LANDOVER -- Washington Capitals left wing Randy Burridge was reading The Hockey News at Piney Orchard yesterday morning, and dropping hints all over the place about the state of his game.
"My legs feel good and I feel ready to break out," he said.
A week after being benched, Burridge scored his first hat trick as a Capital last night, leading the way to a 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings before 17,017 at USAir Arena.
"It's the Randy Burridge we were talking about in training camp," said coach Terry Murray. "We're hoping he gets back to the way he played two years ago. Now this was one game, a pretty good game, and we just hope he can keep doing the same thing -- though it doesn't have to be a hat trick every night."
This is the kind of game Murray has been expecting from the beginning. He got even-strength scoring from his forwards -- Burridge, Dimitri Khristich and Kelly Miller. He got power-play goals from Burridge and defenseman Al Iafrate.
He got hard-nosed defense from his penalty-killing unit that allowed Los Angeles, with the NHL's second-most productive power play, only one goal on seven tries, and that one went to league scoring leader Wayne Gretzky in the third period.
And Murray also got a terrific performance from goaltender Don Beaupre, who made 27 saves, several of them spectacular.
"It's like what we saw in training camp and have been waiting weeks to see," Murray said. "For three games in a row now we've executed better. Tonight we scored early, followed the game plan and Donnie made the stops I expect, the big stops we need."
In Washington's first win of the season last Saturday, Burridge drove to the net and got his first goal of the season. It was evident again last night in the team's second win.
"Any time you're out of the lineup, you disagree," Burridge said. "I felt I was taking the body and driving in. I thought, after looking at films, that my positioning was off. But my legs felt good and strong and I thought my game was coming. I thought I was ready to break out. But he sat me out and then when I get back in, my game clicks and now it probably looks like it was because I sat out a game and had more incentive. I thought it would have been, anyway."
Certainly it was there last night. Burridge's first goal came 37 seconds into the game, off assists from Michal Pivonka and Pat Peake, who assisted on all of Burridge's goals.
The second goal came on a long slap shot that went right between the legs of Los Angeles goaltender Kelly Hrudey with 6:45 gone. Iafrate made it 3-0 on an unassisted power-play goal with 9:06 gone.
Los Angeles rallied to 3-2 on goals by Jari Kurri and Rob Blake, but Burridge struck again, backhanding a shot under Kings defenseman Alexei Zhitnik and Hrudey with 10:29 gone in the LTC
period. Khristich notched his fifth goal of the season with 6:37 left and the lead was 5-2.
Gretzky got the Kings to 5-3 just 37 seconds into the final period, but Los Angeles would get no closer.
Los Angeles 0 2 1 -- 3
Washington 3 2 1 -- 6
First period--1, Washington, Burridge 2 (Pivonka, Peake), :37. 2, Washington, Burridge 3 (Peake, Iafrate), 6:45. 3, Washington, Iafrate 3, 9:06 (pp). Penalties--Curran, Was (high-sticking), 3:10; McEachern, LA (holding stick), 7:45; Sandstrom, LA (slashing), 10:13; Berube, Was (slashing), 13:43; Gretzky, LA (unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:13; Peake, Was (holding), 18:04;
Second period--4, Los Angeles, Kurri 3 (Robitaille, Hardy), 2:34. 5, Los Angeles, Blake 3 (Gretzky, Sandstrom), 4:45. 6, Washington, Burridge 4 (Peake, Bondra), 10:29 (pp). 7, Washington, Khristich 5 (Ridley), 13:23. Penalties--Kurri, LA (holding stick), 9:04; Shuchuk, LA (roughing), 11:32; Curran, Was (roughing), 11:32; Anderson, Was (cross-checking), 13:59; Rychel, LA (boarding), 16:32; Peake, Was (holding), 17:22; Hardy, LA (roughing), 20:00; Bondra, LA (roughing), 20:00.
Third period--8, Los Angeles, Gretzky 6 (Sydor, Kurri), :37 (pp). 9, Washington, Miller 2 (Ridley), 19:36 (en). Penalties--Miller, Was (holding stick), :12; Curran, Was (cross-checking), 3:03; Hardy, Was (hooking), 6:39.
Shots on goal--Los Angeles 12-10-8--30. Washington 12-15-12--39. Power-play opportunities--Los Angeles 1 of 7; Washington 2 of 6. Goalies--Los Angeles, Hrudey, 4-2-2 (38 shots-33 saves). Washington, Beaupre, 2-3-0 (30-27). A--17,017. Referee--Lance Roberts. Linesmen--Brian Murphy, Jay Sharrers.