Penguins hold off Caps, 2-1

April 20, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- No one expected this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins to be easy. But who expected this?

Last night, the Capitals fought the Pittsburgh Penguins as well as the game officials and lost, 2-1, in Game 2 of this best-of-seven series.

"All we've asked from the beginning is a level playing field," said Washington coach Jim Schoenfeld. "If the rules are different for some players than others, let us know before the game.

"What you saw tonight was a team that was willing to pay the price and not given a fair chance.

"Maybe it will take one of our guys running out of the penalty box after an official to get a fair shot -- but tonight we didn't get it," Schoenfeld said, referring to the time two weeks ago when Mario Lemieux did just that and barely got a reprimand.

When Jim Gregory, the NHL's vice president of officials was asked about Schoenfeld's comment on the rules being different for different players, he said that was a "matter for the league office to answer."

The Capitals were down two men 5:54 into the first period, when Dale Hunter responded "to two punches in the face from Lemieux."

That set up Pittsburgh's first goal, a put-back by Lemieux at the post at 6:19.

The second Penguins goal came at 9:06, while Lemieux was illegally standing in the crease. Rick Tocchet lofted the puck over rookie goaltender Byron Dafoe, who thought he had the puck under him.

NHL supervisor of officials Matt Pavelich said he asked referee Rob Shick and his linesmen if they saw Lemieux in the crease.

"No one saw Lemieux in the crease at the time the goal was scored," Pavelich said, adding it was not reviewable under league rules.

"Dafoe was sensational," said Schoenfeld. "What chance did he have, with a man in the crease? If the ref isn't looking at the crease when a goal is scored, I don't know where he's looking."

The two franchises have a long-running rivalry, and it became more intense after Washington's 5-3 victory Sunday when the Caps learned their top defenseman, Sylvain Cote, would be lost for up to three weeks with a broken orbital bone.

Last night, the series intensified, with Pittsburgh defenseman Peter Taglianetti catching Caps center Dave Poulin's stick across his throat, forcing him from the game with a bruised voice box and to the hospital for a throat X-ray.

Washington's Dale Hunter left the game at the end of the second period with "a leg strain" from being hooked during a power play.

"That's playoff hockey and playoff officiating," Hunter said. "We came in. We split. Thursday's another big game."

Washington left the Civic Arena and the Penguins' 15,317 fans with something to think about going into Game 3 tomorrow at USAir Arena, where 3,000 tickets are available.

Despite their increased effort, their well-designed scoring chances that Penguins coach Ed Johnston said "outnumbered Washington's 3-1," Pittsburgh could manage four shots in the final two periods and had its hands full holding off the determined Washington attack.

"It was a tough hockey game," Johnston said. "Parity is here. If we don't get the effort every night, we're not going to win."

Dafoe, who was the surprise starter, made every save after being set up for the two goals.

The Caps' offense couldn't get past Tom Barrasso, who stopped 34 shots.

NOTES: The Caps' request for a review of the Sunday incident in which defenseman Sylvain Cote suffered a fractured orbital bone under his right eye resulted in nothing. Pavelich, who reviewed the tape, said it was an "unfortunate incident" but recommended no further action.

Washington .. 0 .. 1 .. 0 .. -- .. 1

Pittsburgh .. 2 .. 0 .. 0 .. -- .. 2




(Series tied, 1-1)


Sunday: Caps 5, Penguins 3

Last night: Penguins 2, Caps 1


Date ...... Time ... Site

Tomorrow .. 7:38 ... Washington

Saturday .. 7:38 ... Washington

Monday .... 7:38 ... Pittsburgh

April 27*.. 7:38 ... Washington

April 29*.. 7:38 ... Pittsburgh

* - If necessary

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