BLOOMINGTON, MINN., FEB. 20 -- Clint Malarchuk recorded his second straight shutout tonight and the Washington Capitals extended their winning streak to six games with a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota North Stars.
His 33 saves included two remarkable glove stops from close range in the second period. His scoreless streak has reached 127 minutes 30 seconds.
"This was just a solid team effort," he said. "We've got the hardest-working forwards in the league and our defensemen are very talented. The guys are clearing the rebounds very well for me.
"Every game you have to make some tough saves. Sometimes after a tough save, you're out of position, but the guys are jumping on the rebounds and keeping me out of trouble."
No goalie had had consecutive shutouts this season. In the Capitals' 14 seasons, only Al Jensen and Pat Riggin had had two straight.
Mike Gartner, Mike Ridley and Larry Murphy scored for Washington, which climbed within one point of first-place Philadelphia in the Patrick Division. Murphy added two assists, Ridley one.
The luckless North Stars, whose winless streak reached eight games, lost center Dennis Maruk for the season.
A former Capital, he suffered a fractured left kneecap when he dived to block Grant Ledyard's first-period shot.
Minnesota had lost 297 man games to injury before the game and forwards Neal Broten and Curt Fraser also are gone for the year. This could be a career-ending mishap for Maruk, 32. He was hurt exactly one year after Washington's John Barrett suffered a similar injury and Barrett returned to action Friday, playing for Binghamton.
For Gartner, who has scored seven goals in the last five games, 39 was a key number tonight. He netted his 39th goal on a power play after 39 seconds.
Minnesota's Curt Giles was penalized for holding at the 11-second mark and Washington took advantage of two weird bounces. Murphy's drive from the point was deflected to Ridley in the slot and his shot wound up on Gartner's stick near the right post for a tapin.
The Capitals again struck quickly in the second period. Kelly Miller, skating in from the left-wing corner, made a superb move past Giles and fed Ridley, who hit from the slot after 29 seconds.
Washington had only four shots in the period, to Minnesota's 13, but it clicked on the second, as well. With Brian Lawton off for tripping, Scott Stevens picked off a clearing attempt at the left point and fed Murphy in the middle. Murphy's 35-footer concluded the scoring with more than 37 minutes remaining.
Malarchuk took the heart out of the North Stars with sensational stops that left Basil McRae and Lawton waving their sticks in expectant celebration.
On the first, Mike Berger's drive from the right point wound up on McRae's stick in front. McRae shot, raised his stick and shook his head. Later, Lawton was open in front when he took Dino Ciccarelli's feed from behind and shot toward an apparent opening. He, too, could not believe the result.
"I was close to McRae and he batted at it and it hit me," Malarchuk said. "With Lawton, I just reached across and scooped it. I was even to the goal line when I got it."
Coach Bryan Murray said: "Those saves were just unbelievable, glove stops in tight, falling backward with a guy in alone. It certainly would have been a lot tougher time in the third period if Clint hadn't been so sharp. He was so good, we seemed to go into a defensive role, figuring Minnesota wouldn't score anyway."
Murray's behind-the-bench companion was Warren Strelow, the goaltending coach and a Minnesota native, who helped out while assistant Terry Murray watched from the press box.
"It was a little motivating tool," Bryan Murray said. "This was a game I was concerned about and I thought a different voice would be good for the team, and it would be good for Warren."
Strelow said: "It was the most fun I've had for a long time."
Strelow was the goaltending coach for the 1980 U.S. Olympic team under Herb Brooks, now the North Stars' coach. In an odd twist, Brooks watched from the press box tonight while assistants J.P. Parise and Pat Price manned the bench. Brooks' feelings could not be determined; he didn't meet the media.