ST. LOUIS, JAN. 14 -- Because Bob Gould's sore elbow felt better Wednesday, rookie Yvon Corriveau was able to enjoy the finest night of his brief National Hockey League career.

Corriveau, elevated onto the Washington Capitals' top line with Bengt Gustafsson and Mike Gartner, scored two goals 13 seconds apart in the first period as the Capitals embarrassed the Los Angeles Kings, 8-3.

Gould had been ruled out of the game, but the elbow responded so well to treatment that he asked to play. Accordingly, Coach Bryan Murray shuffled his lines and decided to rest Michal Pivonka, the usual left wing for Gustafsson and Gartner.

"Gouldie was shooting good at the morning skate and I asked him when he might be able to play," Murray said. "He asked me, 'How about tonight?' I said, 'Let's wait until tonight and see.' The doctor said there was no danger of hurting it any worse, that he'd just have to replace the stitches, and Gouldie didn't want to miss the game, so I put him in and then I changed the lines around."

For Corriveau, it was a dream come true.

"When Bryan told me I'd be with {Gustafsson and Gartner}, I said, 'Great,' " Corriveau said. "They've always got the puck and I just have to go to the net. You don't have to find Gussie. Gussie finds you. You just have to put your stick on the ice.

"Just to play with them gets you up for the game. You have to work that much harder to keep up with them, but they told me before the game just to go to the net and look for rebounds, because they got a lot of shots. The puck came to me and I put it in the net."

Corriveau, who had only two goals in 26 previous NHL games, came close to a hat trick on a third-period setup by Gartner, but he couldn't get the puck past goaltender Glenn Healy and wound up with an assist when Gartner finally netted the rebound for his 26th goal.

"Garts gave it to me and I took two or three whacks, but I just missed the puck," Corriveau said. "A hat trick would have been nice, but Garts scored, anyway, and we won it. You can't ask for much more than what I got."

Murray, who has tried several forwards with Gustafsson and Gartner, was pleased to see Corriveau produce in that role.

"Yvon went to the net real well and he made some good plays," Murray said. "It was nice to see him get some results from a lot of hard work. The only problem area, and it's a continuing one, is making sure the puck is cleared out of the zone before he takes off."

Corriveau was involved in several incidents during the highly physical contest. Early in the third period, he was blasted into the boards by Jay Wells as he caught up with a rolling puck in the corner and whipped a centering pass to Gartner.

"It was only me and Wells and I saw Garts going for the net," Corriveau said. "I knew I'd get killed, but sometimes in hockey you have to give something to get something."

Late in the game, Corriveau gave Dave Taylor a whack in the leg and he got a spear in return that resulted in Taylor's ejection.

"I was watching the point man and I gave him one behind the legs," Corriveau said. "We exchanged a couple of hits on the shift, then I didn't see him coming and he got me on the leg."

The Kings outshot Washington, 37-35, but goaltender Clint Malarchuk had an outstanding night. Malarchuk made at least five quality saves in the first period, including one on a breakaway by Jimmy Carson.

With a minute left, a fan threw a puck at Malarchuk, an incident that prompted frustrated Los Angeles Coach Robbie Ftorek to scream at referee Mike Noeth and slam the door to the bench. Ftorek already had been assessed one bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, so Noeth ignored that outburst.

"A guy threw a puck at me out of the stands," Malarchuk said. "I knocked it into the corner. Then I caught a shot and I yelled, 'Stop!' to the referee. They {the Kings} wanted me penalized for delay."

Capitals Notes: The eight goals were the most scored by Washington on the road since a 9-2 victory in Quebec on Nov. 27, 1984 . . . The Capitals will resume play here Saturday against the Blues.