BLOOMINGTON, MINN., OCT. 31 -- Another late penalty hurt the Washington Capitals tonight. With Lou Franceschetti off for tripping, Neal Broten scored with 3:48 left in regulation to give the Minnesota North Stars a 3-3 tie with the Capitals.

Earlier in the third period, extra-man scores 1:51 apart by Scott Stevens and Dale Hunter had put the Capitals ahead. All of Washington's goals came on power plays, Mike Ridley scoring with a two-man advantage in the first period.

On Friday, Greg Adams' overtime penalty led to Dale Hawerchuk's game-winner in Winnipeg's 3-2 victory. The tie tonight gave the Capitals a 1-1-1 split on their first extended road trip this season.

"It looks like we're going to face 50 one-goal hockey games in the third period," said Capitals Coach Bryan Murray, who completed his three-game suspension in the press box while brother Terry ran the bench. "That first period was unbelievable. We should have been ahead 3 or 4-nothing."

Washington had an 18-5 shooting advantage in the first period, but only Ridley could put a puck past goaltender Don Beaupre. For the game, the North Stars were outshot, 39-24.

"I'm really pleased with the effort tonight, and playing at the top of our game like that is a good way to end the road trip," Terry Murray said. "We had a lot of great scoring opportunities, but we hit a hot goaltender again and he was the difference in the game."

Although this is Beaupre's seventh NHL season, it is only the second time he has faced Washington. He lost, 7-5, the other time.

"Maybe I caught them by surprise, since they've hardly ever seen me," he said. "That was a big game for us, the way we've been struggling, and I'm glad I could help us pull out one point, anyway."

For a while, it appeared that the North Stars would take two, despite the Capitals' domination of the play.

Keith Acton tied the score in the second period, beating Larry Murphy to the puck and lifting it into the net after goalie Clint Malarchuk had rapped it off Basil McRae's stick.

That occurred at 2:22, and 19 minutes 59 seconds later -- at 2:21 of the third period -- Acton sent Minnesota in front. Brian MacLellan, playing despite a viral infection, broke down the right wing and Rod Langway picked him up. Acton broke away from Ridley, got into the vacated area, and converted MacLellan's pass.

Referee Ron Hoggarth, who had not shortchanged Minnesota since the early double, suddenly unstopped his whistle. After a holding penalty to Minnesota's Frantisek Musil and a hooking call on Washington's Bob Gould proved uneventful, Washington converted successive fouls by Musil and Broten.

Musil's second sentence was for holding Kelly Miller, and his seat in the penalty box gave him a splendid view of Stevens' sensational unassisted goal.

Stevens got the puck in his zone and skated along the right wing, right in front of the penalty box. Crossing the Minnesota blue line, Stevens cut between defenders Dirk Graham and Craig Hartsburg, then stopped in the right-wing circle and shot the puck into the far side at 11:09.

"I pulled the puck into my feet to keep Hartsburg from knocking it loose," Stevens said. "We had two guys going to the net and I shot it as quick as I could. It wasn't too hard, but it was accurate."

Before the crowd of 9,920 could digest that, Broten was headed for the box for high-sticking Murphy.

The Capitals, two for 30 on the power play before the game, quickly made it a three-for-five night. Hunter broke for the net as Murphy unloaded from the right point and got his stick on the shot, deflecting it between Beaupre's legs.

"It was good to see the power play click tonight," Hunter said. "You need it working good in games like this."

The North Stars' power play, zero for three to that point, got one more chance when Franceschetti cut down Broten in front of the net after Malarchuk had made a point-blank save on the Minnesota center.

"I saw Broten in front of the net alone and I didn't want him to get a second whack," Franceschetti said. "It wasn't intentional. I just wanted to clear him out."

On the ensuing power play, Malarchuk stopped Hartburg's drive, and Broten put the rebound in the net to atone for his penalty. Washington had the only two shots of the five-minute overtime.

The Capitals' lines were altered drastically, Franceschetti skating with Bengt Gustafsson and Mike Gartner while Mike Ridley centered Hunter and Dave Christian. Washington 1 0 2 0 3 Minnesota 0 1 2 0 3

FIRST PERIOD SCORING -- 1, Washington, Ridley 4 (Stevens, Murphy), 11:16 (pp). PENALTIES -- Rouse, Min (cross-checking), 10:08; Acton, Min (hooking), 10:36; Washington bench, served Pivonka (too many men on ice), 15:51.

SECOND PERIOD SCORING -- 2, Minnesota, Acton 3 (McRae), 2:22. PENALTIES -- Gartner, Was (hooking), 3:53; Acton, Min (high-sticking), 15:57; Gould, Was (high-sticking), 15:57.

THIRD PERIOD SCORING -- 3, Minnesota, Acton 4 (MacLellan, Roberts), 2:21. 4, Washington, Stevens 1, 11:09 (pp). 5, Washington, Hunter 5 (Murphy, Gustafsson), 13:00 (pp). 6, Minnesota, Broten 4 (Hartsburg, Bellows), 16:12 (pp). PENALTIES -- Musil, Min (holding), 4:37; Gould, Was (hooking), 7:06; Musil, Min (holding), 9:59; Broten, Min (high-sticking), 12:28; Franceschetti, Was (tripping), 15:09.


Shots on goal: Washington 18 7 12 2 39 Minnesota 5 8 11 0 24

Power-play Opportunities -- Washington 3 of 5; Minnesota 1 of 4.

Goalies -- Washington, Malarchuk (24 shots-21 saves). Minnesota, Beaupre (39-36).

A -- 9,920.

Referee -- Ron Hoggarth. Linesmen -- Bob Hodges, Leon Stickle.