Capitals lose 2nd straight, 5-2

January 15, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- Asking the Washington Capitals to score three goals in the final period of a hockey game is like asking for the moon on most nights. And last night was one of those nights.

Playing a poor defensive game for two periods that put them behind, 4-1, the Capitals needed a big rally. They didn't get it, and the New Jersey Devils went home with the 5-2 victory.

New Jersey defenseman Scott Stevens scored his second goal of the game into an open net with 1:09 left for the final margin.

It was Washington's second loss in two games, and its 10th loss to an Atlantic Division team and its 15 against Eastern Conference foes.

Washington begins a three-game Eastern Conference road trip today in Quebec before continuing on to Montreal and Florida.

Last night's loss also dropped the Capitals below .500.

One positive in this game for Washington was they it did make the most of its five-on-three advantages, for two goals. The second come with 9:47 left in the third period, when Michal Pivonka scored at the post off assists from Al Iafrate and Keith Jones.

That goal gave the 15,812 fans at USAir Arena something to cheer about. The only other positive was that the Caps defense, which gave up 18 shots and four goals while Rick Tabaracci was in the net for the first 33 minutes, didn't give up a shot in the third period against goalie Don Beaupre, who came in with 6:59 )) left in the middle period, until there was just 5:10 left.

Overall, the second period was a disaster. A team that had prided itself on sound defense, looked in disarray for much of this 20 minutes.

LTC New Jersey used a power play at 4:28 to take a 2-0 lead. Bruce Driver took the initial shot that bounced out to an open John MacLean, who shot it back and beat Tabaracci to the near side.

A melee swirled in front of the Washington net two minutes later that resulted in Tabaracci diving away from the goal in an effort to capture the loose puck and missing. MacLean poked it toward the Caps net, and Caps center Mike Ridley dived over Tabaracci's back in an effort to get his hand on the puck at the post.

He missed, and Stephane Richer took a jab at it, and the puck crossed the goal line. New Jersey led, 3-0.

Washington seemed as if it might get back into this game, when the Devils were called for two penalties in less than two minutes, giving the Caps a 5-on-3 advantage for 14 seconds.

With a second left on the two-man advantage, Dale Hunter and Sylvain Cote got the puck to defenseman Iafrate, who shot from just inside the blue line to get the Caps' first goal with 9:19 left. It was only the fourth time in nine tries this season that the Caps were able to capitalize up two men.

But the Washington defense continued to struggle, and at 6:59 Devil Bill Guerin skated past the defense, drew Tabaracci and then swept around behind for an open wrap-around and a 4-1 lead.

At that point, Capitals coach Terry Murray pulled Tabaracci for veteran Beaupre.

CAPITALS TONIGHT

Opponent: Quebec Nordiques

Site: Le Colisee, Quebec City

Time: 7:30

Radio: WMAL (630 AM)

TV: None

Outlook: Quebec has been struggling since the last time it played the Capitals on its home ice. Quebec won that game, 5-3, but the Capitals seemed to regroup after the loss. Quebec is 17-22-5, but should be well-rested. Washington, on the other hand, traveled to the Canadian city after last night's game with the Devils. The Caps are without D Jason Woolley (torn abdominal muscle); D Kevin Hatcher (broken hand) and LW Todd Krygier (shoulder separation) are day-to-day. Quebec reports D Alexei Gusarov (flu), LW Andrei Kovalenko (rib) and D ** Craig Wolanin (groin) are day-to-day; RW Chris Simon (back) and RW Owen Nolan (shoulder surgery) are out.

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