INGLEWOOD, CALIF., JAN. 13 -- The Washington Capitals rode into the Patrick Division lead with a bang tonight.
Yvon Corriveau scored two goals 13 seconds apart in the first period and the Capitals added four power-play scores to crush the Los Angeles Kings, 8-3, at the Forum.
The rout gave Washington 47 standings points, one more than the Philadelphia Flyers, two more than the New Jersey Devils -- who lost to the Quebec Nordiques earlier in the evening -- and the New York Islanders. For the Capitals, it was their highest goal production in a road game since a 9-2 victory at Quebec Nov. 27, 1984.
Corriveau scored his two goals with the teams at equal strength. Washington also received power-play scores from Greg Adams and Kevin Hatcher and had a 4-1 lead after one period.
In the second period, Dave Christian and Scott Stevens scored while the Capitals had man-advantages, Peter Sundstrom scored an equal-strength goal and Washington went ahead, 7-1.
Mike Gartner's 26th goal of the season made it 8-3 midway through the third period.
Early in the game, the play was not nearly so one-sided, but Washington goaltender Clint Malarchuk was hot, making 10 saves, and the Kings were not blessed with any shooting luck.
Los Angeles' Dean Kennedy whacked Lou Franceschetti in the head just 26 seconds into the game and the Kings quickly paid for it. At 1:21, Adams deflected Larry Murphy's drive from the right point for his 10th goal of the season.
The Kings' Paul Guay twice came close to tying it. First, he hit a post with Malarchuk beaten. A few seconds later, he had an apparent goal disallowed when he deflected Wayne McBean's shot into the net with his stick above his shoulder.
After Sundstrom was penalized for tripping, Malarchuk made a point-blank stop on Luc Robitaille. Malarchuk then foiled a breakaway by Jimmy Carson, holding his ice when Carson deked him and went to the backhand.
With the score still 1-0, Malarchuk blocked a drive by Steve Duchesne and, after the rebound popped right onto Paul Fenton's stick, Malarchuk refused to be fooled by Fenton's double fake and eventually smothered the puck.
Corriveau's first goal came after Stevens' shot from the left point was deflected onto his stick in the near circle. Corriveau was able to walk in from there and beat Glenn Healy on the short side at 11:26.
Before the Kings could digest that one, Healy mishandled a centering pass from an impossible angle at his left, allowing the puck to roll up the slot. Corriveau, driving for the net, easily poked it past the befuddled goalie at 11:39.
Prior to his quick burst, Corriveau had scored only two goals in 26 previous NHL games.
When Stevens was penalized for slashing, the Kings' power play finally broke through. Robitaille, at the left post, took Mike Allison's cross-crease pass and rapped it home at 13:45.
Late in the period, the Kings' Ken Hammond was assessed a five-minute penalty for hitting Craig Laughlin in the head with his stick.
At first, the Kings applied more pressure shorthanded than the Capitals did with the extra man. Bernie Nicholls, the NHL leader with six shorthanded goals, missed the net on a two-on-one with Bob Carpenter. Then Malarchuk made an excellent stop on a backhander by Nicholls.
Washington's power play finally took advantage at 19:31. Mike Ridley was dumped as he broke down the slot, but he wound up cheering from a sitting position when Hatcher -- who followed up the play -- spun and whipped a shot off the right post and into the net.
Nicholls was off for slashing when Christian scored his 20th goal of the season, at 5:58 of the second period. Dale Hunter provided an unofficial assist by knocking Hammond into Healy, leaving the goalie helpless when Christian shot from the left-wing boards at 5:58.
A three-on-two break by the checking line resulted in Sundstrom's sixth goal of the season, at 7:31. Franceschetti, on the left wing, fed Sundstrom in the slot while Bob Gould was breaking for the net to distract Healy. Gould was a surprise starter, having sought and obtained medical clearance despite a cut right elbow.
Despite their large lead, the Capitals did not let up. With the Kings' Larry Playfair in the penalty box, Stevens boosted the margin to 7-1 at 16:16. After an unsuccessful rush, Hatcher wound up behind Los Angeles' net. He failed in a bid to jam the puck into the net and then passed to Stevens, who scored from the left-wing circle.
This was Robbie Ftorek's 17th game since taking over as Los Angeles coach on Dec. 9 and it was the first time the Kings had yielded more than five goals. Ironically, Mike Murphy was watching his first game since he was fired Dec. 6.
The frustrated Ftorek received a bench penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct early in the third period. It was the first penalty Washington did not convert into a goal.