For Caps, good things come in 10s

February 15, 1993|By Jeff Fletcher | Jeff Fletcher,Contributing Writer

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- What's really scary about this road trip is the Washington Capitals haven't even played the San Jose Sharks yet.

Halfway through a California swing that is becoming increasingly pleasant for NHL teams, the Capitals are lighting more lamps than General Electric.

Washington is coming off its first back-to-back, 10-goal performances in franchise history.

A 10-3 rout of the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night came on the heels of a 10-6 win in St. Louis on Thursday night.

Next? The Sharks tomorrow.

"We'll worry about San Jose on Tuesday," Capitals coach Terry Murray said Saturday night.


Consider this: The Capitals' goal total in the second period on Saturday (seven) equals the Sharks' season victory total.

A win tomorrow night would give the Capitals, who won in Minnesota last Tuesday, a 4-0 trip after the All-Star Game.

"We've got it going right now," said Capitals center Dale Hunter, who assisted on four of the goals Saturday. "I hope we can keep it up."

As for an explanation of the two-game outburst, most in the Capitals dressing room just shrugged their shoulders.

"It was just one of those games," said defenseman Al Iafrate, who scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season Saturday. "There are some games where you have way better scoring chances and you don't score. If it were this easy, everyone would be in first place."

Or maybe if everyone played the Kings more often.

Los Angeles is 4-17-4 in its past 25 games. During that stretch, the defense -- specifically the goaltending -- has been shaky. The Kings, who will complete their two-game season series against the Capitals with a visit to the Capital Centre on Saturday, have allowed five or more goals 16 times in their past 25 games.

The solution the Kings tried against the Capitals was rookie goalie David Goverde, who had played in three NHL games.

Goverde was yanked after allowing the seven second-period goals, which tied a Capitals record.

The goals came just about every way possible.

There were power-play goals -- four in eight chances for the team that started the game with the third-best man-advantage unit in the league.

"The power play has been working for us the last couple of years, actually," Murray said. "Some nights we move the puck around great and we don't score, though."

There was a short-handed goal by Iafrate, who trails teammate Kevin Hatcher, who scored his 22nd Saturday night, by one goal for the league lead among defensemen.

There were rebounds. Tip-ins. Screened shots.

"The puck just kept going in so fast," said right wing Pat Elynuik, who scored twice Saturday.

The barrage started just after the midway point of the game, when the Capitals led 4-3.

Iafrate, Dimitri Khristich, Hatcher and Peter Bondra scored within a span of 7:42.

"When we got up two or three goals, they obviously tried to open it up," Elynuik said, "and that just gave us more chances."

Elynuik had one other explanation -- besides the we're-just-getting-lucky mantra his teammates recited -- for the offensive output in the past two games.

"I think we've been a little more patient on the forecheck, and it's caused some turnovers," he said.

The Capitals, who are four points ahead of the third-place Devils in the Patrick Division race, next face the Sharks, who are two points behind Ottawa in the "race" for the worst record in the NHL.

"We can't take anyone for granted, though," Iafrate said.

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