Caps earn sixth win in row, 4-1 Balanced effort stops Lightning

November 12, 1993|By Tim Hipps | Tim Hipps,Contributing Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The streaking Washington Capitals got a goal from each of their three leading goal scorers, a solid outing from their No. 2 goalie, and strong defensive play from all last night for a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning before 19,370 at the ThunderDome.

The Capitals (9-7-0) extended their winning streak to six games, including four in a row on the road. They are 9-1-0 in their past 10 after opening the season 0-6.

The Lightning (3-12-2) had its winless streak extended to nine games despite outshooting the Capitals, 34-23, and having a 5-2 advantage in power-play opportunities.

Right wing Peter Bondra and left wing Dimitri Khristich, each with eight goals this season, gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead through two periods. In the third, Randy Burridge scored his eighth goal, on assists from Sylvain Cote and Al Iafrate, who recorded his second of the night and 12th of the season.

"The game could have been out of hand at the end of two, but Tampa Bay came back and played extremely well in the third period," said Capitals coach Terry Murray. "We let up a little bit, thinking it's 3-0 and we don't have to play with the same kind of emotion to finish it off.

"That's what we have to learn as a team, to play those 60 minutes. That's not going to happen by flipping a switch sometime in March. We've got to learn how to do that now."

Capitals goalie Rick Tabaracci, who has won four in a row since recovering from a torn ligament in his right knee, made 33 saves in improving to 4-1-0. He denied All-Star center Brian Bradley from point-blank range on a breakaway with 14:59 left in the first period.

"He had a lot of time coming down the ice. When he gets that much time, so do I," Tabaracci said. "I was able to get out a little higher in the crease and got my glove on it to flip it over the top."

Moments later, Bondra tipped in a power-play goal off Cote's missed slap shot to put the Capitals ahead 1-0 at 5:47 of the first period. Iafrate also got an assist on the play, giving him four in the past five games.

Bondra also extended his streak to four consecutive games with a goal scored.

Tabaracci made 13 saves and weathered three Tampa Bay power plays in the first period. He came up with nine more stops in the second period, turning back another Lightning power play that drew boos from the crowd as the period expired.

"Washington is one of the better defensive clubs in the league," Tampa Bay coach Terry Crisp said. "They're a big club and a grinding club. I like their mixture.

"They've probably got one of the biggest defensive clubs in the NHL, and they're constantly pounding on you."

Tampa Bay leads the NHL in average home attendance (20,730), but its power-play efficiency ranks next to last in the league.

Washington opened the door early with penalties on Craig Berube (high sticking and unsportsmanlike conduct) and Iafrate (slashing), but the Lightning failed to capitalize.

Tampa Bay again outshot the Capitals in the second period, 9-5, but Washington's Khristich scored the only goal on a back-hander at 1:05 with assists from Keith Jones and Michal Pivonka.

"I liked what we did in the first two periods," Murray said. "We generated some good things offensively. We played well away from the puck on the defensive side of it. We had a power-play goal. And we had maybe another half-dozen chances where we had a two-on-one or a breakaway."

The Capitals closed the scoring on Cote's short-handed, empty-net goal with 1:21 remaining in the game as the Lightning pulled its goalie with a six-on-three advantage.

NOTES: Alan May's broken left hand has been placed in a cast. He will be out from three to four weeks. . . . Pivonka and his wife, Renata, had their first child yesterday at 9:48 a.m. Pivonka was present for the birth of daughter Nicole, who weighed 8 pounds. Pivonka then caught a flight to Tampa. . . . Tampa Bay played without D Shawn Chambers, who was injured in a car accident Wednesday night. Chambers, who sustained a bruised left shoulder and a laceration over his right eye, is expected to miss two to three days.

Washington 1 1 2 -- 4

Tampa Bay .0 0 1 -- 1

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