Krygier's last-minute goal lifts Caps Left wing beats Healy, turns back Rangers, 3-2

November 10, 1996|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER -- A play that didn't appear to have any chance of success proved the difference last night as the Washington Capitals beat the New York Rangers, 3-2, at USAir Arena.

The Rangers were pressing, defensemen included, when Todd Krygier sneaked away up the middle of the ice as Joe Juneau was gaining control and flipping the puck ahead to him.

Krygier beat Rangers goalie Glenn Healy to the glove side with 58 seconds remaining with a shot that was nowhere near as tough as the ones Healy had been stopping all evening.

Said Juneau: "I guess instinct figures into a play like that quite often. Sometimes, you don't know how you did it. But I did know [Krygier] would be out there. I'm not sure, but I think the reason he beat Healy with the shot is he surprised him with how quickly tTC he got the shot off."

The Rangers tied it at 2-2 at 11: 09 of the final period when Caps goalie Jim Carey decided to play a rolling puck instead of smothering it and forcing a faceoff as he had been doing all game.

Somehow, the puck popped in the air, veteran Patrick Flatley caught it, dropped it, turned and beat Carey high over the catching glove.

"This shows us what we can do when we put our minds to it and work," continued Juneau. "We beat them up there [New York] in a similar-type game. We've got guys here who can get the goals, we've just got to get it working."

It appeared things were going New York's way when Calle Johansson flipped a perfect lead pass to Mark Messier, sending him in alone on Carey. The only trouble was that Johansson and Carey were wearing the home white while Messier was dressed in visiting blue.

No matter. Carey stopped the future Hall of Famer and, a couple of minutes later, did the same thing to Wayne Gretzky. The Great One made a brilliant look-away pass and spin to free himself, then got a return pass alone 10 feet in front of Carey. Again, Carey, who finished with 23 saves, was up to the task.

"You don't like to see it happen that way too often," said Caps coach Jim Schoenfeld, "but us giving them a couple of freebies early got Jim [Carey] into the game right off and that was good. Once everything settled down, chances were few and far between. But that's what we wanted. You certainly don't want to get in a run-and-gun with the Rangers."

The Caps courted disaster once too often late in the first period when, on the Rangers' first power play, Luc Robitaille put a rebound past a sprawled Carey.

The Caps, out-hustling the Rangers, tied it 5: 56 into the second period when Phil Housley scored.

Many people were jumping, pushing, diving and otherwise expending energy in front of the Rangers' net when suddenly the puck was behind Healy. A couple of dozen replays and a phone call later, referee Mark Faucette gave it a thumbs up.

Two seconds past the midpoint of the middle session, Joe Juneau spotted Johansson sneaking in from his position at the left point. No sooner did the puck arrive on Johansson's stick when it was up and over Healy for the go-ahead goal.

NOTES: The Capitals obtained center Andrei Nikolishin from the Hartford Whalers for defenseman Curtis Leschyshyn. Nikolishin, 23, was selected in the 1992 entry draft by Hartford. He played 12 games with the Whalers this season, scoring two goals and five assists. The 5-foot-11, 204-pound Russian native was sixth in team scoring last year with 14 goals and 37 assists in 61 games. Leschyshyn was recently acquired from Colorado along with forward Chris Simon. The nine-year veteran has 141 points in 524 games.

Pub Date: 11/10/96

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