Caps' Ridley hardly blue after stopping Hull, too Gretzky's Kings fall 1st in sweet weekend

February 22, 1993|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- The sweat was rolling down Mike Ridley's face as he stood in front of his locker. It had been a hard two days for the Washington Capitals center and his teammates. And it had been particularly difficult for Ridley, who was fighting the flu as he anchored the line that held Wayne Gretzky and Brett Hull to one point each in back-to-back games this weekend.

Yesterday, Ridley played in every situation and led the offensive charge with two power-play goals and an assist as the Capitals rolled over St. Louis, 5-2, and stretched their winning streak to six -- just one shy of their season high.

The victory also was career win No. 95 for Caps goalie DoBeaupre, giving him the team's all-time lead.

"It's nice to get it against quality teams," said Beaupre, whstarted this season 2-10, but has gone 16-5-4 since. "We're playing real solid defensively now. We're not allowing other teams to get many good shots."

The Capitals beat Los Angeles, 7-3, here Saturday, before dominating St. Louis yesterday.

Today, the team will have an optional skate before leaving foNew York, where it faces the Islanders tomorrow night.

Yesterday's game was a feast for Capitals fans. There was short-handed goal by Todd Krygier, Ridley's two power-play goals and another by Kevin Hatcher. And a fight that saw 16

gloves and seven sticks strewn across the ice -- and five players ejected with 5:29 to play, setting up a St. Louis power play on which Hull finally scored with 1:45 left in the game.

Ridley's performance, though, may well have been the best. Hhad missed practice Thursday with the flu. He felt fairly awful Saturday against L.A., but played well defensively and scored once.

Then yesterday, he seemed to find his stride, getting the Capoff to a 1-0 lead in the first period.

It was his 20th goal of the season -- in each of his eight NH seasons, he has scored at least 20 goals. That might not seem like an extraordinary feat for a center, but Ridley is not your typical offensive center.

"I think you could get rich betting on a walk-on producing thoskinds of numbers in the NHL," said Capitals coach Terry Murray.

And a walk-on is exactly what Ridley was. In 1985, he was Canadian college unknown, invited to try out with the New York Rangers because a new Rangers assistant had coached against one of his college teams. It was just supposed to be a learning experience for a college kid.

Ridley made the cut and wound up leading the Rangers iscoring as a rookie with 65 points.

"It was just an accident that I was invited to the Rangers camp,said Ridley. "Now, well, to say to me that I've been able to score 20 goals every year of my whole NHL career so far, I think that's something."

Ridley, who Murray says is at the top of his game, has 21 goalthis season and has moved into third on the Caps' all-time scoring list.

This season he is Washington's second-leading scorer (6points) and yesterday was the seventh time this year he has had a three-point game.

"I think Washington has a great team," said St. Louis' BrendaShanahan, who assisted on the first goal by Craig Janney. "They've got one very offensive line and then their defense adds a lot of offense, too. Anybody who wants to beat them has to have disciplined forwards and disciplined fore-checking."

Lately, the opposition just hasn't had it. Since the All-Star breakWashington has scored an average of 6.3 goals, compared to 3.9 before the break. And the Capitals have outscored the opposition 38-19 in the past six games.

Capital achievement

Don Beaupre yesterday broke the Capitals record for most dTC career wins by a goaltender:

Goalie .. .. .. Seasons .. .. .. .. Wins

Don Beaupre '.. ..88-'92 .. .. .. .. 95

Al Jensen .. .. ..'81-'87 .. .. .. .. 94

Pete Peeters.. .. '85-'89 .. .. .. .. 70

Pat Riggin.. .. ..'82-'86 .. .. .. .. 67

Clint Malarchuk .. '87-'89 .. .. .. . 40

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