Capitals forced to settle for 2-2 tie with Islanders

March 30, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- The clock at USAir Arena said a Washington Capitals victory was 2:45 away, when New York Islander Marty McInnis worked some magic and left Capitals goalie Don Beaupre sitting on the ice, his head in his hands.

With Beaupre sprawled on the ice, McInnis somehow managed to find that small space between the goalie's waist and well-padded hip and blasted the puck through it into the net for a 2-2 tie.

The game ended that way in overtime, and the Capitals had to find their solace in the one point they took from this game, which moved them a point ahead of the eighth-place Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference and increased their advantage over ninth-place Philadelphia to five points.

But for Beaupre, who has seen victory elude him in the closing moments of the past three games, there was no consolation.

"I was holding my head, because we needed one save and I can't come up with it," he said. "You try to help out and every night something goes wrong. You try to stay positive, but it wears on you."

Beaupre faced just 15 shots and on the one that got under him, he had no idea where it was.

"I knew it had come out," he said. "But I didn't know who was there or where it was. I was just trying to cover the side. And, somehow, it goes in and it's just so frustrating, after the guys have played so well."

The Capitals came into this game with several things to prove. First, they wanted to show they could win at home, where their record is now 14-13-9.

Then there was the issue of whether they could hold a lead.

For 57 minutes it looked like those questions would be answered positively, as the Caps forged ahead 1-0 and then 2-1 on goals by Joe Juneau and Dave Poulin.

But then, as is so often the case for this team, it came apart.

Veteran Dale Hunter was called for high sticking, putting the Islanders on the power play, and McInnis took advantage.

It was a disappointing ending for Washington and the 13,917 fans.

The Caps contingent of Poulin, Hunter, Dimitri Khristich, Kelly Miller, Sylvain Cote and Joe Reekie combined to keep New York's potent offensive leaders Pierre Turgeon, Steve Thomas and Derek King bottled up all night.

But then with 2:25 left in the first period, Benoit Hogue and Dave Chyzowski got out on a two-on-one break against Caps defenseman Kevin Hatcher, and Chyzowski, who was recalled from Salt Lake City of the International League on Monday, scored his first NHL goal since Oct. 19, 1991.

And then McInnis came through for the first time since March 10.

"It's a good point, a good point for the team," said King. "We can use anything right now to build on. It was a good tie."

It wasn't terrific for the Capitals, but it was an improvement, coming on the heels of an embarrassing, 6-4 loss to Boston in which they gave up three short-handed goals.

"We deserved to win," said Washington coach Jim Schoenfeld.

"All you can do is deserve victory. The squibbed ones happen. You just hope it balances out in the end."

Washington could have secured the victory early on, if rookie Pat Peake, playing in only his second game since missing 14 games with a cracked rib, could have converted one of his many steals in front of the Islanders net.

And they could have won it early in overtime, if Miller had been able to put one of his two up-close shots away.

But that, of course, has not been the Capitals' way. They are intent on making their games -- and the playoff race -- exciting until the end.

NOTES: Capitals D Shawn Anderson suffered strained abdominal muscles in the first period and will be out three to four days. . . . RW Peter Bondra was scratched from the starting lineup, as was RW Tim Bergland, LW Todd Krygier and D John Slaney.

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