Capitals drop 4-1 game to Sabres Mogilny's hat trick powers Buffalo

December 24, 1992|By Dick Usiak | Dick Usiak,Contributing Writer

The Washington Capitals found out last night why Alexander Mogilny is sometimes called "the red-hot Russian."

Mogilny, a junior hockey star in the former Soviet Union who defected in 1989, scored a hat trick in the second period as the Capitals dropped a 4-1 decision to the Buffalo Sabres.

The Capitals looked listless at times in this one, especially when they let Mogilny take over in the second period. One of his goals deflected off a Washington player's stick and another came off a skate to an unchecked Mogilny.

"He [Mogilny] has got a lot of speed and he created a lot of th opportunities just because of his talent," Capitals coach Terry Murray said. "He got a break on the first goal . . . that's a bad bounce. There's not a lot you can do against a player who has a lot of speed and generates the opportunity on the great shot that he has."

Even the Capitals' power play, third best in the NHL, waanemic, coming up empty in five one-man-advantage situations.

The Capitals did manage to put 34 shots on the Buffalo goal -- including 17 in the second period. They had a few solid chances in the final period, but goalie Dominik Hasek came up big on solid scoring efforts by Dale Hunter and Michale Pivonka midway through the period.

Murray said, "Mogilny scores three goals and Hasek is the star of the game. That's the way the game went. We forechecked well, created a lot of chances and got a lot of shots. We didn't hit the net on every shot, but we had a lot of opportunities."

Donald Audette scored Buffalo's other goal, banging in a rebound of a Pat LaFontaine shot with just over five minutes left.

The Sabres put the Capitals into a 1-0 hole just 1:13 into th second period when the puck bounced off the skate of Dimitri Khristich and it was picked up by Mogilny, who scored his 26th goal of the season when he fired a 15-footer past the left side of Don Beaupre.

They were looking at a 2-0 deficit at the 6:27 mark when Mogilny

struck again, blasting a 40-foot slap shot that went off the stick of Kelly Miller and past a handcuffed Beaupre.

Beaupre didn't have a chance on Mogilny's third goal as he cruised into the Capitals' zone and rifled a 30-foot sizzler on the goalie's glove side and into the upper left-hand corner of the net at 14:35 of the period.

Washington got one back when Al Iafrate scored his 13th goal of the season, taking a pass from Peter Bondra and shooting a 20-footer from the left of Hasek that went between his legs at 15:25 of the second period. Sylvain Cote picked up an assist on the goal.

"We had a slow start," Iafrate said. "We went down and jus couldn't make it back. It's hard coming from behind on the road. We really didn't have too many chances. In spurts we did.

"We didn't have any constant pressure. We'd have a shot and they were clearing it out pretty good. So he [Hasek] was making the save he had to make and we weren't getting any rebounds.

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