Bondra's goals, Carey guide Caps by Quebec

April 01, 1995|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- If the Washington Capitals keep this up, they may have to worry about how to make ice at USAir Arena in May and June.

They faced the winningest team in the NHL last night with an injury-driven lineup -- and won, 6-4, over the Quebec Nordiques.

To do it, they used a two-goal performance by Peter Bondra, who has 14 goals this month, and a hard-working defense.

"We knew what to expect," said Quebec leading scorer Joe Sakic, who was shut out last night and on the ice for every Capitals goal. "They came out hard and we didn't counter. They were on top of their game right off the bat. . . . Even after Peter [Forsberg] and Owen [Nolan] got us back into the game and got us the lead, they just kept coming. They just outworked us, and you can't let that happen in this league."

It is the way the Capitals play.

And last night, despite a couple of setbacks, they played it to perfection.

It was the first six-goal performance of the season for Washington, which joined the Pittsburgh Penguins as the only teams to have beaten the Nordiques twice this season.

Washington (14-12-7) moved back into fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but faces the Boston Bruins, the conference's fourth-place team, tomorrow in a 3 p.m. game here.

"This was a big game for us," said Bondra, who has scored in a league-high seven straight games. "Just look at the standings. They are No. 1 in the league. We've beaten them twice. It's nice. Hopefully, we will beat Boston, too."

The Capitals suffered through a nervous second period in which rookie goalie Jim Carey was pulled for almost three minutes, when the Caps fell behind 3-2. But, he was back in the net for crunch time.

"It was a good coaching move," Carey said. "Maybe it shook me up. Maybe it shook up the team. Certainly it didn't hurt. We rallied and I made the one-on-one save at the end, which was the least I could do."

By the time Bondra scored what would be the winning goal with 8:16 gone in the third period, Washington and the 16,359 fans had seen just about everything.

They had seen their two-goal advantaged eroded by three straight power-play goals by Mike Ricci, Forsberg at even strength, and Nolan, short-handed.

They had seen the sensational Carey pulled, and seen the Caps storm back on goals by Steve Konowalchuk and Dale Hunter to regain the lead.

And they were thrilled by Bondra's second goal and another by defenseman Mark Tinordi.

"We knew this would be a tough game," said Washington coach Jim Schoenfeld. "They're banged up. We're banged up. But we played as a complete team tonight. Quebec is highly skilled and to beat them, you have to take away their time and space, and even then, great players like Owen Nolan are going to get free."

The Capitals could have been history at the 13:16 mark of the first period. That's when center Kevin Kaminski was called for a five-minute major penalty for charging.

"Killing that penalty and killing the five-on-three at the same time, could be the game," said Schoenfeld. "It was great individual efforts and hard work. And even after we got through that, and gave up the short-handed goal, we didn't let it get us down. It just made everyone grit their teeth and dig down."

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