Caps squander 3-goal lead in tie with Flames

March 07, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- The Calgary Flames were without their two top scorers on a three-game losing streak and leg weary from four games in six days.

By the end of the first period against the Washington Capitals yesterday afternoon at USAir Arena, they were behind by three goals.

Calgary was there for the taking. But the Capitals didn't take. The Capitals took the lead twice only to wind up in a 4-4 overtime tie on home ice.

"I'm not upset," said Capitals coach Jim Schoenfeld. "I'm not. We didn't lose. That's something this organization has to realize. It was a well-played game. We played great. We didn't lose. Let's learn to take some of the good out of this. We'll take what we can get. We got a point."

One point.

For the second game in a row, it should have been two. The Capitals also blew a two-goal lead against the Philadelphia Flyers Friday and settled for a 3-3 tie.

Now the Capitals must play the Boston Bruins, an Eastern Conference foe, tonight and then travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a neutral site game with the NHL-leading New York Rangers Wednesday.

As the Eastern Conference chase to the postseason winds down over the next 17 games, those two points that got away could become critical.

The Buffalo Sabres continue to win, beating Detroit, 3-2, yesterday to stretch the margin between themselves and the seventh-place Capitals, to five points.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia and Florida aren't that far behind in eighth and ninth.

Still, as Schoenfeld said, the Capitals didn't lose yesterday. But that was not their fault.

With seven seconds left in over time, Flames left wing Gary Roberts and right wing Theoren Fleury got out front on a two-on-one break, with Fleury making the perfect pass to Roberts for what should have been the winning goal.

"If Roberts would have controlled the puck, if he handles the puck, it's in the net, and we would have lost right there," said Beaupre, who remains one win away from NHL career victory No. 250. "I walk away today and I don't feel like I've accomplished very much. With so few shots to face, you feel almost like a spectator."

With several Capitals and Flames lined up in front of him with 11:04 gone in the third period, spectate and guess were all Beaupre could do.

The Capitals had just won the faceoff and Mike Ridley was trying to make a clearing pass before leaving the ice, but Paul Ranheim picked it up, got it to Roberts and Roberts got it to Trent Yawney, who made the long-range blast to tie the game.

It was the one goal that seemed to bother Schoenfeld.

"We won the faceoff and had the puck along the boards," said Schoenfeld. "We had a fellow along the boards, and instead of taking the hit to freeze it, he just chinked away to the point.

"That's just a matter of paying the price. That's one of the individual mistakes we're talking about. Next time, we just hope that player knows enough to take a hit."

The Capitals had taken the lead on first-period goals by Ridley, Peter Bondra and Steve Konowalchuk, who scored the last goal in the period on a wonderful display of teamwork among Dale Hunter, Dimitri Khristich and Konowalchuk.

Washington's last goal was a beauty by defenseman Sylvain Cote, who followed up shots by Ridley and Jones for a 4-3 lead.

NOTES: Dimitri Khristich was called for hitting from behind on Gary Roberts with seven seconds left in the game. Roberts suffered a "whiplash" injury. Khristich was given a five-minute major. It's the kind of play that could come under review by the league. . . . All but five minutes of the second period was played by special teams. . . . D Enrico Ciccone was scratched from yesterday's lineup.

CAPITALS TONIGHT

Opponent: Boston Bruins

Site: Boston Garden

Time: 7:35

TV: None

Radio: WMAL (630 AM)

Outlook: The Capitals have lost only once in their last six games, but the team goes into Boston today off back-to-back ties that could have been wins. They blew a two-goal lead to Philadelphia Friday and wound up tied, 3-3. They blew a three-goal lead to Calgary yesterday and wound up tied, 4-4. G Don Beaupre, who has started seven straight games, will have tonight off and rookie goalie Olie Kolzig will be in net. Washington's C Dave Poulin (asthma) is probable, RW Pat Peake (rib cartilage) is day-to-day and G Rick Tabaracci (sprained knee) is out. The Bruins report RW Steve Heinze (knee) and D David Shaw (knee) are day-to-day.

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