Oilers put 4-2 hurting on Capitals Breakaway goals stop Washington


EDMONTON, Alberta -- Not to say that things are going bad for the Washington Capitals, but the guy that scored the winning goal against them last night left the building in a skirt and tiara.

Esa Tikkanen's breakaway goal gave the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 lead at the second intermission, and then Josef Beranek added one of his own in a 4-2 decision over Washington.

It was Tikkanen's first goal and second point in 12 games this season. He celebrated at the Oilers' Halloween party dressed as a ballerina.

"It's been 12 games. I'm not in the scoring, I'm not in the newspapers, I'm changing lines all the time," Tikkanen said in his heavy Finnish accent. "Why not change my luck?"

The Oilers' luck stayed the same, as they won their second straight after their worst start in franchise history. The Capitals' fortunes weren't as good, as they dropped the third of four games on this road trip.

The two breakaway goals did in the Capitals, a familiar pattern this season.

"You've got to stop one of them," said goalie Don Beaupre, "just to get things going, turn things around."

Washington stepped on to Northlands Coliseum ice with only three 20-goal scorers in their lineup due to a rash of injuries. Finishing touch around the net was the difference Saturday.

"Well, yeah," Beaupre said. "[Dimitri] Kristich and [Randy] Burridge are goal scorers. They are definitely guys who can put it away."

Meanwhile, Tikkanen's personal woes have been the same. He's a $900,000 player with two points thus far. Edmonton fans booed him loudly early in the second period.

"I heard them," said Tikkanen, who admits that for $900,000 two points and a minus-13 rating isn't good enough over 12 games. "I've been reading where [goalie Mike] Vernon in Calgary had more points than me. I have to take the heat. I have to carry this team along."

Playing the second of back-to-back games and their third in four nights, the Capitals may have produced enough chances to pull off an Alberta sweep after winning, 3-1, in Calgary on Friday night. But Oilers goalie Bill Ranford would have nothing of it, stopping 25 shots. The sophomore Czech Beranek had a goal and an assist.

The Oilers had led 3-2 after two periods, but Beranek's breakaway goal, the first of the season for the game's first star, sealed the win with just over five minutes to play.

The Capitals got two goals from forwards, but many of their best chances came from rushes by defensemen such as Calle Johansson and Kevin Hatcher. In Calgary, all of the Capitals' goals came from their defensive corps.

The Oilers held the better of the play in the first period and outshot the Capitals 8-6, but Washington went to the dressing room with a 1-1 tie after Peter Bondra (10th) matched Craig Simpson's seventh goal for Edmonton.

Washington rookie Steve Konowalchuk scored his first National Hockey League goal to put the Capitals ahead 2-1 in the second period. The Salt Lake City native fired one through Ranford's legs, and got the puck as a momento .

The lead was a memory for Washington when Brian Glynn did his Mike Gartner impression, one-timing a 45-foot shot past Beaupre on the power play. Then Tikkanen, whom fans at the Northlands Coliseum had booed moments earlier, scored his first goal of the season, deking Beaupre on a breakaway to make it 3-2 Oilers after two.

NOTES: Murray went with recent Baltimore call-ups Keith Jones, Shawn Anderson and Konowalchuk and sat Kevin Miller, who had just three points.

Washington 1 1 0 -- 2

Edmonton 1 2 1 -- 4

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