Letdown, 5-3 loss anger Caps

December 14, 1993|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

QUEBEC -- Washington's two-game winning streak ended last night against the Quebec Nordiques, who used every advantage the Capitals gave them to earn a 5-3 victory.

And the Capitals did give them advantages. It left team captain Kevin Hatcher unable to explain why the game plan evaporated while Washington was leading 3-2.

It left starting goalie Rick Tabaracci frustrated and in disagreement with his coach over his performance.

"I couldn't have made those saves in the second period if I had an 'S' on my chest," he said, angrily. "Nobody could."

And it left Craig Berube, the left wing who isn't a goal-scorer but has two goals and one assist in three games, fed up.

"We had something going great and then we stop doing the little things, and it's the little things that always make the difference," Berube said. "With a team like this you've got to be patient. . . . I'm tired of people [complaining] about not scoring goals. Win it 3-2 if you're not scoring goals. Do other things for your team. Take the body.

"This team has to play a certain way. We showed that in Philadelphia and Montreal, and we were successful. But sometimes we don't want to do it."

The Capitals have until Friday, when the Ottawa Senators come to USAir Arena, to think about it.

One man doing a lot of thinking last night was Washington coach Terry Murray, who pulled Tabaracci for veteran Don Beaupre and didn't see much of anything that he liked after his team used goals by Berube and Todd Krygier to take a 3-2 lead with 4:35 gone in the second period.

At that point, it looked as if Quebec was in trouble. Coach Pierre Page pulled his 18-year-old starting goalie, Jocelyn Thibault, for 33-year-old Jacques Cloutier.

But Cloutier did not allow a goal on the 17 shots he faced in the final 35:15. And while Beaupre was equally impressive, stopping all 19 of Quebec's shots over the last 27:45, the damage was done.

Quebec's Scott Young put a big check on puck-carrying Al Iafrate in the Caps' zone and then took the ensuing pass from Mats Sundin in and over Tabaracci for a 3-3 tie at 11:11.

At 10:47, Joe Sakic rocketed a shot through a screen and over Tabaracci's shoulder to make it 4-3. And at the nine-minute mark, Mike Ridley dropped the puck near the Quebec blue line for Kelly Miller, but Curtis Leschyshyn got there first and started a two-on-one counterattack that Iafrate could not stop and Tabaracci couldn't save.

"I should not have had to make the goalie change," said Murray. "We had fought back for a 3-2 lead, and then we stopped doing the things that got us there. We stopped dumping the puck in, made turnovers atthe blue line, made bad decisions and got beat on the transition. We beat ourselves.

"But Rick was not playing well. He wasn't giving us the good stops."

Tabaracci said he should have had Quebec's second goal, at 2:36 of the first period. Young scored and made it look easy with a slap shot from just inside the blue line.

"The second goal I should have had," said Tabaracci, who was trying to rebound after giving up five goals to Hartford in a 6-1 loss last Thursday. "But I thought I had regrouped from that. We had the game well in hand, and all of a sudden we stopped doing what worked.

"I'm frustrated by the decision. I've replayed those last three goals, and I know there was no way to stop them. If we'd just kept playing the way we started -- aggressive, hounding them, dumping passes -- you wouldn't have seen those goals."

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