PITTSBURGH -- The Washington Capitals entered last night's Stanley Cup playoff game against the Pittsburgh Penguins with the opportunity to take a 2-0 lead in the Patrick Division finals. To do so, it seemed as if they would have to slow the tempo of the game, much as they did in their victory Wednesday night.
But the Capitals found themselves in a high-scoring, wide-open game and lost, 7-6, when Kevin Stevens scored at 8 minutes, 10 seconds of overtime. The best-of-seven series is tied, 1-1.
The Capitals trailed after two periods, 5-3. But a newly found determination and a new goalie, Mike Liut, in the third period forced the overtime.
After two periods, it was clear to coach Terry Murray that the Capitals had to change their style of play.
"We had to play the way we did before [Wednesday night], without a lot of odd-man rushes," he said. "We got caught up in it [the fast-paced game]."
Murray replaced Don Beaupre with Liut after the second period.
"We tried to get things turned around a little bit," he said. "We were not playing the style of game we wanted to play."
It worked, because the Caps scored three straight goals in the third period to take a 6-5 lead. Dino Ciccarelli scored twice and Calle Johnasson once during an eight-minute span.
Five minutes after Johansson's goal, at 15:25, the Penguins' Randy Gilhen tied the game from a jumble in front of the net. After that, clutch saves by Liut on Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux, both of whom streaked toward the goal on breakaways, helped send the game into overtime.
Much as they had two nights before, the Capitals and Penguins began last night's game conservatively. After a few minutes, the Capitals began to take control at both ends of the ice, allowing the Penguins only two shots on goal in the first 10 minutes.
Two minutes after foiling a listless Penguins power play, Dale Hunter gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead at 12:42 on a rebound of a Dave Tippett shot.
Less than two minutes later, Lemieux stole the puck at the Capitals' blue line, circled behind the net and centered the puck to Phil Bourque, who beat Beaupre on a rebound of his shot to tie the game at 1.
With the pace of play picking up, the Penguins took a 2-1 lead at 18:11 when Joe Mullen raced into the slot to pick up a long rebound and beat Beaupre on the upper right side.
In the second period, the Penguins picked up where they left off, taking a 3-1 lead at 0:35 on a power-play goal by Mark Recchi. Tippett had been called for holding near the end of the first period and the penalty carried over. Recchi scored when he directed a Paul Coffey slap shot up and over the right shoulder of Beaupre.
That goal set the tone for the rest of the game: If the Capitals were going to win, they had to outshoot the Penguins. It was not a position they wanted to be in. And although the Capitals cut the lead to 3-2 on a power-play goal by John Druce at 3:46, they were not up to the task in the second period.
After Capitals left wing Nick Kypreos was called for charging at 4:21, the Penguins took a 4-2 lead when Coffey faked a slap shot from the point and instead found Recchi open down low, who knocked in his second goal of the game.
Washington 1 2 3 0 -- 6
Pittsburgh 2 3 1 1 -- 7
First period--1, Washington, Hunter 1 (Tippett, Ciccarelli), 12:42. 2, Pittsburgh, Bourque 2 (Recchi, Lemieux), 13:59. 3, Pittsburgh, Mullen 2 (Stevens, Murphy), 18:11. Penalties--Hrdina, Pit (cross-checking), 6:46; Iafrate, Was (roughing), 8:42; Johansson,
Was (roughing), 13:09; Errey, Pit (roughing), 13:09; Lalor, Was (roughing), 13:59; Tippett, Was (holding), 18:39.
Second period--4, Pittsburgh, Recchi 3 (Coffey, Lemieux), :35 (pp). 5, Washington, Druce 1 (Pivonka, Hunter), 3:46 (pp). 6, Pittsburgh, Recchi 4 (Coffey, Lemieux), 5:51 (pp). 7, Washington, Ridley 3 (Johansson), 11:36 (pp). 8, Pittsburgh, Stevens 4 (Coffey, Stanton), 13:35. Penalties--Pittsburgh bench, served by Stevens (too many men), 1:56; Kypreos, Was (charging), 4:21; Ciccarelli, Was (roughing), 7:23; Trottier, Pit (holding), 9:59; Iafrate, Was (roughing), 11:21; Errey, Pit (roughing), 11:21; Errey, Pit (charging), 15:06; Iafrate, Was (hooking), 17:10.
Third period--9, Washington, Ciccarelli 3 (Hatcher, Johansson), 2:17 (pp). 10, Washington, Ciccarelli 4 (Johansson, Khristich), 8:05. 11, Washington, Johansson 2 (Hunter, Leach), 10:26. 12, Pittsburgh, Gilhen 1 (Recchi, Stanton), 15:25. Penalties--Leach, Was (roughing), 1:00; Stevens, Pit (roughing), 1:00; Hunter, Was, major (fighting), 1:22; Trottier, Pit, major (fighting), 1:22; Roberts, Pit (hooking), 2:02; Roberts, Pit (elbowing), 8:17.
Overtime--13, Pittsburgh, Stevens 5 (Francis, Mullen), 9:10. Penalties--None.
Shots on goal--Washington 14-8-16-4--42. Pittsburgh 13-11-10-9--43. Power-play opportunities--Washington 3 of 6; Pittsburgh 2 of 6. Goalies--Washington, Beaupre (24 shots-19 saves), Liut, 0-1 (0:00 third, 19-17). Pittsburgh, Pietrangelo, 3-1 (42-36). A--16,164. Referee--Terry Gregson. Linesmen--Ron Finn, Kevin Collins.
Capitals vs. Penguins
+!Game 1 -- Capitals 4, Penguins 2
Game 2 -- Penguins 7, Caps 6, OT
Tomorrow -- At Capitals, 7:05 p.m.
Tuesday -- At Capitals, 7:35 p.m.
Thursday -- At Penguins, 7:35 p.m.
Saturday -- At Capitals, 7:35 p.m.*
April 29 -- At Penguins, 7:35 p.m.*
* -- if necessary