LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals, among the seven worst goal-scoring teams in the NHL, a team crying for goal XTC production through the first 30 games of the season, exploded last night against the Ottawa Senators.
Washington won, 11-2. The 11 goals match the second-best goal production in team history.
It also matched the worst beating in Ottawa history.
The Caps' production has been inching upward, but no one could have anticipated the seven-goal second-period outburst -- even against Ottawa, the worst defensive team in the league -- that put this one way out of reach.
"How could I see this coming?" said Capitals coach Terry Murray. "I can't say I expected an outburst like this."
But the real test comes tonight, when Washington visits Hartford.
The last time the Capitals played the Whalers, it was the Whalers who provided the humiliation, beating Washington here, 6-1.
"Hartford pounded us," said Caps center Mike Ridley, who had two goals and two assists. "It's not a hate thing, but we owe them. They didn't let up on us and we're not going to let up on them.
"Sometimes tonight [last night], it was like there was no one against us in that one stretch and we kept going. I think we were just making up for all those two- and three-goal games."
When Ridley gave Randy Burridge the perfect leading pass and he stuffed it through Ottawa goalie Darrin Madeley's legs, it marked Washington's biggest goal production since February 1990, when the Caps clobbered Quebec, 12-2.
Washington used goals by nine players, including power-play goals by Ridley, Dimitri Khristich, Michal Pivonka and Keith Jones and a short-hander by Dave Poulin on its way to its fourth victory in six games.
Capitals goalie Don Beaupre made 26 saves and gave up goals to David Archibald and Andrew McBain. It was Beaupre's eighth win in his past nine games.
Ridley started Washington's scoring four minutes into the game on a power play. Pat Peake ended it with 1:02 to play in the third.
In between, the Capitals enjoyed a free-for-all.
After Pivonka scored Washington's third power-play goal 2:04 into the second period, Ottawa coach Rick Bowness pulled Madeley for Craig Billington. But things just got worse.
Ottawa gave up six more goals in the period, which tied the Capitals' production record of seven in a period, and broke Ottawa's record for most goals allowed in one.
Twenty-five seconds after Billington came in, Todd Krygier scored when he followed up a shot by Pivonka to make it 4-0.
Archibald stopped the Capitals' explosion momentarily, getting Ottawa's first goal 6:26 into the second.
But then Jones scored the first of his two goals in the period. He has six goals in four games.
His first last night made it 5-1, off assists from Al Iafrate and Pat
Peake, who was playing for the first time since being benched after the Philadelphia game last Thursday.
"We were pretty impressive, weren't we?" said Jones. "It felt great to see us explode like that. But I don't think that was our best effort of the year, and I don't think Ottawa was playing their best, either. Still, when a team gives you an inch, you want to take a foot and we did."
Ottawa .. .0 1 1 -- 2
Washington 2 7 2 -- 11
First period--1, Washington, Ridley 10 (Pivonka, Johansson), 4:00 (pp). 2, Washington, Khristich 15 (Ridley), 19:57 (pp). Penalties--Maciver, Ott (holding), 1:34; Shaw, Ott (holding), 2:48; Jones, Was (tripping), 4:42; Mallette, Ott (hooking), 7:26; Kaminski, Was (roughing), 10:05; Vial, Ott (unsportsmanlike conduct), 12:55; Berube, Was (unsportsmanlike conduct), 12:55; Ciccone, Was (holding), 14:51; Vial, Ott, major (fighting), 15:00; Berube, Was, major (fighting), 15:00; Kudelski, Ott (hooking), 19:04.
Second period--3, Washington, Pivonka 4 (Johansson, Hatcher), 2:04 (pp). 4, Washington, Krygier 8 (Pivonka, Hatcher), 2:29. 5, Ottawa, Archibald 6 (Daigle, Vial), 6:26. 6, Washington, Jones 8 (Iafrate, Peake), 14:54. 7, Washington, May 2 (Slaney, Kaminski), 16:17. 8, Washington, Ridley 11 (Krygier, Johansson), 17:35. 9, Washington, Jones 9 (Cote, Peake), 17:58 (pp). 10, Washington, Poulin 3 (Krygier), 19:42 (sh). Penalties--Ruzicka, Ott (hooking), :42; Huard, Ott (boarding), 2:47; Iafrate, Was (holding), 2:47; Ciccone, Was (roughing), 2:47; Ridley, Was (roughing), 7:17; Ruzicka, Ott (high-sticking), 17:54; Huard, Ott, major (fighting), 18:15; Ciccone, Was, minor-major (unsportsmanlike conduct, fighting), 18:15.
Third period--11, Ottawa, McBain 7 (Maciver, Dineen), 8:35 (pp). 12, Washington, Burridge 12 (Ridley, Cote), 14:55; 13, Washington, Peake 5, 18:58. Penalties--Shaw, Ott, major (fighting), 4:15; Jones, Was, major (fighting), 4:15; Slaney, Was (holding), 8:04; Daigle, Ott, major-game misconduct (slashing), 15:51; Ciccone, Was, double minor-misconduct (elbowing, charging), 15:51.
Shots on goal--Ottawa 7-9-12--28. Washington 6-14-9--29. Power-play opportunities--Ottawa 1 of 7; Washington 4 of 8. Goalies--Ottawa, Madeley, 2-8-2 (8 shots-5 saves), Billington (2:04 second, 12-6), Madeley (0:00 third, 9-7). Washington, Beaupre, 8-5-1 (28-26). A--15,189. Referee--Rob Shick. Linesmen--Pat Dapuzzo, Brian Murphy.