Caps take it easy on Kings, 7-3 4 goals in 3 minutes turn game into rout

February 21, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals continued to abuse Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings yesterday at the Capital Centre.

The Capitals made life miserable for the National Hockey League's all-time points leader and his teammates for the second time in eight days, streaking to an easy 7-3 victory.

Washington outscored the Kings 17-6 in the two victories, highlighting a five-game winning streak that has given the Capitals a little breathing room in second place in the Patrick Division (66 points to 61 for the third-place New Jersey Devils).

Gretzky was limited to one assist yesterday after being shut out last Saturday. He has scored only three goals this season after missing the first 39 games with a herniated disk in his upper back.

It was a triumphant return home for Washington after putting together a franchise-record 4-0 road trip.

Peter Bondra (two goals and one assist) and rookie Keith Jones (two goals) led the assault that included three goals in 50 seconds at the end of the second period.

In all, Washington scored four goals in the final three minutes of the second period to surge ahead 6-0.

Rookie Steve Konowalchuk, Dimitri Khristich and Mike Ridley each scored once for the Capitals.

For Jones, it was his first two-goal performance in the NHL but, more important, it came against Gretzky, who, like Jones, is from Brantford, Ontario.

"It was nice to play against Wayne Gretzky," said Jones. "He's my hometown hero. I grew up admiring him. It was great to score two goals against him. That will give me a few bragging rights."

For Gretzky, it was another long afternoon as the Kings dropped below .500 (26-27-7).

"I don't know how to explain it," said Gretzky. "We were down 2-0, and had played them pretty well when everything seemed to break down. Before we knew it, we were out of the hockey game."

Gretzky said the Capitals are the kind of team "that will be a force at any time because they have very solid defense.

"Their six guys play hard and play well. I've always said that [Kevin] Hatcher is a tremendous hockey player. Their problem is that Pittsburgh is in their division."

Bondra's first goal of the game came at 18:35 of the second period on a tremendous individual effort.

He got knocked down along the right wall but got back up and skated in for the score.

"I guess I did a little bit of everything on that goal," Bondra said. "It was great to come home and play this well after those four road wins. Everything seems to be falling in place for us now. We were a little down before the All-Star break, but now we've got it going."

Capitals goaltender Don Beaupre also played a major role in the victory with some superb saves in the opening minutes.

Beaupre shut out the Kings until the 4:51 mark of the third period, when Mike Donnelly beat Washington defender Jason Woolley and skated in for the first Los Angeles goal.

It was the 94th victory in a Capitals uniform for Beaupre, tying Al Jensen for most wins by a Washington goaltender.

"I guess it means that I've been able to stay around here for a while," said Beaupre, who came to Washington from Minnesota in a Nov. 1, 1988, trade. "Longevity pretty much sums it up."

But Washington coach Terry Murray said that Beaupre has been an outstanding addition to the Capitals.

"He's done a good job in our organization," Murray said. "He's played well in the time he's been here."

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