Lindros beats Iafrate, helps tie Caps

March 05, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals appeared to have two points in the bag. They had played terrific defense for the better part of three periods.

But in the end, it came down to Philadelphia's Eric Lindros and Washington's Al Iafrate. Two All-Stars meeting at the Capitals blue line, one-on-one.

And Lindros won.

He didn't win the game. No one did. But that was the play that allowed the Flyers to tie this game, 3-3, before a crowd of 17,273 at USAir Arena and extend the action to overtime, where neither team scored.

"When you see somebody like Iafrate coming through and he's stepping up on you, I guess it's more saving your life than it is trying to make a play," Lindros said. "I guess survival instincts take over and you just do what you can."

After holding a 3-2 lead since late in the first period, Washington allowed Lindros to make the survival pass into the Capitals' zone that Mikael Renberg was able to relay to Garry Galley, who lofted a perfect wrist shot over goalie Don Beaupre's left shoulder to tie the game with 1:07 to play.

"In that situation, against Lindros, you've got to use your whole body," said defenseman Sylvain Cote.

"Al tried a hip check. I don't know why. A hip check is something that's not very hard to do, but it's something you have to do a whole lot on a big guy like that. You've got to have the timing from practice for it. You know Al is a strong individual, and he's used to playing one-on-one, staying in front of the man and trying to hold him up. I don't know why he tried a hip check on

Eric Lindros."

Capitals coach Jim Schoenfeld didn't know why either, and Iafrate didn't hang around after the game to provide any insight.

But there was no doubt in Schoenfeld's mind that his big man failed to come through when the going got tough.

"It's a one-on-one situation, and their All-Star won," said Schoenfeld. "Individual errors cost us a point.

"It was his [Iafrate's] challenge from the get-go. It was Iafrate and Cote against Lindros . . . [Michal] Pivonka and [Kelly] Miller killed a lot of penalties, so we got some help from Hunter's line late -- but if you're going to win and go a long ways, you need your big guys to come up with the big plays -- and tonight that didn't happen."

The Caps continue to hold seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings, but missed a chance to extend their edge over the eighth-place Flyers.

Washington temporarily lost center Mike Ridley when he was high-sticked in the second period by Flyers defenseman Jason Bowen.

But Ridley demonstrated how important these final 20 games are, returning to the ice in the third period to play his regular shifts.

Washington was 1-1-6 in overtime games before last night.

Overtime was the last thing the Caps and Beaupre wanted. Still, the Capitals almost pulled this game out.

Pivonka and Miller got out on a breakaway with 1:48 to go in overtime, but Flyers goalie Dominic Roussel, who was shaky in the first period, came up big on Miller's shot, and the other two he faced in the extra period.

Roussel made an amazing turnaround after the first period, when he gave up goals to Dimitri Khristich, Pivonka and Peter Bondra on 10 shots. Khristich's goal was his first in six games and tied the score at 1.

After being pulled for 1:47 in the first period, Roussel was perfect, stopping 24 shots over the final two periods of regulation and overtime.

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