Bruins jump out, over Capitals in 8-2 thumping

January 03, 1994|By Ian Browne | Ian Browne,Contributing Writer

BOSTON -- The good news for the Capitals is that they don't play again until Saturday. The bad news is that it will take that long for Washington to forget about yesterday's effort against the Boston Bruins.

It didn't take long to see that this would not be the Capitals' day. Boston scored three goals in the first two minutes en route to an 8-2 victory before 14,073 at Boston Garden.

Forced to play without defensemen Al Iafrate and Kevin Hatcher for the fifth time in six games, the Capitals' defense was inept from the outset. The offense, which has struggled all season, was worse than usual. Only third-period goals from Keith Jones and Dimitri Khristich prevented Washington (17-18-4) from being shut out.

Iafrate, who played in Saturday's tie with the Tampa Bay jTC Lightning after missing four consecutive games with a sprained right knee, didn't make the trip after suffering a little soreness.

Capitals center Dave Poulin, making his first appearance against his former team since leaving as a free agent last summer, played down the correlation between the injuries and the Capitals' poor showing.

"We've been playing well without [Hatcher and Iafrate]. That is no excuse," said Poulin. "We knew exactly what we had to do and we didn't do it. You don't want to go into a week off with a performance like that, but at least we will have time to correct some of our mistakes."

After Boston's early onslaught, Capitals coach Terry Murray could see what was coming.

"Starting out like that is your worst nightmare. All of a sudden it is 3-0 and there was not a lot we could do to stop it," said Murray. "They kept coming, they kept scoring and we didn't have anything happening, as far as defense goes."

Boston (18-12-7) was sparked by a hat trick from right wing Cam Neely, who had been hindered by a right knee injury the past two seasons. Yesterday marked the first time Neely has been able to play four consecutive games this season.

Although he is just a part-time player, he is playing as well as he has in any stretch of his career. Neely, who has 26 goals in 22

games, has scored at least once in the past eight games, and he has 11 goals and three assists in that stretch.

"For a while, I really didn't know how my knee was doing, but I really think it is coming along now," said an upbeat Neely after getting the 10th hat trick of his 11-year career.

The Bruins started the scoring parade when center Bryan Smolinski drilled a rebound from the slot past Don Beaupre 27 seconds into the contest. Boston struck again when center Adam Oates recovered a loose puck from the boards, then split the Capitals' defense and fired one into the upper-right corner at the 57-second mark.

Beaupre had to be shell-shocked after right wing Glen Murray scored at 2:15, assisted by Sergei Zholtok.

At that point, Terry Murray had seen enough, and he yanked Beaupre in favor of Rick Tabaracci.

However, the move did little to change the Capitals' stagnant play. Bruins defenseman Glen Wesley wristed one from the blue line and Neely, who was standing in the slot, tipped it in mid-air past the lunging Tabaracci. The play was reviewed on video because it appeared Neely's stick was too high. But the call stood, making it 4-0 Boston at 9:37.

The Capitals tried to counter with physical play but the Bruins stayed cool. Kevin Kaminski wrapped Boston defenseman Don Sweeney into the boards and an altercation ensued. Kaminski, Craig Berube and Boston's Cam Stewart all received game misconducts.

Neely added another goal when he cashed in on a nifty feed from Raymond Bourque (five assists) at 16:18.

Dave Reid and Zholtok added second-period goals and Neely capped the Bruins' scoring when he unloaded one from the right circle at 9:22 of the third period.

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