Powerless Caps net only 3-3 tie Canucks extend extra-man drought


LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals worked hard for everything they got, but all they got was a 3-3 tie after a strong effort against the Vancouver Canucks.

The tie ends a two-game losing streak for Washington, but now the Capitals have something else to worry about:

Power plays missed.

Washington is at 0-for-18 and counting as it failed to convert six of them last night, including one that gave it an extra-man advantage for a full three minutes in overtime.

"Overall, I thought we played real well," said Capitals coach Terry Murray. "But the power play is a concern. We've talked about it, but because of the schedule we haven't had time to practice it. We had the door open the way you want it in overtime, but they forced us to dump the puck and we couldn't get the shot we needed."

In the end it came down to Capitals goalie Don Beaupre making two big saves in the closing seconds of overtime and defenseman Sylvain Cote riding the Canucks off the puck to secure the tie.

The Capitals, who had a seven-game win streak until five days ago, are 0-2-1 since and clearly realize that they haven't beaten a team considered to be a Stanley Cup contender since Dec. 29, when they beat the New York Rangers, 4-3, in overtime.

"It would be a real confidence booster to win a big game," said Beaupre, who made 28 saves last night. "We played a good, solid game tonight against a very good team, but there is just a little something missing. I'm sure we're going to find it."

A slap shot by Michal Pivonka from just inside the blue line nearly provided a victory in regulation for Washington.

Pivonka, who is not known for 50-foot slap shots, unloaded one with 6:21 gone in the third period to score his second goal of the night and break a 2-2 tie.

The Capitals, playing before 12,263 -- their smallest home crowd of the season -- held their advantage until Robert Kron converted a rebound off Beaupre's skate with 2:13 left for a 3-3 tie.

"Sure we had the power play in overtime," said Pivonka. "But you don't want to take too many chances. We did try, but it is better to have the tie than the loss."

,.2l Vancouver, which leads the Smythe Division, played a vigorous, controlled game throughout. And Washington took care of the little things -- most of the night.

Pivonka and Peter Bondra used their speed to limit Pavel Bure, one of the league's top scorers, to one goal.

It came on a brilliant, concentrated move that allowed him to control the puck and slip it into the net, while falling and sliding past the goal. That tied the game at 2-2 with 14:55 gone in the second period.

Vancouver's first goal was scored by Dixon Ward 9:03 into the first period. The Capitals matched it on Al Iafrate's goal with eight seconds left in the period, following scores by Peter Bondra and Reggie Savage that were disallowed by the officials.

NOTE: Washington's game with the Islanders this Sunday will be played at 5:40 instead of 1:40 p.m.

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