Third-period goals boost Caps Late burst beats Whalers, extends home streak, 4-3

December 19, 1992|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- For 55 minutes last night, the Washington Capitals played offense as if it were the last thing on their minds.

While the Washington defense was killing 10 Hartford Whalers power plays, the Caps' power-play unit was punchless through the final two periods, including a 42-second span of 5-on-3 in the third.

And yet the Capitals won the game, thanks to a two-goal flurry by Keith Jones and Peter Bondra within a 48-second span, and the Caps emerged with a 4-3 victory.

"It was an ugly win, but we needed it," said Jones, a 24-year-old rookie from Western Michigan, who started the third-period scoring with just 6:04 left. "Two games in a row we've played bad now."

Jones scored when he was able to beat Hartford defender Doug Houda and take a pass from Dale Hunter and put the shot away. Hunter assisted on three of Washington's four goals.

Bondra scored seconds later when he skated from behind the net and scored on a wrap-around with 5:16 to go.

Those two goals enabled the Caps to withstand a late flurry by the Whalers. Murray Craven scored with 2:14 to go to make the final 4-3.

It was the Caps' fifth consecutive home win, the first streak of that length since last February. It also allowed Washington to regain second place in the Patrick Division.

Washington plays in Boston tonight.

If it was an ugly win, as Jones said, coach Terry Murray said he was unable to assess just how ugly, given there were 22 penalties that kept either team from getting into any kind of rhythm.

The Caps flirted with a season-low shot total (20), until the final few minutes when they were able to bombard Hartford goalie Sean Burke and finish with 24.

"I'm satisfied with the victory," Murray said. "The penalty killing was great, we got the two points for the victory and Donnie Beaupre played great."

In fact, Beaupre should have been an easy winner in this game. He made several point-blank saves on shots by Pat Verbeek and Murray Craven, Hartford's top two scorers. And he moved his body like a contortionist to stop 24 other shots.

"There were a few mistakes in our end," said Beaupre. "In the third period, with the score 2-1, we can't be turning the puck over. But we got the lead early and that did make it tougher for Hartford to play."

With the Caps ahead 2-1, Hartford's Andrew Cassels stole the puck from Dimitri Khristich and passed to Geoff Sanderson, who skated in unimpeded and shot the puck past Beaupre for a 2-2 tie with 1:26 gone in the third.

Caps defensemen Kevin Hatcher and Al Iafrate both scored on (( power plays in the first period. Hatcher's goal came with just 1:44 gone in the game, assuring Washington would not be outgunned 5-0, as it was Wednesday in Hartford, before scoring.

Iafrate made it 2-0 with 19:12 gone in the period, when he unloaded a hard slap shot from the top of the slot. It was Washington's fourth shot in the period.

Patrick Poulin scored Hartford's first goal with 9:03 gone in the second period, then Sanderson tied it in the third.

NOTES: Caps defenseman Rod Langway continues his conditioning program at Piney Orchard and expects to return to the team on a part-time basis within the next two weeks. When Langway does come back, it probably will mean more bench time for Shawn Anderson. . . . The game with the New York Islanders scheduled for 1:35 p.m. March 7 will be played at 5:30 p.m.. The reason is that the Georgetown basketball team was forced to reschedule one of its games because of Presidential Inaugural events at the Capital Centre. The Hoyas' game will start at noon.

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