Hrivnak answers call in goal for Capitals Last-minute starter ties up Hawks, 2-2

January 03, 1993|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals found out what it is like to go up against the No. 1 defense and the No. 1 goalie in the NHL yesterday.

But then, the Chicago Blackhawks and goalie Ed Belfour found out what it is like to go up against Capitals goalie Jim Hrivnak, a last-minute starter.

Washington and Chicago tied, 2-2 in overtime, as the Capitals extended their home unbeaten streak to eight.

"There was two minutes left in warm-ups when Donnie [Beaupre] stretched his groin and I found out I was going to start," said Hrivnak.

"Not having any warm-ups, not getting to face any shots really, it's the last thing you want to see happen. I was a little stiff in the first period, but everything worked out all right."

Not even a Chicago power-play opportunity with 3:09 to play in overtime bothered Hrivnak.

"It's just like any other sport," said Hrivnak, who made five saves in the overtime period. "You've got to be ready to play. The power play didn't make that much difference to me, because our guys were doing a great job penalty-killing."

The bad news for Washington and the 15,028 at the Capital Centre yesterday was that Beaupre could be out for more than a week with the groin injury.

Beaupre, who had been on a roll, going 4-1-1 in his past six games, said the injury occurred when he played a rebound near the end of warm-ups.

The Capitals have called up Olaf Kolzig from the AHL Rochester Americans for practice this week. Coach Terry Murray said he would know more about the seriousness of Beaupre's injury tomorrow. Beaupre said, however, that while "it's not real bad, I don't think I'll be able to skate for at least a week."

Washington's next game is in Philadelphia on Thursday night. The Flyers tied the Caps here, 5-5, nine days ago.

It was that night, when Hrivnak last started for the Capitals, that he gave up four goals in 29 minutes and was pulled in favor of Beaupre.

But if Hrivnak continues to play the way he did yesterday, Murray won't have any complaints.

"I like to give the goalies a couple days notice when they're going to play," said Murray.

"But I don't know, maybe telling Jimmy just before the game helped his mental approach. He looked very comfortable out there from the beginning."

Yesterday, Hrivnak only allowed goals to Michel Goulet and in the first period and Dirk Graham in the second.

On the first, Goulet beat Capitals defender Kevin Hatcher to sweep in for the goal after Brent Sutter stole the puck from Bob Carpenter.

On the second, Hrivnak had to sprawl on the ice to make a save on Christian Ruuttu's shot, opening the net to Graham for the follow up on his left.

But he stopped 29 other Blackhawks shots and many of them were quality chances.

"I think we've got to be happy with the tie," said Chicago defenseman Chris Chelios, who had an opportunity to win the game with three seconds left in regulation on a point-blank shot in front of the Caps' net.

"We would have liked to have won, but I don't think anyone in here will complain about this," Hrivnak said of the tie that brings second-place Washington's record to 21-16-4. "I think given the turnaround from [Friday's] game, we played pretty well. You can't dominate the third period all the time."

By the time Washington got to the third period last night, fatigue had obviously set in.

The Caps, who had controlled third-period play over the past three games, showed the wear of games less than 24 hours apart and managed just four shots in the final 20 minutes of regulation.

"I think this was the most physical game we've played this season," said Caps defenseman Sylvain Cote. "The way they like to force the play and the transition game, it's very tiring. But it's not like they were all over us. I think both teams had some good chances."

Washington got on the board first when Hrivnak saved a shot and started a breakout. He made the outlet pass to Dimitri Khristich and then watched as Khristich passed to a sprinting Kelly Miller, whose shot hit the far post and bounced in with 2:06 gone in the first period.

On the Caps' second goal, Khristich positioned himself at the far post and converted on the power play when Michal Pivonka sent him the puck with 4:37 left in the second.

Chicago 1 1 0 0 -- 2

Washington 1 1 0 0 -- 2

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