Nordiques' comeback has some Capitals angry

March 13, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- Aesthetically, it was very nice. Players in different shades of blue with splashes of red and white, swirling around the ice.

The Capitals did what they do best, outshooting the other team (34-19), but lost to the Quebec Nordiques, 4-3.

The Nordiques, doing what the Capitals allow their opponents to best, rallied from a 3-1 deficit on three power-play goals to send Washington off on a three-game road trip carrying a six-game winless streak.

"It's individuals," said Capitals center Mike Ridley. "We turn the puck over. We think we're so great, we can do no wrong. We've got to play the system and it's not that difficult.

"We've got to get some guys to wake up and play a team game. We were playing a team game and it was working. Now it's a free-for-all again."

When Washington coach Jim Schoenfeld was asked about his team's performance, he said a few individual mistakes cost the Capitals the game.

"I can't fix it," he said of the breakdowns. "They have to fix it.

"We're looking for 20 leaders. Leadership is recognizing something has to be done, stating it and then going out and being the person to do it."

Washington goalie Don Beaupre again was denied his 250th win and had trouble stopping the second shots off rebounds.

His teammates had trouble, at times, controlling and clearing the puck from their own zone.

And Quebec goalie Stephane Fiset's record may only be 14-20-3, but he looked like a winner last night, as the Capitals could manage only two good chances on him during the third period.

They either missed the net, or shot into Fiset's body.

But it didn't go that way in the second period, as the Capitals pushed a 2-1 lead to 3-1 when Michal Pivonka and Todd Krygier relayed a pass to Kevin Hatcher for a slap shot that went through Fiset's legs with 2:22 gone in the period.

But then the 17,362 fans in USAir Arena were forced to endure, as Washington proceeded to blow a lead for the fourth time in five games.

Quebec chipped away, and with 3:39 gone, Valeri Kamensky scored a power-play goal.

Beaupre never saw the play that tied the game at 9:50. The Nordiques were again on the power play when Curtis Leschyshyn let go a slap shot through a screen that just cleared Beaupre's left shoulder for the 3-3 tie.

The Capitals pressed in the early moments of the third period, but with 9:19 gone, Sylvain Cote was given a questionable holding penalty.

Quebec's Mike Ricci got a break-away, but Capitals defenseman Al Iafrate was able to catch up and ride him off his shot. The puck came out to Tommy Sjodin, who took a slap shot that Beaupre blocked, but the rebound came out to a wide open and rushing Mats Sundin, who drove it past Beaupre with 9:41 left.

Mike Ridley and Peter Bondra also scored for the Capitals.

The Capitals' loss, combined with Philadelphia's 4-4 tie with Montreal, allowed the Flyers to climb within two points of seventh-place Washington in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Capitals now leave on a three-game road trip to Pittsburgh, Dallas and Tampa Bay, before returning here March 22 to play Hartford.

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