Capitals pour on the Blues, 10-6 Khristich scores 3

Bondra adds 2

February 12, 1993|By Mark McColl | Mark McColl,Contributing Writer

ST. LOUIS -- The NHL All-Star break appears to have come at the perfect time for the Washington Capitals.

Washington entered last weekend's break with a five-game winless streak. But since resuming play Tuesday, the Capitals have seemed like a new team.

The Capitals made it 2-for-2 after the break with a convincing 10-6 win over the St. Louis Blues last night. Dimitri Khristich led the Capitals with a hat trick.

"We changed a tactic before the [All-Star] break, and it seems to be working much better now," Khristich said. "We're trying to be more patient on defense, and try not to rush anything. It seems to be working."

The victory improved Washington's record to 27-22-6 and gave the Capitals a little more of a cushion on second place in the Patrick Division. Washington has 60 points, five more than the New York Rangers.

"There's an urgency to win games in the Patrick Division," Capitals coach Terry Murray said. "There's really no reason not to play with a lot of intensity. At the end of the year, there's going to be two teams from the Patrick Division sitting at home, looking at the teams that are in the playoffs, and saying 'We're better than they are.' We don't want to be one of those teams."

Kevin Hatcher, who was named the team's permanent captain Monday in place of Rod Langway, helped lead the effort with a goal and three assists. Peter Bondra scored twice and had two assists, and Kelly Miller, Todd Krygier, Mike Ridley and Al Iafrate also scored for Washington, which set its season-high mark for goals in a game.

Brendan Shanahan led St. Louis with two goals and two assists.

"You're never at a point in the game when you feel you have a safe lead," Murray said. "When they make it 5-3, a lot of questions enter your mind. The biggest thing I was hoping was that we would quit taking penalties."

"One big thing we have going for us is balance," Murray said. "We have three lines that can score, and anyone can step up for us."

Washington led 4-0 after one period, then extended it to 5-0. St. Louis cut the lead to 5-3, but late second-period goals by Hatcher and Iafrate and the Blues' Craig Janney made the score 7-4 at the end of two periods.

Bondra and Khristich each scored early in the third period off Guy Hebert, who replaced goalie Curtis Joseph at the beginning of the period, for a 9-4 lead. But the Blues' Hull and former Capital Kevin Miller scored to cut the lead to 9-6. Khristich scored the last goal at 17:33.

"We knew that we were going to get some chances, because they had to open up to get some of those goals back," Ridley said. "You have to take the chance when you get in that position. And fortunately for us, we have defensemen who are fast enough to jump up and get in the play. That helps a lot."

Khristich scored the Caps' first goal 40 seconds into the game and has 26 points in his past 18 games.

"We need those points," Khristich said. "We're in a tough division, and we're going to need all our points."

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