Peter Andersson's first goal in six weeks made overtime a fun time once again for the Washington Capitals last night.
Andersson took Bob Gould's pass from behind the Detroit net and lined the puck over the left shoulder of goalie Greg Stefan to give the Capitals a 4-3 victory over the Red Wings before 15,648 at Capital Centre.
The goal, after just 36 seconds of extra play, extended Washington's unbeaten streak in overtime to 22 games since it last was defeated in Winnipeg more than two years ago.
"Bobby Gould made a nice play coming around the net and gave me a good chance," said Andersson, who has three game-winning goals in his total of six. "I wanted to hit the net going high. It's something I try to work on in practice and once in a while it works."
Andersson had considerably more ice time than usual because of Rod Langway's absence with a bruised thigh. Asked about Andersson's chances of being on the ice in that situation if Langway had played, Coach Bryan Murray said, "Not too good." Then he jokingly added, "All we try to do is set them up and get them into overtime."
An overtime struggle at home with the lowly Red Wings, who were losing their eighth straight, is hardly something to get excited about. But there were some favorable signs from the Capitals' two struggling stars, Mike Gartner and Bob Carpenter, that provided an extra plus.
Gartner, limited to one goal in his last 10 games, had two last night for a season total of 30. Carpenter, on a Gould setup, scored his second in the last seven games to reach 20.
Gartner's revival followed a lengthy discussion with Murray Monday at the Buffalo airport.
"Mike accepted criticism and some of the demands I've made on him," Murray said. "If he doesn't get going, we won't go very far. The same goes for Bobby Carpenter. They were trying hard together, but it just wasn't working and they'll probably be split up now for the balance of the season."
Gartner skated with Alan Haworth and Jorgen Pettersson, and Carpenter centered for Gould and Greg Adams.
The Red Wings were limited to 19 shots, one more than Gartner (7), Carpenter (6) and Gould (5) combined. But Joe Kocur scored on Detroit's only shot in the first 14 minutes and then Warren Young gave the Red Wings a 2-0 lead at 7:16 of the second period. If Washington had not been able to kill off a two-man disadvantage for 1 minute 35 seconds, it might have been out of it early.
Gartner finally got a break to begin the Capitals' comeback. Earlier, he had rattled a post, fired wide by inches and been foiled by Stefan after he cut past the defense. This time, he took a short pass from Pettersson near the right post and barely got off a shot that trickled between Stefan's legs.
"I hadn't scored for so long, I had several good shots and I hit a post, then I get one on a little backhander I had to blow over the goal line," Gartner said. "I think it lifted the spirits of the team and I know it lifted my spirits."
Gartner hit the 30 mark for the seventh consecutive season before the second period ended. On a Washington power play, Haworth outdrew Dwight Foster in the Detroit end and Gartner unloaded from the right point.
"Thirty goals is an average season, but with 20 games left I'm hoping to hit 40," Gartner said. "I think I can help the team a lot over the last 20 games if I can get 10 more goals.
"Sometimes you have to put pressure on yourself. I've had some nagging injuries, which are just clearing up, and I've been getting chances, but I haven't been scoring. When you get chances, you have to get some in.
"Bryan and I talk a lot about the team and how I play and this time he made it clear that the team needs me to come up big offensively to get anywhere in the playoffs. I certainly want to do that kind of job."
Carpenter ended the tie early in the third period after all the Red Wings chased Gould and Adams near the left-wing boards in the Detroit end. When Gould passed the puck to Carpenter in the slot, he was completely open and able to skate in, deke Stefan and put the puck behind him.
A celebration would have been premature at that stage, however. Not long after, Detroit's Gerard Gallant took a deflected pass inside the Washington blueline and skated unchallenged down the slot to slip the puck between the legs of goalie Pete Peeters.
Carpenter had two good chances to win it late in regulation, but Stefan made a pair of excellent saves to force the five-minute sudden-death overtime, which required considerably less than that to reach a decision.
After the game, the Capitals announced that Langway would be able to play Thursday in Boston. Right wing Craig Laughlin, also out last night with a sprained ankle, will not make that trip and is doubtful for weekend games against the New York Rangers. Bruins 7, Nordiques 4
In Quebec, right winger Dave Pasin scored two third-period goals, including the game-winner, to help Boston win it.
The victory was the Bruins' first of the season over Adams Division-rival Quebec, which has lost five straight games.
Pasin scored at 3:01 of the final period as he took Ken Linseman's pass and flipped it over sprawled Quebec goalminder Mario Gosselin to end a 4-4 tie.
Linseman scored Boston's fourth power-play goal of the game at 12:41 and Pasin closed out the scoring 3:04 later.
Trailing, 4-3, after two periods, Quebec tied the score on a goal by Brent Ashton 58 seconds into the third period.
Boston goaltender Pat Riggin kept Boston ahead in the second period, making numerous saves while his team was shorthanded. Maple Leafs 7, Rangers 3
Wendel Clark, the No. 1 overall draft choice for 1985, got his first NHL hat trick to lift host Toronto over New York, ending a six-game Rangers winning streak.
Clark, a 19-year-old left wing, scored the three goals in a span of nine minutes bridging the second and third periods. His first came at 19:00 of the middle period and gave Toronto a 4-3 lead. He scored third-period goals at 5:49 and 8:00 to chase starter John Vanbiesbrouck, who leads the NHL in victories with 26.
Glen Hanlon replaced Vanbiesbrouck. Flames 4, Blues 1
Defenseman Gary Suter's disputed goal late in the second period broke a 1-1 tie and Calgary went on to win the game in St. Louis.
Steve Bozek, Jamie Macoun and Joe Mullen also scored for the Flames. Dave Barr got the St. Louis goal.
The victory was Calgary's first in its last six games with the Blues. The Flames' last previous win over the Blues came on Feb. 7, 1984. It also was the Blues' first home loss in eight games.