Penguins are 2-2 tough, but Caps set home mark

February 01, 1993|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- Usually when the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins get together, it's a shootout to the finish. But yesterday, both teams muscled down to play some concentrated defense. The result was a 2-2 tie that allowed the Capitals to set their all-time home unbeaten record at 13 games.

The last time the Capitals lost at home was before Thanksgiving, Nov. 20, 1992.

They are 9-0-4 in their past 13 games here, which ties the Chicago Blackhawks for the second-longest home unbeaten streak in the NHL this season. The Vancouver Canucks went 18 games earlier.

"It's a nice confidence builder," said Capitals coach TerrMurray, whose team is now 25-21-6 and in second place in the Patrick Division. "But it really doesn't mean that much. The most important thing would have been to get two points in this game instead of one.

"We lost several two-goal games here early in the season and think that provided a wake-up call. But this is what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to play well and win your home games."

Players on both sides found this game satisfying, though. Washington because it showed it could control the puck, play solidly away from it when necessary, and overall play better against the Penguins than it had in the 6-3 thrashing it took in Pittsburgh last week.

And the Penguins (34-14-5) because they were aware of hotough Washington has been at home.

"This is a great tie," said Pittsburgh's defenseman Larry Murphy"To come into this building, we didn't expect an easy win with the way the Capitals are playing here. You've got to feel good coming out with a point."

"We got a point out of it, that's the main thing," said Capitals defenseman Kevin Hatcher, who was ejected in the first period for high sticking and drawing blood. "We've got a lot of home games coming up, and if we can get our road record up to .500, we'll be in good shape."

But Murray, despite the home success, continues to be troubleby the Capitals' lack of even-strength scoring and that they have not beaten a team with a winning record since Jan. 1.

With 8:57 gone in the first period, and Hatcher having been givea five-minute high-sticking penalty and a game misconduct, Pittsburgh took advantage of the power play, Ron Francis scoring on a wrap-around.

The Capitals, 0-for-4 on the power play yesterday, finally werable to tie things up with 1:17 left in the second period, Kelly Miller beating Penguins goalie Ken Wregget.

Wregget, who made 27 saves, kept the Penguins in this gameas Washington controlled the puck most of the day.

Washington took its one lead with 4:01 gone in the third periodAl Iafrate scoring on a rebound.

The lead lasted a little more than three minutes, Pittsburgh's Joe Mullen deflecting a shot past Don Beaupre with 7:15 to play.

After that, Pittsburgh picked up the pace a bit more, pressurinBeaupre, who made 21 saves, including five key stops in the last 1:44 of regulation.

"Both sides played hard," said Beaupre. "But it wadisappointing in that this is another divisional game and we only got one point."

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