Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Max McNab, the Washington Capitals' general manager collected two Sony radios for television and radio appearances Sunday night. He would really rather have had a victory. Or at least a calculator, the better to record the New York Rangers' scoring figures.
The Rangers netted their first goal 128 seconds after the start and their last 33 seconds from the finish. In between, New York scored often enough to deal the Capitals their worst defeat of the season, 9-4.
The last time the teams met, in March at Capital Centre, the Rangers won, 11-4. So this was progress of a sort - the sort to guarantee insomnia for Coach Danny Belisle and any player who cares enough to stay awake and ponder the reasons for such a debacle.
Belisle called captain Guy Charron into an empty room for a 15-minute chat afterward, the first such postgame discussion between the two.
Guy's the captain and I wanted to get his impressions," Belisle said. "It was a general talk. I imagine he'll pass some of it on to the players.
"We were totally too loose in our end. We weren't playing the body, we were standing with the puck, we were just making it easy for them. It was a complete breakdown by almost everybody. We were flat and we hit a team that was really hungry.
"But this was the first one in 22 games we've had a real blitz. Sometimes it does a team good. Maybe it's better to loss like this than 3-2. Maybe it will tone us down a little, wake everybody up. We've been playing pretty well, but there's no reason for anybody to be self-satisfied."
Charron declined to discuss his talk with Belisle, but he noted that "they (the Rangers) really came out charged up. We've got a lot of young guys and it was probably a shock to them at the beginning. It's something for us to learn from. We have to keep our composure and play tighter hockey in that situation. Hopefully, it was just a bad game."
"We stunk," said Tom Rowe, whose streak of a point a game ended at six. "It was our worst game of the season. There's no excuse for that."
What moved, with the frequency of a no-tilt pinball machine, was the figure next to the Rangers' name on the Madison Square Garden scoreboard.
Washington goalie Jim Bedard tried valiantly to delay the inevitable, stopping a Pat Hickey breakaway after just 20 seconds and blocking a Hickey deflection of a Dave Maloney slap shot before the first shift had ended.
Bedard dropped a blast by Dave Parrish, however, and defenseman Gord Lane batted the puck around the crease without managing to clear it. Steve Vickers poked a shot past Bedard and the rout was on.
Phil Esposito used Nick Fotiu's screen to make the score 2-0 with a 35-foot drive for his ninth goal.Then defenseman Ron Greschner put an outside fake on the Capitals' Robert Picard, went inside as Picard wavered like a stricken pine and beat Bedard on the glove side for a 3-0 margin.
Rolf Edberg deflected a Rick Green drive past goalie Wayne Thomas to cut the lead to 3-1 before the first intermission. New York scored on four of its first five shots in the second period, however, and it was 7-1 at the 6:35 mark.
Anders Hedberg, who looked like the million-plus dollars he cost the Rangers, collected two of those goals, with Mike McEwen and Eddie Johnstone netting the others. Hedberg's second goal came on a conversion of a Hickey pass while he appeared to be tied up by Washington's Rick Green and Johnstone deflected Potiu's pass from the corner while in the grasp of Lane, the puck sliding between defensemen Leif Svensson's legs into the net.
Gre Carroll and Michael Bergeron scored for Washington in the second period, then Greschner took advantage of an Alphonse-Gaston routine by Lane and Pete Scamurra to walk in untouched for a third-period goal, his second of the night and 19th point in 13 games.
Carroll's second goal and a rebound by Hickey in the final minute completed the scoring. Carroll became the fifth Capital this season to score twice in a game, joining Rowe, Bob Sirois, Picard and Ryan Walter.