PITTSBURGH -- Don Beaupre was not on the ice when the winning goal was scored in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals last night. His view was from the bench. It was much safer there.
There are some jobs that require all of a person's attention -- defending a goal in the NHL being one that comes to mind.
"You've got pucks coming at you 90 mph, and there are a lot of things you can't allow to bother you," said Capitals coach Terry Murray. "One of them is worrying about what's happening with those other three guys on the ice."
Beaupre was charged with two second-period penalties, a 10-minute misconduct for protesting the lack of an interference call and a tripping charge that led to Pittsburgh's tie-breaking power-play goal. Murray saw those incidents as evidence Beaupre was losing his concentration and replaced him at 13:02 with Jim Hrivnak.
"I thought he was distracted," Murray said, "and I don't think a goaltender can afford to lose his focus."
Just 59 seconds after the switch, Hrivnak became the victim of Penguins winger Jaromir Jagr's stick-handling skills.
Jagr carried the puck from the opposite blue line, sliding it past Cote and bouncing it off Calle Johansson in the crease. Winger Shawn McEachern picked it up there and lifted it by Hrivnak for his 14th goal and the 4-2 lead that would stand up against Peter Bondra's late second-period goal and the 12 shots the Capitals (10-13-2) threw at Tom Barrasso in the final 20 minutes.
Beaupre started this game despite the fact Hrivnak had been effective in a 6-4 victory against the Penguins (17-6-3) Friday night that extended the Caps' unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-1).
It looked as if it would work out beautifully when the Capitals surged to a 2-0 first-period lead.
Only 33 seconds into a two-man advantage after penalties on Kevin Stevens and Ulf Samuelsson, Michal Pivonka wristed a shot from the right circle that was knocked clear by Barrasso, but Dimitri Khristich poked the rebound into the left side of the net for a 1-0 Capitals lead.
Pittsburgh was at full strength when the Capitals made it 2-0. Defenseman Al Iafrate cleared a faceoff win to winger Kelly Miller at the left point. His slap shot was smacked out of the air and past Barrasso by Sylvain Cote at 9:36.
After the Penguins squeezed in a goal by winger Rick Tocchet before the period break to make it 2-1, the Capitals managed only one shot in the next 12 minutes.
"You have to execute perfectly against a team like that," Iafrate said. They have so many gifted players, and it's just a matter of time if you give them too many chances."
Left wing Kevin Stevens tied the game for Pittsburgh just 1:24 into the second period by knocking the rebound of a Larry Murphy slap shot past Beaupre, who was sufficiently jostled during the play and protested loudly for an interference call. He ,, was hit with a 10-minute misconduct and was later told by a linesman it was for slapping the puck at referee Bill McCreary.
HTC Beaupre pleaded not guilty to that charge, but argued self-defense when questioning the tripping call at 12:12 of the second period that set up Mario Lemieux's power-play goal and a 3-2 deficit the Capitals never overcame. Lemieux added an empty-netter with just 10 seconds left for his league-leading 29th goal.
"The crease was getting pretty crowded there, and I'd get elbowed in the head and there wouldn't be a call," Beaupre said. "I figured I had to clear some room."
Washington 2 1 0 -- 3
Pittsburgh 1 3 1 -- 5