WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, OCT. 28 -- Before the Washington Capitals played the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night, suspended coach Bryan Murray was reading a timely item in the Vancouver program.
It concerned Herb Brooks, the Minnesota coach who frequently observes from the press box while underlings work the bench. Brooks thinks the improved view is so beneficial that all coaches eventually will direct things from upstairs.
After watching the Capitals edge the Canucks, 3-2, from high above the ice in Pacific Coliseum, Murray figured Brooks was all wet. Certainly, Murray is not enthused about enforced repeat performances here Friday and in Minnesota Saturday.
"One's enough," Murray said. "It sure is different. You're so removed from the emotion of the game and involvement in the game. It's sort of hard to sit there."
Bemused Vancouver officials assigned Murray a seat in an enclosed VIP area of the press box. He sat alone, although exchanging occasional comments with a Philadelphia Flyers scout two seats away, while brother Terry ran the Capitals' bench.
"I wouldn't want to do that every night," Murray said. "You don't have a feel for the pulse of the game or the effort that's being expended. Up above, you can't tolerate mistakes that you can excuse from the bench."
Before the game, Murray granted several radio and television interviews and endured barbs from some old acquaintances from the days when he coached the Western Hockey League team in Regina, Saskatchewan. After the first period, he went on a local radio talk show. But mostly, he said, he drank coffee and wondered why the Capitals were playing so poorly.
"I thought we looked almost in a rut with Vancouver," Murray said. "They put the sticks on our guys, lined up four across at the blue line and we fell into the trap and played at their tempo.
"It wasn't the kind of coordination we're used to. I don't feel we read their forechecking very well. We kept losing guys and they were breaking through the middle."
Another source of discontent was the Capitals' power play. When a deflected shot by Rod Langway wound up on Mike Ridley's stick for what became the winning goal, it ended a string of 20 extra-man failures and marked the first shot on goal in four power plays during the game.
"I learned at least that we don't want to hold onto the puck," Murray said. "Our whole philosophy is to create quick puck movement and put a guy in a specific spot to shoot. But we were just giving it away. We'd end up with three guys in a corner or two in a corner and two in back with no shooter. And we'd get the puck out of a crowd and pass it right back in.
"We were also very tentative; too slow bringing it up the ice. Things we had corrected, now we're regressing. I had a pretty good look at that and it's an area I'll spend some conversation on, anyway. I also noticed some individual things. It's a different perspective and I hope it wasn't a night wasted."
If he found considerable fault with a team apparently shackled by jet lag, Murray was able to appreciate the superb goaltending by Pete Peeters and Clint Malarchuk that provided a victory despite a 33-18 shooting deficiency that accurately reflected the play.
"The goaltending was really good," Murray said. "It would have been costly if Pete hadn't played well. And Clint came in and made some big stops."
Peeters was struck in the right side by a Doug Lidster slap shot late in the second period. He gave up a goal to Rich Sutter, then left for a hospital and X-rays that proved negative. Malarchuk stopped eight shots in the third period, turning back testing drives by Barry Pederson and Petri Skriko with the game on the line.
"I'm not sure how I got turned around, but that shot hit me almost under the armpit and it missed the chest protector," Peeters said. "When you're first hit, you don't think it's as bad as it is. I looked at the clock, saw there were less than two minutes left and figured I could finish the period.
"After it, though, I told Terry he'd better make a change. I wasn't in extreme pain, but I was having trouble breathing and my arm was in pain. I didn't want to wait and have Clint come in after a couple of minutes."
This was Peeters' first game action since he was beaten, 6-5, in Buffalo on Oct. 11. He was as pleased as everyone else with his fine play.
"When I get the opportunity, I'll try my best," Peeters said. "We're in this together and it's winning that counts. You can't argue with the way the team's been going. Clint has been spectacular. You don't want to change anything."
Despite his bruised ribs, Peeters said he felt good enough today to back up Malarchuk in Friday's game. Accordingly, the Capitals did not summon another goaltender, although Murray said it was a possibility if Peeters should find himself in pain at Thursday's practice.
For his part, Terry Murray gave full credit to the two goalies for the victory.
"It wasn't a good team effort," he said. "We were very sloppy. The jump wasn't there and the skating legs weren't there. It was a goaltender win and you have to get six or seven of those a year."
Terry added, "I didn't have any real problems running things. My experience behind the bench in the second and third periods with Bryan really helped."
The Washington goals were scored by Peter Sundstrom (shorthanded), Greg Adams and Ridley. They built a 3-0 lead that was just enough.
Canadiens 3, Oilers 1:
In Montreal, Patrick Roy stopped 23 shots and Chris Chelios had three assists to help the Canadiens beat Edmonton.
The home-ice victory was Montreal's first over the Oilers since March 15, 1984. The Oilers, who were shut out in Quebec Tuesday night, received a power-play goal from Charlie Huddy at 16:46 of the final period.
Chelios, who recorded his third three-point game in 11 contests this season, set up a goal at 7:33 of the opening period to put the Canadiens ahead. He carried the puck into the Edmonton zone and waited for teammate Guy Carbonneau. Chelios fed Carbonneau, who sent a wrist shot past goalie Grant Fuhr for his fourth goal of the season.
Stephane Richer scored at 15:13 of the first, six seconds into a power play, to increase the margin to 2-0. Richer sent a drive from the blue line past Fuhr for his seventh goal.
Kings 4, Rangers 3:
In New York, Bobby Carpenter and Jim Fox scored third-period goals and goaltender Glenn Healy recorded his first NHL victory as Los Angeles beat the Rangers.
Carpenter broke a 2-2 tie when he scored from the side of the net off a rebound of a shot by Fox at 1:02. Fox clinched it for the Kings with a breakaway goal at 10:15, putting the puck between the pads of goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck from 20 feet.
Healy made 31 saves in his third NHL start as the Kings improved their current road record to 2-2-1, including three straight unbeaten games. Vanbiesbrouck made 23 saves.
Maple Leafs 5, Islanders 2:
In Toronto, Mark Osborne and Ed Olczyk each scored twice and Allan Bester played steady in goal as the home team ended a three-game losing streak with the victory over New York.
Bester began his first start of the season with a 10.29 goals-against average, but he stopped 17 shots as the Maple Leafs smothered New York's offense.
His performance partially made up for the six goals he allowed in relief of Ken Wregget when the Maple Leafs lost, 10-3, to Montreal a week ago in Maple Leaf Gardens.
Red Wings 5, Jets 1:
In Winnipeg, Steve Yzerman scored two goals to lead Detroit past the Jets.
Yzerman, who has scored at least one point in seven straight games, got a goal on a great individual effort during a first-period power play and scored his second goal of the game and seventh of the season in the second period.
Detroit's Petr Klima scored a shorthanded goal, the fourth allowed this year by Winnipeg, at 4:25 of the second period to break a 1-1 tie.
Sabres 2, Whalers 2:
In Hartford, John Tucker's goal at 16:38 of the second period gave Buffalo the tie with the Whalers.
Tucker's third goal of the year was a low shot from about 15 feet that dribbled past Whalers goalie Steve Weeks with 3:22 left in the period.