Caps rake Maple Leafs for 2nd straight shutout Liut gets 4-0 victory; team is 5-1 at home


LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals are on a roll.

They lead the NHL in wins (10), are in first place in the Patrick Division (10-3-0), lead the league in scoring (60 goals) and have not allowed a goal in six periods.

Last night, before 16,192 at the Capital Centre, the Capitals ripped the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-0, for their second shutout win in a row.

Dino Ciccarelli, Calle Johansson, Todd Krygier and Michal Pivonka scored for the Capitals, who are 5-1 at home. Washington is two points ahead of the idle New York Rangers in the Patrick Division.

In addition to the offensive display, goalie Mike Liut and the Capitals' defense were superb. Tuesday, Don Beaupre stopped the Penguins in Pittsburgh, 8-0. The shutout was the first of the season and 25th of a 13-year career for Liut, who stopped 25 shots.

"It's a milestone, something I wanted," said Liut of his 25th shutout. "It's something I've been striving for my entire career. I had a shutout last year until it was broken up with about three minutes left, so I really wanted this one. I had that feeling. The game started well, and things started to go my way. It was good to get."

Capitals coach Terry Murray said the 25 shutouts "is just a testimony to the quality of the man and the player. I'm very happy for him. He truly deserves whatever honors he gets. He performed very well. It was also very rewarding to get the second straight shutout for our team."

Dave Tippett, who assisted on Pivonka's short-handed goal in the third period, said: "The entire team played well, especially the defense. The defense and Liut were just phenomenal."

Defenseman Johansson, who had an assist to go with his goal, also praised Liut.

"Mike was superb," he said. "He usually does the job, and tonight he came up big when he had to, especially in the first period when it took us awhile to get untracked. He was unbelievable."

Toronto coach Tom Watt agreed, saying: "We played well early on, but couldn't get the puck past Liut. He played a very strong game in the goal. Washington got a couple of power-play chances in the second period and capitalized on one, and we never seemed to recover."

Liut made 14 saves in the first period.

After the game, defenseman Ken Sabourin was assigned to the Baltimore Skipjacks of the American Hockey League and is expected to play tonight against the Utica Devils at the %o Baltimore Arena.

The victory was the second in a row for the Capitals over Toronto and assures them of the season series, which has one more game.

Washington opened the scoring at 8 minutes, 1 second of the second period on Ciccarelli's power-play goal off the rebound of a shot from the left point by Kevin Hatcher. Six minutes later, Johansson, steaming down the slot, took a pass from Kelly Miller in the left corner and beat Maple Leafs goalie Grant Fuhr from close range for a 2-0 lead.

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