Extra, extra: Islanders top Caps in 2nd OT, 4-3 Washington falls into 3-1 series hole

April 25, 1993|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK — UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- It was gut-check time for the Washington Capitals last night. And, in keeping with the club's frustrating playoff history, the Capitals failed to meet the challenge.

The Islanders' Ray Ferraro beat Capitals goalie Rick Tabaracci from close range at 5:40 of the second overtime, giving New York a 4-3 victory in Game 4 of the best-of-seven Patrick Division semifinal series before 16,297 at the Nassau Coliseum.

The triumph -- New York's third straight in overtime against the Capitals -- gave the Islanders a 3-1 series lead. They can clinch the series in Game 5 tomorrow night at the Capital Centre in Landover.

"You have to say the Lord is smiling on us," said Islanders coach Al Arbour. "But it means nothing. This is a four-out-of-seven series, so we haven't done anything yet."

Capitals coach Terry Murray said: "I don't have any answers right now. It's tough to figure out. I'm going to have to study the tape and try to findsome answers.

"We had opportunities, but we also had bad luck. But is it bad luck anymore? I don't know."

Ferraro has figured prominently in all three overtime victories, assisting on the winning goal in Game 2 and scoring the winner in Game 3 for the Islanders, who own an all-time NHL-best 28-7 mark in playoff overtime games.

Tom Fitzgerald set up the winning goal when he took the puck off the right boards and fed it to Claude Loiselle at mid-ice. Loiselle crossed the blue line and passed to Ferraro roaring down the slot, from where he beat Tabaracci (42 saves) with a shot between the legs.

The Caps' Mike Ridley nearly won it in the first overtime, when he unloaded a shot that hit the post with 5:15 left. And Steve Thomas almost won it for the Islanders 16 seconds later, when he skated in alone but was stopped by Tabaracci.

The Capitals seemed to have the game well in hand in the third period, leading 3-1 with eight minutes remaining. But, as has been the case throughout the series, Washington lost its grip.

First, the Islanders' Travis Green scored with 7:06 left, off assists from Loiselle and Vladimir Malakhov. Then New York's captain, Patrick Flately, netted the equalizer at 14:14, with assists from Turgeon and Uwe Krupp.

Entering the third period it was 3-1, a familiar score for the Caps. They won the first game by that score, and in Game 3 on Thursday they had seen a 3-1 lead dissipate into a 4-3 overtime loss.

Washington forged a 2-1 lead when it scored its second power-play goal of the night. Sylvain Cote won the puck along the board and passed to Peter Bondra, the Capitals' leading goal-scorer who had been shut out in the first three games. Bondra passed to Ridley in front of the net for the goal at 4:37 of the second period.

Defenseman Al Iafrate made it 3-0 at 5:54, when Islanders defenseman Dennis Vaske checked Bondra into goalie Glenn Healy, opening the net for an Iafrate slap shot.

With 7:17 gone, Malakhov scored his first playoff goal to bring the Islanders within 3-1, after Turgeon won a faceoff to get him the puck. It was New York's first power-play goal in 17 attempts in the series.

Washington's Todd Krygier came close to restoring the Capitals' three-goal edge, but his goal with 10:15 gone in the period was disallowed, as officials called an interference penalty on Kelly Miller in front of the Islanders' net.

Murray said he believed Krygier's goal was good -- "It was Tom Kurvers' stick that tripped Glenn Healy, not Miller," he said -- but he admitted the referee had to make "an instant judgment."

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