Capitals get past Stars, 3-2

February 10, 1993|By Rachel Blount | Rachel Blount,Contributing Writer

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- It appeared Dale Hunter simply was trying to pass to teammate Pat Elynuik.

With the Washington Capitals and Minnesota tied 2-2 early in the third period, Hunter got the puck behind the North Stars' goal line and spotted Elynuik moving to the net. Hunter threw the puck toward the goal -- and it hit the stick of Stars goalie Jon Casey, bouncing into the net to give the Capitals a 3-2 win last night at the Met Center.

The North Stars allowed the Capitals to score first, then tied the game at 1. They went ahead 2-1 before Hunter scored the tying goal at 5:21 of the second period, then the winning goal at 6:32 of the third.

"We got a big play from Hunter there in the third period," Capitals coach Terry Murray said. "It was a nice job by him to spot Elynuik coming through the slot. He just threw it out there. When you get those types of goals, it's a sign you're going to win."

The North Stars ended a two-game winning streak and lost for only the second time in their past 11 games. The Capitals ended a five-game winless streak.

The Capitals' penalty killers, ranked fourth in the NHL, neutralized the North Stars in the final two periods. After giving the Stars a two-man advantage that led to their first goal, the Capitals killed four consecutive penalties in the final 40 minutes, repeatedly knocking the puck away and preventing them from getting many good shots.

North Stars center Mike Modano said: "They played a good team game. They shut down our offense, and their defense is so well-rounded, you see them leading the rush.

"Their penalty killers put pressure on us, and [Don] Beaupre made some good saves. When you get good goaltending on the road, you're going to get some wins."

Neither the North Stars nor the Capitals could sustain any offense in the early going, combining for 11 shots on goal in the first period. The defenses didn't look much sharper.

At 4:36, the Capitals' Peter Bondra got the puck behind the Stars' net and popped out at the right goal post, pushing a shot toward Casey.

The shot was knocked away, but Dimitri Khristich -- who was skating across the goal mouth with no defenders nearby -- picked up the rebound and flicked it past Casey for a 1-0 Capitals lead.

A little more than a minute later, the Capitals made a mistake that led to the tying goal. With Hunter in the penalty box for holding, Mike Ridley hooked Modano at the Capitals' blue line, drawing a penalty that gave the Stars a two-man advantage for 1:30.

The North Stars worked the puck around the Capitals' zone and got it to Modano in the right circle, and Mark Tinordi tipped Modano's slap shot under Beaupre's right arm to tie the score at 7:21.

Neither team scored again in the period.

They did begin to shove and grapple and growl at one another, and the tensions boiled over early in the second period -- just after the North Stars took the lead.

They controlled the play at the opening faceoff and moved into the Capitals' zone, and when Tinordi took an off-target shot from the left point, Modano lunged to knock it out of the air.

The puck fell to Ulf Dahlen, who swept it under Beaupre to give the Stars a 2-1 lead at 1:00. Two seconds later, Shane Churla and Alan May fought briefly at center ice.

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