This time, Capitals skate winning path 6-2 win over Oilers averts Friday repeat


LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals wanted to guard against a repeat of Friday night and did so yesterday with a 6-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers before 16,323 at the Capital Centre.

Friday, Washington blew a three-goal lead in the third period and lost to the lowly Philadelphia Flyers, 7-6.

Yesterday's victory was the 42nd of the season for the Capitals, the most since 1986. It gave them a 42-25-7 record and clinched second place in the Patrick Division.

Dino Ciccarelli led the way with two goals. Al Iafrate and Kevin Hatcher and a goal and an assist each.

Washington, which is 4-1-1 in its past six home games, fell behind 1-0 after one period when Joe Murphy,

left unguarded in the slot, beat goaltender Jim Hrivnak from close range.

The Capitals found the target in the second period, as Ciccarelli deflected a shot by Iafrate from the top of the slot past goalie Ron Tugnutt. Also, Iafrate, on a break, deked Tugnutt and scored from just off the crease. And Ciccarelli stole the puck at center ice and scored on a breakaway. Finally, Dimitri Khristich scored on the rebound of a shot by Hatcher for a 4-1 lead. Ciccarelli has five goals in the past three games.

The barrage continued in the third period. Hatcher fired a shot from the right circle that caromed off the crossbar and into the net, and Peter Bondra scored on a cross-slot pass from Mike Ridley.

"I felt like I was weathering a storm," said Tugnutt, who faced 40 shots. "I was pelted by Washington shots, and they seemed to never stop coming."

Oilers coach Ted Green said: "Washington has four lines that can skate with anybody in the NHL. They had the legs, and we didn't.They outshot us, outscored us, outhit us and outplayed us."

Edmonton added a goal in the late going when Bernie Nicholls' shot from the point bounced off Ridley and past Hrivnak.

Hrivnak said: "I felt good. Edmonton got a couple of lucky goals. We had good defensive coverage, and it was kind of an easy game to play. I faced a few tough shots [the Oilers had 20 shots on goal], but not many rebounds because the guys cleared out the puck. The goalie is supposed to make the initial save; it's the rebounds that can kill you. I feel real confident playing now."

Ciccarelli, who has 34 goals, said: "We kept in mind what happened to us Friday night. We didn't want another letdown, and we kept it going for 60 minutes. After we got the three-goal lead we were thinking defense, but we were also creating turnovers with our forechecking. We seem to be rolling again, and we want to keep it up and have it carry over into the playoffs."

The Capitals scored three power-play goals. They have a total of seven in nine opportunities in the past two games.

"Our power play is going well now," said Iafrate. "I know the reason I'm here is to help generate some offense, and that's what I try to do. We didn't sit back after getting a three-goal lead, like we did Friday. Instead we played with treachery. We kept up the pressure."

Capitals coach Terry Murray said he was pleased with the job Hrivnak and the defense did. "We picked up the rush well coming through the neutral zone and did a good job in our zone on man-to-man coverage," he said. "One of our strengths is our defensemen jumping up into the offensive play. Guys like Iafrate, Hatcher and [Calle] Johansson. We got a solid effort, played well for 60 minutes.

"We picked up the tempo in the second period and took it to them. I figured that fatigue, since they played [Saturday in Boston], would be a factor in the third period."

NOTES: The Capitals have recalled D Ken Sabourin from the AHL Skipjacks to replace D Rod Langway, who is out with a pulled groin muscle. D Shawn Chambers (knee), G Mike Liut (back) and LW Randy Burridge (knee) also missed the game. . . . A Russian delegation led by Evgeniy Ivanovich Shaposhnikov, commander in chief of the armed forces, and Yegor Timorovich Gaidar, first deputy prime minister, attended yesterday's game.

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