivonka played with the panache of last year for the first time this season.

Together the three forwards produced four goals and nine assists, while helping the Caps to put away the struggling Winnipeg Jets, 8-6, and extend their winning streak to six games.

Al Iafrate, Pat Elynuik, Keith Jones and Kelly Miller also scored for the Caps.

Washington will try to keep the streak alive tonight in Philadelphia.

"Our forwards are going along really well now," said Caps defender Sylvain Cote, who assisted on one of two goals scored by Pivonka. "We need to work on keeping our goals-against average down, but hey, we won. We had three goals on our first three shots."

In fact, before the game was 11 minutes old, the Caps were leading 4-1. But then, Mr. Hyde arrived. Or was it Winnipeg rookie Teemu Selanne?

Selanne, who spent the summer working out with renowned scorer Jari Kurri, netted a hat trick and Phil Housley scored on a power play to rally the Jets to 5-4 by the end of the second period.

"If this had happened three weeks ago, we probably would have lost," Pivonka said of Winnipeg's rally. "We do have a tendency to sit back on a lead and let down a little bit sometimes. But there was really no doubt tonight. We played the third period like we played the first."

Murray, though saying he is always worried when a lead begins to disappear, could find little fault with his team.

"I'm pleased with the win and especially the first period," Murray said. "Overall that might be as good a first period, all around, as we've played all year. And we came back strong in the third. We've been doing that pretty consistently the last 10 games."

Murray admitted the Caps allowed Winnipeg two goals "that Jim Hrivnak would have stopped on most nights," but said the team played so well in front of the goalie that after briefly considering a change for the third period, he decided against it.

"I want to show confidence in him, too," Murray said. "He's played really well for us and he deserved to stand in there."

The Caps emerged for the third period exhibiting the form that had worked so well early. And that meant Bondra, Pivonka and Khristich played superbly, with Pivonka scoring and assisting Keith Jones, as the line produced 14 points.

Bondra tied his career record for points in a game and set a career record with five assists.

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