Caps beat Senators, 8-4, need one point to clinch

April 10, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- Sometimes the Washington Capitals can dazzle.

Last night, with Todd Krygier scoring his first hat trick and Kelly Miller producing his first two-goal game of the season, the Capitals did indeed dazzle.

They battered the Ottawa Senators, 8-4, to end a three-game losing streak and move to one point of clinching an NHL playoff berth for the 12th straight year. They also received an ovation from the USAir Arena crowd of 17,472.

"You just shoot them and sometimes they go in," Krygier said of his offensive show. The Washington left wing had been scratched from six of the past seven games and three straight before last night.

"This makes up for a lot that should have gone in," he said. "I'm excited. My first career hat trick! Hopefully, I can get something next game, too."

VTC Washington could clinch a playoff spot as early as tonight if the math shakes out right in games between the New York Islanders and New York Rangers and the Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils.

The Capitals can clinch if:

* either the Islanders or Panthers lose;

* the Islanders and the Panthers tie, or

* the Islanders and Panthers lose. (In this case, the Caps would clinch the seventh of eight playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.)

If the Islanders and Panthers win tonight, the Caps can qualify for the playoffs with a tie or victory against Winnipeg at USAir Arena on Tuesday or in Buffalo on Thursday.

Last night did not start out well for Washington. The Capitals were on a power play a little more than a minute into the game, but the Senators were controlling the puck. And wide open in the slot was left wing Phil Bourque, who let go a slap shot that blew past Washington goalie Rick Tabaracci for a 1-0 lead.

But 14 minutes later, Joe Reekie, Dave Poulin and Craig Berube keyed a frenetic charge that ended with Reekie and Poulin getting the puck to Berube, who was cutting and falling through the right circle.

Berube kept his balance long enough to swing his stick and deposit the puck in the net for a 1-1 tie.

The play keyed a Washington run during which the Caps scored four goals in 3 minutes, 11 seconds.

"All I thought was let's get the puck deep, get some banging going," Berube said. "A shift like that helps everybody. That's my job."

After Berube's goal, Miller, Krygier and Keith Jones scored, and Ottawa coach Rick Bowness replaced goalie Darrin Madeley with Craig Billington.

Krygier scored the only goal of the second period with 3:50 gone for a 5-1 Washington lead.

Washington stumbled a bit in the third, and Ottawa got back-to-back goals by Claude Boivin and Alexandre Daigle with in the first 2:11 of the period.

"You can't print most of what I said to them," Capitals coach Jim Schoenfeld said of the timeout he called at that point. "I told them to start paying the price. That they had started to take shortcuts. I just reminded them they can't take shortcuts and win."

Michal Pivonka responded with a goal at 3:13. Miller then scored his second goal of the game to make it 7-3 with 11:03 to go, and Krygier scored his third with 4:22 left for the final margin.

"Todd Krygier had a whale of a game," Schoenfeld said. "He's been out of the lineup, but that's a pro. He has kept a positive attitude and made the most of his opportunity. I'd say there's a real good chance he'll play Tuesday."

Ottawa 1 0 3 -- 4

Washington 4 1 3 -- 8

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