Caps fall to Islanders in 2 OT's 5-4 win for N.Y. ties series, 1-1

April 21, 1993|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- Everyone said these two NHL teams were evenly matched, but who knew how evenly?

It was 14:50 into the second overtime before Game 2 was settled last night between the Washington Capitals and the New York Islanders.

In the end, it was a back-hand shot by Brian Mullen that rebounded off goalie Rick Tabaracci, who had made 56 saves, and into the Capitals net that gave the Islanders a 5-4 victory.

"It's always a tough way to lose, when it goes that long," Tabaracci said. "The whistle was a little long at the end. I knew the puck was under me somewhere, out of sight. I couldn't see it, and I tried to hold on as long as I could hoping the ref would blow the whistle. But as I fell, I saw it, and I took a couple swacks at it. . . . The way the game was going, the ref had been blowing things pretty quick, and I thought they should have blown this one."

The best-of-seven series is tied at one. The teams will travel to Long Island at the Nassau Coliseum for Games 3 and 4 tomorrow and Saturday.

New York goalie Glenn Healy had 41 saves and must have felt like an escape artist as he survived the Washington attack that nearly turned Capitals center Dale Hunter into a folk hero.

Hunter, the hero of Game 1, enlarged his reputation last night. He scored a hat trick, the first of his 13-year playoff career, to send this game into overtime.

In fact, every goal Hunter scored last night had meaning. The first one went in off the skate of Healy for a 1-1 tie early in the second period. The second one went in off Islander defenseman Vladimir Malakhov for a 2-2 tie.

And the third one came on the power play with just 2.6 seconds left in regulation to forge a 4-4 tie and force overtime.

What seemed incredible nearly turned into a fairy tale for Hunter, who just missed scoring the winning goal with 1:05 left in the first overtime.

Hunter had just left the penalty box about 25 seconds earlier, when presented with a golden opportunity, but Healy, came up with one of the biggest saves of the game. By the time Hunter had pushed Healy and the rebound into the net, the officials judged the whistle had blown.

"That play was just like the one they scored [the winning goal] on," Capitals defenseman Al Iafrate said. "But it's up to the referee's discretion to whistle the play dead or not."

Hunter's third goal, which forced overtime, came during a power play. There was 2:50 left in the third period when Islander Rich Pilon was given five minutes for high sticking. That put the Capitals on an extended power play.

With only seconds left, Calle Johansson made up for a bad pass earlier and took a shot that hit the post and bounced out to Hunter. Hunter tapped in the rebound with 2.6 seconds left in regulation, and the score was tied at 4.

Earlier in the period, Islanders' Patrick Flatley seemed to have scored the winner with 5:10 to go, when he lifted a rebound over Tabaracci for a 4-3 lead.

With just 3:31 gone in the third period at the score 2-2, Johansson's cross-ice pass was picked off by Islander Benoit Hogue, who let go a slap shot that scored for a 3-2 New York lead. Dimitri Khristich scored 3:45 later. The puck bounced in and out so fast, the officials didn't see the score. It took an official replay before the goal was recorded. That tied the score at 3 and brought the 15,421 at the Capital Centre to their feet.

In the second period, the Islanders came to play and the Capitals came to hit.

"It's not what you take that will be important in this series," Capitals coach Terry Murray said be before the game. "It's what you give that will make the difference."

The Capitals gave the Islanders a lot of punishment in Game 2.

Hunter, the Game 1 hero for Washington, did what he could to keep Washington in it again last night.

After the Islanders had taken a 1-0 lead on Pierre Turgeon's first goal of the playoffs, Hunter scored.

The Capitals center fired up a slap shot from near the top of the right circle. The puck slid past defenders and hit the post, bounced out into the crease where it hit the

blade on the back of Healy's skate and went into the net to tie the score at 1, with 6:33 gone in the second period.

Turgeon scored for the second time with 7:24 left in the period for a 2-1 lead, but again it was Hunter who scored for the Capitals.

Hunter lost his helmet near mid-ice shortly after a face off, but kept his eye on the puck as Carpenter and Johansson relayed it down the ice.

Hunter caught up with it just before reaching the end line and attempted a pass into the crease, near where Khristich was standing. But Khristich never got a stick on it. Instead, the puck bounced off Islander Vladimir Malakhov and into the net. Game tied, 2-2.

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