The Washington Capitals wound up their three-game exhibition swing through Ontario tonight, beating the Minnesota North Stars, 3-1, for a 2-0-1 preseason record.
Although Minnesota put a constant barrage of third-period shots at goaltender Al Jensen, none could be converted. Jensen, who replaced Dave Parro at the start of the final period, made glove save after glove save while his teammates put only eight shots at the North Stars nets, relying on defense to preserve the victory.
The Capitals, who had outworked Minnesota in Friday night's 4-4 tie, took a 1-0 lead early in the first period when hometown boy Scott Stevens tipped the puck past Don Beaupre as it bounced off Craig Hartsburg's ankle at 3:57. Then, with Fred Barrett sitting out an interference penalty, Mike Gartner shot hard from near the point and sent the puck into the netting on Beaupre's stick side to make it 2-0.
This rematch featured a more physical, aggressive brand of play than Friday night's game, with the North Stars doing a good deal of the hitting. Parro, in his first start of the exhibition season, blocked 11 Minnesota shots in the first period, including one by Brad Maxwell with 50 seconds remaining. Maxwell's shot knocked Parro off his feet, but the goalie held on to preserve the edge.
Dave Christian raised the advantage to 3-0 with only 22 seconds left, thanks to a long pass from Bengt Gustafsson, who sent it from the corner over to Christian just outside the faceoff circle. His pinpoint shot caught Beaupre looking backward.
In the second period, Minnesota's Brian Lawton, U.S.-born rookie center, scored from close range at 5:22. Assisted by Hartsburg, Lawton tapped the puck slightly off Parro's right skate.
The North Stars continued the physical play they had demonstrated in the first period, but Washington's consistent forechecking helped the Capitals remain in command.