Last-minute goal lifts Leafs past Capitals, 2-1

January 12, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs dueled to the finish last night. Each in turn looked for a hero and with just 49.5 seconds left it was Toronto who found him.

Doug Gilmour got his stick on the bouncing puck in front of the Capitals net and -- somehow, wedged it past goalie Don Beaupre for the 2-1 victory.

The loss ends Washington's two-game winning streak and its home ice unbeaten streak at five games.

The tense contest kept the USAir Arena crowd of 12,654 on the edge of their seats.

The Capitals now have two days to prepare for a rematch with the New Jersey Devils here Friday.

The loss brings the Capitals to the half-way point of the season with a 19-19-4 record, which still pleases Washington coach Terry Murray, whose team started the season by losing its first six games.

"We've come a long way from 0-6," Murray said. "We're above .500 if you take away those six and I'm happy with the way we've battled back through some adversity, through some up and down cycles, through injuries and position wise, we're not too bad."

The winning goal came when Gilmour was able to out-muscle Al Iafrate and get his stick on the puck in front of a scrambling Beaupre.

"The puck hit my pad,'" said Beaupre. "I was down in the net when it happened and just the angle it hit me, turned it into the net. It was just lucky for them."

It was a disappointing loss for Washington to take. The Capitals worked very hard in this one.

"This is a tough loss, not a bad loss," said defenseman Sylvain Cote. "We played well and probably deserved to win. Don played well, but [Felix] Potvin showed up tonight, too. Still, if we hold teams to two goals, we'll win a lot of games."

For a long time last night, it looked like just getting a shot on goal was asking a lot.

For only the seventh time in the team's 20-year history, the Capitals tied their all-time low for shots in a period at one.

After Iafrate's shot in the opening minute, there were no more until 1:30 into the second period, that one came on a two-on-one break and a shot by Craig Berube that was saved by Potvin, who would make 21 saves before his night was over.

Washington finally broke the 0-0 tie in the second period, while playing four-on-four.

At 11:06, Dimitri Khristich played the puck to Michal Pivonka behind the Toronto net and Pivonka found defenseman Calle Johansson all alone in the red circle.

Johansson took Washington's 10th shot of the period and suddenly, the Caps had the 1-0 lead.

But the lead didn't last long, and it was almost embarrassing the way the Caps found themselves tied.

Washington was on the power play, when Mike Ridley tried a pass along the boards that was picked off by Gilmour, who sent it cross ice to Bob Rouse.

Rouse then skated in on Beaupre, and bowled him over and sent the puck across the front of the net where it found Dave Andreychuk's stick for the put back, the shorthander and the tie with 6:43 on the clock.

NOTES: After last night's game, the Capitals sent defenseman Brian Curran to their Portland farm team for a two week reconditioning assignment . . . They also returned center Kevin Kaminski, who had been called up on an emergency basis.

The Capitals Alumni will play a benefit hockey game against the DeMatha High School Stags Friday, Jan. 28, 6 p.m. at the Bowie Ice Rink. Proceeds are to assist Tim Strachen, the DeMatha quarterback who suffered a spinal-cord injury last summer.

A $5 donation is requested. A bake sale and raffle will be held during the game to raise additional funds.

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