Capitals taking loss with smile End of win streak no reason to panic

December 18, 1992|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

Winning streaks come, winning streaks go. That seemed to be the attitude of the Washington Capitals yesterday before they went through a short workout in preparation for tonight's rematch with the Hartford Whalers at the Capital Centre.

Only two days ago, the Whalers, the third-worst team in the NHL, absolutely destroyed the Caps, 6-3, to end Washington's

seven-game winning streak.

And that streak wasn't the only one that was stopped. Al Iafrate's career-high point scoring streak ended at nine games, Mike Ridley's point streak ended at six straight and goalie Don Beaupre's streak of four straight victories also ended, as Hartford took a 5-0 lead in the first period and a half, and coach hTC Terry Murray pulled him in an attempt to change the momentum.

"Hartford started out playing good and we were just too sure of ourselves," said Dimitri Khristich, who had one of the Capitals' three third period goals. "Going in there, everyone made us sound like we were unbeatable -- and we acted like we believed it."

The Caps, however, were still smiling yesterday. Even Murray said the important thing about the loss in Hartford is how the team comes back from it tonight.

"We've been playing a lot of games since Quebec [Nov. 22]," said Murray, whose team has played 13 games over the past 22 days. "Basically, we've been asking players to come to a peak every second day.There are just some days you can't get there."

A drop-off was inevitable. But Murray was a little surprised by exactly how much of a drop his team took in the first period Wednesday when it seemed unable to do anything right. Beaupre was left exposed on several Hartford breakaways, when bad passes allowed the Whalers to jump out on two-on-one and three-on-two counterattacks.

Despite the bad situations, Beaupre played well, making 12 saves on 17 shots, before Murray tried to change his team's luck by sending in Jim Hrivnak. Beaupre reacted with anger -- slinging his blocker, glove and helmet on the bench before settling down. But his reaction was more to the game situation than it was to being taken out.

"Donnie played a terrific first period, but I had to do something to try to send a message to our other guys," Murray said. "Hartford was in a situation that was urgent. They had to come out and get something going. . . . They gambled and it paid off. We gave them four power play opportunities and that also put us in a hole."

Murray said he was undecided about who will start in goal tonight.

Hartford may be in an urgent situation, but Caps center Dale Hunter wasn't allowing anyone off the hook yesterday.

"We played -- awful," he said. "It's hard to explain how we all could play so bad."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.