Caps' change: goalie named early

May 05, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- During the Stanley Cup playoffs, Washington Capitals coach Jim Schoenfeld has steadfastly refused to divulge his starting goaltender until after the game-day skate.

But yesterday, he startled reporters by volunteering that Don Beaupre will be in net tonight for Game 3 of this best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series with the New York Rangers.

The Capitals are down 2-0 in the series, which continues with tonight's game and Game 4 at the USAir Arena.

If the Capitals hope to send the series back to New York, it will take a sterling performance from their goalie, as well as everyone else on the ice.

"Donnie Beaupre is fine and will play [tonight]," Schoenfeld said. "I'm using him because we'll win with him."

Beaupre has been Washington's hottest goaltender, winning all four games in the team's quarterfinal series that eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins.

He started Game 1 in this series. But Beaupre lost, 6-3, and aggravated a pulled groin muscle he had sustained against Pittsburgh.

He was not available for Game 2, and Rick Tabaracci started and played well but lost, 5-2.

"I'm expecting a lot out of myself," said Beaupre, adding that his leg is not a problem.

"I want, not to make just some saves, but all the saves," he said. "We're all expecting a lot in this game -- good defense, the forwards to pop a few goals.

"We're going to throw everything we have out there. This game is in our building, and we want to win. We win, and it turns into a series. There's always a turning point, and we don't want to go down three games."

No matter how good Beaupre is, however, the Capitals have to score to win. And lately, scoring, while timely, has been at a minimum.

"No one on this team is off the hook," said Schoenfeld. "Everybody is accountable for scoring goals when they have the puck and an opportunity to score."

In Game 1, Washington had 11 odd-man rushes and scored on only one, by Michal Pivonka. In Game 2, they again had an ample number of

chances -- some of them tremendous -- that could have put them ahead by three goals in the first period alone. Instead, they went to the locker room after one period tied 1-1.

In the second period, they again dominated most of the play but failed to finish.

Schoenfeld said his team created "a lot of oohs and ahhs," but they don't win hockey games.

"We simply missed the net a lot," said Mike Ridley, who has two goals in this series. "We just have to bear down."

In two games, Washington has five goals and the Rangers have 11. Against Pittsburgh, the Caps didn't allow more than three goals in a game.

"I haven't scored in two games, but it's not because I've been shut down," said Capitals forward Joe Juneau. "It's very frustrating for everybody, because we're actually getting more chances against the Rangers than we did against Pittsburgh. But we've had no luck. But luck changes."

Schoenfeld believes it is up to the Capitals to make their good fortune through execution.

Offensively, their concentration has to improve, and when the chance is there, the puck has to go in.

Defensively, the team has to continue to improve in the absence of Calle Johansson and Jim Johnson.

Johansson has been out with a damaged nerve in his leg since Game 6 of the Pittsburgh series, when he was clubbed from behind by Shawn McEachern.

Johnson's knee injury has kept him out since the first week of April.

The Capitals made less than a handful of mistakes Tuesday, but New York scored on every one.

Which brings Washington to Game 3, still looking for the franchise's first victory in May.

"It's not a deep hole," Schoenfeld said. "A lot of teams have been up 2-0 and lost series, and other teams have been down 0-2 and come back to win a series. We're that team.

"We've not been a team, while I've been here, that is easily discouraged. To a man, we believe we're going to

win this series."

Just how much they believe comes through when talking to Peter Bondra. "We're going to win both these next two games at home," Bondra said. "We almost had Game 2 in New York. All we have to do is finish our chances.

"The Rangers aren't that good. They are not unbeatable. . . . They have all the big names from the past, but it is not the past now. They give us a lot of open room. We had unbelievable chances. We just have to put the puck in the net."

And keep it out of their own. Yesterday, Schoenfeld seemed delighted after dropping his little bomb about Beaupre.

"The Rangers will probably think I'm lying," Schoenfeld said, and then laughed wickedly.

CAPITALS TONIGHT

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Eastern Conference semifinals

Opponent: New York Rangers

Site: USAir Arena, Landover

Time: 7:38

TV/Radio: HTS/WITH (1230 AM), WMAL (630 AM)

Tickets: 2,000 available

Outlook: After getting a look at D Jason Woolley in Game 2 on Tuesday, Washington has decided to keep him with the team as an emergency call-up and sent rookie D Todd Nelson back to Portland. On the injury side, D Calle Johansson (traumatized nerve in leg), C Michal Pivonka (groin) and D Jim Johnson (knee ligaments) remain out. New York reports no injuries.

CAPS vs. RANGERS

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Eastern Conference semifinals

(Best of seven; Rangers lead, 2-0) Results

Game 1 -- Rangers 6, Caps 3

Game 2 -- Rangers 5, Caps 2

Schedule

Day Site Time TV

Today Wash. 7:38 HTS

Saturday Wash. 7:38 HTS

Monday N.Y.* 7:38 20

Wednesday Wash.* 7:38 HTS

May 13 N.Y.* 7:38 20

*-If necessary

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