Caps complete 4-0 trip with 4-3 win over Sharks 10-goal streak ends at two

February 17, 1993|By Susan Fornoff | Susan Fornoff,Contributing Writer

DALY CITY, Calif. -- The Washington Capitals did not score 10 goals, for a change, last night. They had to settle for a 4-3 victory against the National Hockey League's worst team, the San Jose Sharks.

"I don't know if I'd say it was more difficult than we expected," said Capitals coach Terry Murray. "We've been away nine days and this was our last game on a four-game trip, and we were playing a team with a record that was not so good. . . . But it caps a tremendous road trip for us, to get eight points out of four games at this time of the season."

The Capitals had scored 10 goals in each of their past two games, against tougher opponents (St. Louis Thursday and Los Angeles Saturday) than the Sharks, winners of two of their past 36 games.

But the Sharks may have managed to swing some miniature momentum to their side for the faceoff. Sunday, they had avoided breaking the NHL consecutive-loss record of 17 they share with the Capitals of 1974-75 by defeating Winnipeg, 3-2, on the road. To a second-year franchise that routinely requires 10 games, not two, in order to amass 20 goals, a mere victory made big headlines in the championship-rich Bay Area.

The Sharks weren't about to allow 10 goals in their triumphant return to the Cow Palace, not if Arturs Irbe was standing, falling or lying in the net. The Sharks goalie turned away several shots of the kind the Capitals couldn't miss in their previous two games before Peter Bondra scored at 8:14 of the period, assisted by Calle Johansson and Dimitri Khristich.

Midway through the period, Irbe had been out-shelled, 16 shots to two on Capitals goalie Jim Hrivnak yet trailed only 1-0. After the Sharks had killed three penalties against the most proficient power play in the league, they launched 12 consecutive shots that included Hubie McDonough's game-tying goal at 15:56 on a shot between Hrivnak and the upper right corner of the net.

The Sharks continued to freeze the Capitals on three second-period power plays, but the Caps scored once on a shot by Khristich that Irbe couldn't see coming over his shoulder and again on a shot by Kevin Hatcher that arrived at the net along with Hatcher and his defender, McDonough. At 11:30, the Capitals had taken a 3-1 lead that would do just fine.

Before the end of the period, Capitals center Michal Pivonka made the defensive play that probably sealed San Jose's fate. He engaged Sharks All-Star center Kelly Kisio in a fight that resulted in seven penalty minutes on Pivonka and 19 penalty minutes -- including a game misconduct -- on Kisio. So the Sharks had lost their best scoring chance; Kisio leads the team with 54 points.

David Williams broke the penalty-killing units' shutouts with his goal for the Sharks with 53 seconds remaining, but the Capitals' Pivonka scored into an empty net 18 seconds later. Dean Evason scored the final goal with two seconds remaining.

The teams will meet again in Landover, March 21.

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