The Washington Capitals yesterday recalled goalie Jim Hrivnak from the Baltimore Skipjacks to play a backup role.
"We have two of the best veteran goalies in the NHL in Don Beaupre and Mike Liut, and three of the best young goaltending prospects in the minor leagues in Hrivnak, Olaf Kolzig and Byron Dafoe," said Capitals general manager David Poile. "We wanted to give Jim experience on the NHL level, practicing with the team every day."
The Capitals will have three goalies for the rest of the season, public relations director Lou Corletto said.
The Skipjacks are down to one goalie, Kolzig. Dafoe, the other Capitals rookie, is on loan to the AHL New Haven Nighthawks. Dafoe could be recalled from New Haven, or Shawn Simpson, color commentator on Capitals radio, could be reactivated to back up Kolzig with the Skipjacks.
Hrivnak was 10-8-3 with a 3.36 goals-against average with Baltimore.
On a slight roll: The Capitals have won two games in a row and pulled to within five points of the first-place New York Rangers in the Patrick Division.
The Capitals, who begin their longest road trip of the season (four games in eight days) tonight in Quebec against the Nordiques, beat the Rangers Friday and the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.
John Druce, who scored the first regular-season hat trick of his NHL career in the 6-2 win over San Jose, said he believes the Capitals are starting a stretch drive that could carry them through the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"What we need is some consistency," Druce said. "Now we've won two games in a row, and it's something to build on, something to help us down the stretch. We had been winning two, losing two, winning three and losing one. Now we have to sustain a winning streak and there is no better time to start than right now."
Druce, the hero of the playoffs in 1990, had been struggling while the rest of the Capitals were sailing. However, in the past 15 games, Druce has turned things around and scored nine of his 13 goals.
"The reason is that I'm playing with some great talent," he said, naming Dino Ciccarelli, Dale Hunter, Peter Bondra and Michal Pivonka, who had four assists against the Sharks. "All of them have helped greatly, but I also believe that I'm skating better now, creating more chances and putting the puck on goal more consistently."
Milestones: Capitals defenseman Kevin Hatcher has played in his 500th NHL game and right wing Ciccarelli played in his 800th NHL game and has more than 100 NHL goals. Pivonka also has 100 NHL goals. Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins defenseman, has scored 1,000 NHL points, and Denis Savard, Montreal Canadiens center, scored his 400th goal.