Dave Christian has good reason to remember his last goal. It came in Philadelphia on Feb. 22, the only Washington goal in three trips to the Spectrum this season.
Ten games have passed since Christian scored. Until Thursday night he was not worrying about it. With the Capitals winning eight in a row to take the Patrick Division lead, individual problems were cast aside.
But after his experiences during the 2-0 loss in Philadelphia, Christian is beginning to wonder what he has to do to score. The victory gave the Flyers a one-point lead in the Patrick Division race. The Capitals play at St. Louis Saturday night; Philadelphia travels to Toronto.
Late in the first period Thursday, Flyers goalie Bob Froese slid quickly to his right to foil Christian after Scott Stevens set him up near the left post. Early in the second, Froese blocked a tough shot by Christian, then dropped an easy one by Gaetan Duchesne. When the puck skidded to Christian, his followup hit the side of the net.
With two minutes left in regulation, Christian beat Froese from the right wing circle, but the puck hit the left post and caromed off.
Finally, with 30 seconds remaining, Christian was freed in front by the sharp passing of Bob Carpenter and Bengt Gustafsson. His stick nudged by a desperate defender, Christian swung and missed.
"It didn't go anywhere," Christian said. "I don't know what's going on. If I knew what to do, it would be easy. But all I can do is keep shooting the puck. I figure it's got to be a matter of time. I've gone longer than this without a goal."
Not this season. After seven dry games at the start, Christian has enjoyed his best NHL campaign, with 33 goals and 36 assists. He had two five-game droughts in midseason, one before he reached 30 for the first time on Long Island Feb. 18. He kept on rolling with three goals in the next two games, then the current run of bad luck began.
Christian has put 33 shots on goal in the 10 games. And he hit the post twice Tuesday against Pittsburgh.
"We've got to score more," Christian said. "They Flyers play pretty well, but in the first period we didn't come out the way we have to. They play responsibly, they hold people up and they pick up the wings. They're awfully tough if they get ahead."
The Flyers have pulled ahead in the first period of all three Washington games in the Spectrum, then maintained control with tight checking.
"You have to be ahead in this league when they have veteran guys out there like Brad Marsh and Brad McCrimmon," said Capitals Coach Bryan Murray. "They restrain you pretty good, and nobody seems to see anything wrong with it . . . There are nights when they shut you down pretty good in that building, but we'll score some yet.
"The guys worked hard and each game in we play them tougher. We just don't play the puck around the net the same way we do against everybody else. We're trying to get it done too quick. Yes, in some cases that's probably because guys expect to get blasted . . .
"We've been playing with great confidence and a lot of intensity and we're not going to let one game tear it down." Oilers 12, Red Wings 3
Paul Coffey scored his 42nd and 43rd goals and set up six others against Detroit in Edmonton to tie a single-game NHL record for defenseman's points. Glenn Anderson got his goals Nos. 49, 50 and 51; Jari Kurri his 58th and NHL-high 59th. Nordiques 6, Flames 2
In Quebec, Risto Siltanen and Michel Goulet scored on power plays off a double minor against the Flames' Joel Otto, wiping out a 2-1 Calgary lead.