After playing two excellent games in Quebec and Detroit earlier this week, the Washington Capitals came home last night for a 3-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who had not won on the road since Jan. 31, 1982.
Playing sluggishly in all three periods, the Capitals were unable to organize an offense.
"They (the Maple Leafs) didn't let us sustain anything," Coach Bryan Murray said. "We had a few chances, but didn't create anything constant."
The scoreless first period produced few notable plays. Washington had the only power play of that period, but the man advantage has been a Capital weakness lately and last night was no exception: five attempts, no dice.
Asked what was wrong with the power play, Murray said, "I'm amazed at the things we do in games as opposed to what we're trying to do (in practice). We practice the power play all week. I'm rambling a bit. No, I don't know."
The Maple Leafs, who had been as lackluster as the Capitals in the opening period, awoke first. Terry Martin, grabbing a rebound after Pat Riggin had blocked one shot, flipped it up and over Riggin, who had come out of his net. Martin put the puck cleanly into the open cage at 2:26 of the second period.
That roused the Capitals, briefly, and Bob Gould scored his 15th goal of the season just over a minute later. Gould skated in toward Mike Palmateer's glove side and Glen Currie fed him a short pass, which he shot into the top of the net.
Toronto retook the lead on Rick Vaive's power play goal just past the halfway mark. Ken Houston went off for crosschecking at 11:33, and the Maple Leafs needed only 20 seconds to make use of the advantage.
Dan Daoust took a pass from John Anderson at the blue line, then passed to Vaive, who was moving into Riggin's path. When Riggin skated out to cut down the angle, Vaive smacked the puck high and hard into the back of the net.
"They just plain outhustled us," Brian Engblom said. "They made us look slow, because we were. We stood around and tried passing the puck to each other. But one guy of theirs would take care of two of ours. We were just chasing it (the puck) all over."
Washington had just six shots on goal in the middle period, eight in the last one. Most players were reluctant to even discuss their efforts, but Craig Laughlin said, "We looked very scrambled tonight. We seem to take a lot for granted at home. At home, we seem to think we've got to impress people and do the fancy stuff. It doesn't work."
Toronto had no "fancy stuff" in its bag of tricks, just a lot of up and back hockey. "Palmateer played well for them, and they seemed to have no problem getting the puck out," Murray said. "Other than the Currie line (Gould-Currie-Gaetan Duchesne) we didn't get much."
Any chances of getting more evaporated with a power play in the final period. Jim Benning went out for hooking at 12:13, but the Capitals weren't able to keep the puck in Toronto's end. Stewart Gavin zoomed in on Riggin first, banging the puck off the crossbar, and 13 seconds later Jim Korn put it by Riggin, a shorthanded goal that pushed Toronto's edge to 3-1.
"With the power play, we know you can't go through the box unless you break it down by two or three passes," Murray said. "Right now we're just not using very much smarts with it." Canadiens 11, Kings 3: In Montreal, rookie Guy Carbonneau got a hat trick--with two goals coming in a seven-goal third period for the home team--and Keith Acton scored twice during the trouncing of struggling Los Angeles.
The loss extended the Kings' losing streak on the road to six games.
With the Canadiens holding a 4-3 lead, rookie Mats Naslund took a pass from right winger Mario Tremblay at the Kings' blueline and deked goaltender Mario Lessard on the backhand at 2:39 of the third period to open the gates for six more Canadiens goals.
Acton and Carbonneau had two goals each in the final period, while Mark Napier and defenseman Robert Picard rounded out the Montreal scoring. The hat trick raised Carbonneau's goal total for the season to 11. Acton has 15.