Caps streak ends with a thud, 6-3 Whalers' 5-0 start forces out Beaupre

December 17, 1992|By Paul Doyle | Paul Doyle,Contributing Writer

HARTFORD, Conn. -- It lasted three weeks and included victories over the Penguins, Bruins, Rangers, Red Wings and Devils. Seven victories in a row and nine wins in 10 games, making the Washington Capitals the hottest team in the NHL.

But after beating some of the league's best for the past month, the Caps lost to one of the worst last night. The Hartford Whalers reeled off three goals late in the first period and Washington never recovered, losing, 6-3, before 8,207 at the Hartford Civic Center.

The Capitals (17-14-2) are 10-2-1 in their past 13 games. The loss was just their second since breaking a four-game losing streak with a 6-4 victory over Quebec on Nov. 22.

Hartford (9-19-2) has the third fewest points in the league behind Ottawa and San Jose.

"[Hartford] is a team desperate for a win and they played very desperate hockey," Caps coach Terry Murray said. "A lot of intensity, a lot of hard work, and they moved the puck well. Give them credit."

Washington fell behind 5-0 in the second period, with starting goalie Don Beaupre being pulled at 9:38. Jim Hrivnak replaced Beaupre and held Hartford scoreless on nine shots.

Hartford had 15 shots in the first period and just two in the second -- but both were goals. After the Capitals controlled early but were unable to score on two power plays, the Whalers' Patrick Poulin beat Beaupre on a wrist shot from the left circle at 8:27.

Less than a minute later, defenseman Doug Houda scored on a slap shot from the blue line. Beaupre was out and the Caps didn't allow another shot in the period.

But they also didn't score, despite two more power-play opportunities.

"The second period was an opportunity to get back and we didn't," Murray said.

The Capitals held a 29-26 shot advantage, but didn't score until late.

Dimitri Khristich scored his sixth on a power-play goal at 4:55 of the third period. At 12:55, Kelly Miller scored his ninth, off an assist from Sylvain Cote.

Then with 1:59 remaining, Shawn Anderson beat Sean Burke off a centering pass from Miller. Hartford's Terry Yake scored an empty-net goal with 1:13 left.

"We came on in the third and played better, but it was too little," Murray said.

It was Hartford's late first-period surge that put Washington back on its heels.

With 6:16 left in the period, Anderson was called for holding and Hartford took advantage as Geoff Sanderson scored 13 seconds later.

Keith Jones was sent off for hooking with 4:45 left and the Whalers swarmed Beaupre, yet Washington managed to kill the penalty.

Barely. As time expired, Yake blasted a slap shot at Beaupre, then tipped in the puck.

Off the ensuing faceoff, Hartford's Chris Govedaris controlled the puck inside the left circle and beat Beaupre with a slap shot.

"We were not ready to start the way we wanted to and Hartford came out and played extremely well," Murray said.

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