Caps trying to get line on non-Hunter scoring Islanders silence Pivonka, Bondra

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

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders' Brian Mullen may know how to ruin a good party, but he's not into stirring up a load of mischief.

Mullen was credited with the goal in the second overtime that ended Game 2 on Tuesday, 5-4, and tied the NHL Patrick Division semifinal series at one. But afterward all he'd say was, "We got the break, they didn't."

He might have said something about Washington's lack of offense beyond its ninth-leading scorer Dale Hunter. He might have wondered about the absence of Michal Pivonka and Peter Bondra from the score sheets in games 1 and 2.

So far Hunter, who had 20 goals in the regular season, has five of Washington's seven goals. Dimitri Khristich has the other two. -- The Islanders have five goals. If anyone has seen the rest of the Capitals offense please call coach Terry Murray immediately.

"There is no doubt we need our top offensive line to start scoring," said Murray.

That line is Pivonka, Khristich and Bondra.

In fact, the entire team has been missing for the first 10 minutes of each of the first two games, allowing the Islanders a lead each night.

"We've talked about the importance of tempo with forechecking and offense," Murray said. "We want to score the first goal. When you get down a goal or two, it forces a lot of opening up by the team that is down. We want the puck on the net early."

Tuesday, Bondra, Washington's leading scorer with 37 goals, seemed to be imitating Pierre Turgeon's performance in Game 1. The Islanders' offensive leader managed just one shot in the series opener. Bondra managed only one shot Tuesday -- and it was at a momentarily open net. The shot missed.

"We need more from Bondra and Pivonka -- from that whole line," Murray said. "I think they're working very hard. But the Islanders are playing them tight, dropping three and four guys back. I think it comes down to doing more things at a higher level.

"And if we've got to grind it out, they need to do more than give and go. They've got to be stronger on the boards, go for the rebounds and just get the puck on net."

They need to play like Hunter, the team's 32-year-old center.

"Only one of Dale's shots came from out near the hash mark," said Murray. "The rest of them have been in the 10-foot area. That's where you have to go to get it done."

Tuesday, the Islanders got their No. 1 line untracked. Turgeon, Steve Thomas and Derek King all contributed to the scoring. Benoit Hogue and Ray Ferraro chipped in for two goals and then Mullen turned out the Capital Centre lights with 14:50 gone in the second overtime.

"It took all the joy out of making 56 saves," said Washington goalie Rick Tabaracci. "It's hard to feel good about it when you lose."

Mullen and Ferraro got a bit of a break and rolled in on Tabaracci. Mullen took the backhanded shot. Tabaracci made the save, but he couldn't find the puck.

"When I jammed him as hard as I could, the puck just popped out of his pads and over the top," said Ferraro.

"I saw it then," said Tabaracci. "I made a few swipes at it, but I couldn't get my glove on it."

NOTES: Murray said he didn't plan any lineup changes, but could change his mind at this morning's pre-game skate. He also said he wants to make sure he doesn't overuse Hunter.

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