Capitals rally to put away Nordiques, 2-1 Bondra and Burridge score in third period

November 10, 1993|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals struck for two goals in the third period last night and, for the second game in a row, rallied for victory.

This one was a 2-1 decision over the struggling Quebec Nordiques.

"Goals haven't come real easy for us, obviously," said goalie Don Beaupre. "You know going in you've got to play tight. You know one mistake can make the difference. But we've been playing really well defensively.

"I don't know if we're a defensive team again -- but . . ."

Beaupre, who has won his past five starts, provided the glue that got Washington through the first two listless periods.

For a long time, it appeared neither team was interested in winning. The boards didn't shake. The glass didn't rattle. The players barely played.

The crowd did cheer -- but how much noise can 10,267 fans make in the cavernous USAir Arena?

But for those who came, the reward came in the third period, when Washington's offense awoke. And for the second straight game, it was Peter Bondra who woke them up.

With Pat Peake and Keith Jones setting him up, Bondra shot, collected the rebound and, while falling, used his stick to poke the puck high out of the reach of Nordiques rookie goalie Jocelyn Thibault.

The effort tied the game at 1, with 17:29 to play. Two minutes later, Randy Burridge gave the Capitals the lead on his 300th NHL career point.

After that, Beaupre stood his ground, making two terrific saves at the 12-minute mark and with 5:08 to play on shots by Steven Finn and Valeri Kamensky, respectively.

Washington (8-7) is above .500 for the first time this season. Winners in eight of their past nine games, the Capitals are riding a five-game winning streak as they leave today for Tampa Bay and tomorrow's Atlantic Division clash.

"We were standing around an awful lot early on," said Washington coach Terry Murray. "The players away from the puck seemed to just be standing there hoping the puck would come to them and they could poke it in.

"But it doesn't work that way. You have to work hard. I thought as the game went on, we worked harder and skated better."

Washington was forced to, after the Nordiques took the lead with 8:37 gone in the second period. That's when the NHL's second-leading scorer, Joe Sakic, centered a pass and picked up his 20th assist, when Mats Sundin put the puck past Beaupre.

It was the only goal in the first two periods.

Then Bondra came storming on the attack, shot and got that invaluable rebound.

"It was a big work goal, and then we came back for the next one right away," said Murray. "It was very nice."

But the nicest thing was Washington's defense, which has given up three goals or fewer in its past 10 games.

Playing responsibly away from the puck, the Capitals continue to hold down opponents shots, and while Quebec ended the evening with 22, only three of those came in the final period.

"We finally have a style, something to hang our hats on," said Murray. "We're playing a very responsible game led by Dave Poulin, Mike Ridley and Kelly Miller. They set the example of how we want to play after we get the lead, and it's working."

The Capitals can hardly ask for more.

Quebec has dropped four straight and five of its past six.

NOTES: Capitals fans in Baltimore might want to cross their fingers and hope something is about to happen on the radio front. Marketing director Lew Strudler said talks will begin within 48 hours with WITH concerning broadcasting the Capitals. . . . RW Pat Peake (ankle), who was listed as day-to-day, suited up and played. . . . Portland Pirates G Byron Dafoe has been named the AHL Player of the Week. Dafoe was 3-0, turning aside 82 shots to record a 1.00 GAA over the three-game period. . . . C Steve Konowalchuk and D Enrico Cicone were scratched from last night's Capitals lineup.

Quebec .. .0 1 0 -- 1

Washington 0 0 2 -- 2

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