Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Friday the 13th caught up with the Washington Capitals last night.
Misfortune struck in the form of North Star defenseman Doug Hicks, who scored with only 56 seconds left to give Minnesota a 2-2 tie and keep Washington from winning its first game ever in the Star's arena.
"I don't feel like we tied a game," said Cap coach Tom McVie. "I feel like we lost one.
"We had the two points. It doesn't matter who outplayed who for the other 59 minutes or who had the better chances, who did this or who did that. When you've got a 2-1 lead with a minute left and you get tied it is not like you gained a point, it is like you lost one."
"The shot definitely hit something," said Capital Bill Collins, who was in a tangle with the North Star's Harvey Bennett and Glen Sharpley in front of rookie goalie Jim Bedard. "I'm sure it changed directions. I don't think Hicks got wood on it."
But he got enough.
It was Hicks' second goal of the season. He scored his first Wednesday in a 4-3 loss to Toronto.
"The way the kid was (Bedard) was stopping all the rubber we shot at him I wasn't sure it was in until they turned on the red light," said Hicks.
And even then it wasn't certain.
Once when the red light was glowing behind the Washington net, referee Gregg Madill washed out the goal claiming that the puck never crossed the red line. Closed-circuit TV replays didn't agree. They showed goalie Bedard snatching the black disc back across the line with a move that would have made Houdini proud.
Bedard was not available for comment on the tying goal or the controversial one. Although he was named one of the game's three stars for stopping 33 of the North Stars' 35 shots (the Caps had 18), the young goalie dressed quickly and left the building.
"He is some kind of competitor," said McVie.
"You know what gets me most about him is the composure he shows for a 20-year-old. He doesn't look lucky. He looks sound."
For most of two periods he looked invincible as Washington took a 1-0 first-period lead on Guy Charron's club-leading 18th goal. That was set up by Bob Sirois, who pocked-checked the puck off a North Star forward's stick. The puck bounced right to Bob Girard, who fed Charron all alone in the slot and the Caps had a 1-0 lead after just 1:31 of the first period. It was the first of several lucky bounces the puck would take for Washington until the final fateful minute.
The North Stars tied it 1-1 at 17:04 of the second period when Sharpley nudged in a shot after ex-Cap Bennett fanned on Ron Zanussi's perfect setup.
But it only took the Caps 17 seconds to go back in front, 2-1, as an ex-North Star, Collins, knocked Craig Patrick's rebound past Minnesota goalie Pete LoPresti. That play also took a beneficial bounce for the Caps. A clearing pass hit the referee and ricocheted directly to Patrick.
"Their goalie made a fatal mistake," said Collins. "He left an inch open."
"It was a big goal for us because it kept the momentum from swinging over to their side," said McVie.
But Bedard was the one who kept momentum and the North Stars in check most of the evening.
He made several key stops, including two on Cap power plays. Twice in the second period Beland knocked the puck away from North Star penalty killer Per-Olov Braser on breakaways.
"There is absolutely nothing that will take the wind out of your sails like a shorthanded goal," said McVie.
Except maybe a tying goal in the last minute of play.
The Capitals try again Saturday, taking on the New York Islanders at Capital Centre at 8 p.m.