Capitals get the points on trip Washington goes 4-for-4 in wins

February 18, 1993|By Susan Fornoff | Susan Fornoff,Contributing Writer

DALY CITY, Calif. -- The Washington Capitals did not score 10 goals, for a change, last night. But they were perfectly content with a 4-3 victory against the NHL's newest worst team ever, the San Jose Sharks.

The Capitals headed home to Landover, Md., with eight points more than they had when they left nine days and four games ago.

"This is a tremendous road trip for us," Capitals coach Terry Murray said after his fourth straight win. "There was an urgency coming in, with our division being so tough and the standings being so tight, and to go home with eight points is just fantastic.

"Once you get past the midpoint of the season, points always seem more difficult to come by. But to get eight points out of four games on the road says you're getting good performances out of everybody."

The Capitals had scored 10 goals in each of their past two games, against far more worthy opponents (the St. Louis Blues on Thursday and Los Angeles Kings on Saturday) than the Sharks, winners of two of their past 36 games and possessors of fewer points than any other NHL team.

But the Sharks actually may have managed to swing some miniature momentum to their side for Tuesday's faceoff: Sunday, they had avoided breaking the NHL consecutive-loss record of 17 games they share with the 1974-75 Capitals by defeating Winnipeg, 3-2, on the road.

The victory earned them big headlines in the championship-rich Bay area, and 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 ilk the Capitals couldn't miss in their previous two games, so it was still 0-0 before Peter Bondra scored at 8:14 of the period, assisted by Calle Johansson and Dimitri Khristich.

"In the first period, we had a lot of quality chances, and [Irbe] came up well," Murray said. "And they [the Sharks] rallied around what he was doing."

/# Midway through the period, Irbe

had been out-shelled 16 shots to two on Capitals goalie Jim Hrivnak, yet trailed only 1-0. Then the Sharks launched a series of 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.

"Arturs made some very good saves in the first 10 minutes that kept them from getting rolling," said Sharks coach George Kingston. "And Hubie was playing on a fractured toe."

The Sharks froze the Capitals on three second-period power plays en route to an 8-0 shutout against the league's top power-play unit. But the visitors 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.

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 DTC Sharks had lost their best scoring chance; Kisio leads the team with 54 points.

The 10,629 in attendance busied themselves for the remainder of the period by varying rhythms and notes in a chant directed at referee Kerry Fraser. There was one good brawl left in the two teams, this one between Al Iafrate and Rob Zettler.

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

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