PITTSBURGH -- It took three periods and 40 seconds of overtime, but the Washington Capitals finally allowed goaltender Don Beaupre to celebrate his 250th career win, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-4, in a penalty-packed game.
"I knew with 15 or 16 left, it would probably happen this year," said a smiling Beaupre, who had not won in his past five games. "It was hard-fought, no doubt. It took overtime to do it, but Randy Burridge came through."
It was Burridge finishing off his second hat trick of the season -- and only the fourth of his career -- that ended Beaupre's wait.
"This stops the bleeding," said Burridge. "We needed to come up with a morale booster. You know, we've been playing some pretty good games and coming up with ties and losses and sometimes you start questioning yourself. I think this will boost our confidence a lot."
The outcome didn't please the Civic Arena crowd of 16,341, but it couldn't have made Washington happier.
The victory ended a six-game winless streak and strengthened Washington's grasp on seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
"This was huge," said Beaupre, only the 24th NHL goalie to reach the 250 plateau. "We're on a little bit of a downer here, and with three tough road games, to win the first one is really big."
The Capitals planned to practice here this morning before moving on to Dallas for a game Friday night.
"We've been playing this way, the only difference tonight was that the goal went in the net for us," said Capitals coach Jim Schoenfeld. "The only thing we had to change was the last three feet. Donnie Beaupre made the key saves that kept us in the game and our guys put the puck in the net. The last three feet, that was the difference."
Washington began the game with Burridge scoring one of the prettiest power-play goals of the season, as Michal Pivonka made a behind-the-net pass to Mike Ridley, who found Burridge in the slot for the goal 5:31 into the first period.
Pittsburgh's Scott Stevens then began a trend that would see the Penguins match the Capitals goal-for-goal through the second period.
Stevens, who had not scored in nine games, had two power-play goals and Joe Mullen, who had not scored in seven games, had one, as the Penguins kept the heat on.
But on this night, the Capitals were up to it. Defenseman Calle Johansson and Dale Hunter gave Washington 2-1 and 3-2 leads, and Burridge's second goal stretched the third-period lead to 4-2.
But there was certainly no quit in the Penguins, who came up with a little luck as well.
After Tomas Sandstrom scored to move the Penguins within 4-3, Stevens got the tying goal with 8:44 to play when a shot by Jaromir Jagr got tangled in the skates of defenseman Kevin Hatcher.
When the puck popped out, it was in the crease and neither Hatcher nor Beaupre could get it before Stevens tapped it into the net.
The first period was riddled with 16 penalties for 78 total minutes, including 10-minute misconducts to Pittsburgh's Ulf Samuelsson and Jeff Daniels and to Washington's Hunter, Beaupre and Craig Berube.
By the time the game was over, Hatcher also had collected a 10-minute misconduct.
"The atmosphere was like a playoff game," said Schoenfeld. "It's fever pitch and it was a little nasty."
Washington 1 1 2 1 -- 5
Pittsburgh 1 1 2 0 -- 4
First period--1, Washington, Burridge 21 (Ridley, Pivonka), 5:31 (pp). 2, Pittsburgh, Stevens 34 (Murphy, Jagr), 9:11 (pp). Penalties--Pittsburgh bench, served by DePalma (too many men), 2:22; Hunter, Was (roughing), 4:27; U.Samuelsson, Pit, minor-misconduct (roughing), 4:27; K.Samuelsson, Pit (roughing), 4:27; Burridge, Was (holding stick), 8:56; Berube, Was, minor-major-misconduct (unsportsmanlike conduct, fighting), 10:42; DePalma, Pit, major (fighting), 10:42; Washington bench, served by Bondra (unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:42; Hatcher, Was (roughing), 13:28; Beaupre, Was, served by Khristich, misconduct, 13:28; Hunter, Was, misconduct, 13:28; Daniels, Pit, misconduct, 13:28; Francis, Pit (elbowing), 17:30.
Second period--3, Washington, Johansson 6 (Jones, Ridley), 3:00. 4, Pittsburgh, Mullen 35 (Francis, McEachern), 13:32 (pp). Penalties--Iafrate, Was (roughing), 4:45; Taglianetti, Pit (roughing), 4:45; Barrasso, Pit, served by Jagr (high-sticking), 4:45; Hunter, Was (holding), 7:41; Hatcher, Was, misconduct, 7:41; Iafrate, Was (cross-checking), 13:12; Tamer, Pit (holding), 15:46.
Third period--5, Washington, Hunter 8 (Khristich, Johansson), 1:23. 6, Washington, Burridge 22 (Jones, Ridley), 5:21. 7, Pittbsurgh, Sandstrom 19 (Jagr, Murphy), 7:01. 8, Pittsburgh, Stevens 35 (Straka, Jagr), 11:16 (pp). Penalties--G.Brown, Pit (hooking), 2:09; Iafrate, Was (holding), 9:44; D.Brown, Pit (holding), 18:34
Overtime--9, Washington, Burridge 23 (Pivonka, Ridley), :40. Penalties--None. Shots on goal--Washington 7-11-12-1--31. Pittsburgh 14-7-6-0--27.
Power-play opportunities--Washington 1 of 7; Pittsburgh 3 of 7. Goalies--Washington, Beaupre, 20-13-6 (27 shots-23 saves). Pittsburgh, Barrasso, 14-12-4 (31-26). A--16,341. Referee--Rob Shick. Linesmen--Ron Asselstine, Mark Wheler.