HARTFORD, MARCH 18 -- Dino Ciccarelli had four goals and three assists for a club-record seven points tonight as the Washington Capitals humiliated the Hartford Whalers, 8-2. The Capitals' fifth straight victory matched their longest streak of the season. It boosted their Patrick Division lead to five points over Pittsburgh and six over the New York Rangers. Ciccarelli, who scored the first three goals of the game, recorded his 15th career hat trick. It was the second time he has collected four goals in a game, having accomplished the feat against Detroit as a North Stars rookie in 1981. "It was one of those nights where you shoot everything and just seem to be in the right place at the right time," Ciccarelli said. "The last shot was a good example. There wasn't a lot on it, but it just seemed to catch {goalie Mike} Liut and got past him." Ciccarelli fired eight shots at Liut, while playing a total of only 15 minutes 56 seconds. All four goals came at equal strength, although two of his three assists were earned on power plays. "The defense here moves the puck up to the forwards and they get the puck to me," Ciccarelli said. "That's the key. When it's transition time, this team really excels. They get control and head the other way in a hurry. I'm surrounded by more quality players here and it makes my life a lot easier." "Isn't that why we traded for him?" asked Capitals Coach Bryan Murray. "That was a big night for him. It was a big career for some people. He's around the net all the time. He doesn't just look to score, but he finds other people deep around the net, too." Ciccarelli's four goals gave him 39 for the season. Two of his assists set up Mike Ridley and Geoff Courtnall, each of whom was recording No. 38. This was the second seven-point game of Ciccarelli's career, matching a performance against St. Louis when with the North Stars. The previous Washington mark of six points was accomplished eight times, most recently by Ridley against Chicago Jan. 7. Ciccarelli recorded a pure hat trick, three straight goals, to turn the 14,189 fans into a surly lot. They had expected the Whalers to rebound from Thursday's 6-1 loss to Buffalo and instead sat through another rout. "It looked like they had six or seven guys on the ice and we had three or four," said Hartford defenseman Joel Quenneville. "It was embarrassing. Everything we did seemed to be wrong." Ciccarelli, escaping defender Syl-vain Cote near the left post, converted a long pass from Scott Stevens for the only goal of the first period. It marked the seventh straight game in which Washington scored first. Early in the second period, Ciccarelli deflected Calle Johansson's long shot from the right wing boards for a 2-0 lead. Ciccarelli, who normally skates with Bengt Gustafsson and Dave Christian, was playing an extra shift on a line with Geoff Courtnall and Dale Hunter. Liut was shaken up late in the period and moments after the play resumed, Ciccarelli took a pass from Christian at the left hash marks in the slot. He lined a shot that struck Liut's left pad and went into the goal. Ciccarelli's fourth goal came with 6:08 left in regulation time and boosted Washington's lead to 7-2. It was the aforementioned off-speed shot from the right wing circle that skipped between Liut's legs. Dale Hunter netted a rebound of a Ciccarelli shot with 3:09 left to give Ciccarelli his final point. Ciccarelli has seven goals and three assists in five games as a Capital, since his acquisition from Minnesota March 7. Goaltender Don Beaupre, another of the North Stars' castoffs, stopped 27 Hartford shots in his first appearance in 10 days. As a Capital, Beaupre has a 4-2 record and 2.11 goals-against average. Beaupre appeared headed for a shutout until Ray Ferraro and Cote scored on successive third-period power plays. Ferraro's breakaway ended a stretch of 107 scoreless minutes for the Whalers. "I was pretty confident tonight," Beaupre said. "Once I handled a few shots, I was right in the game. I've never had the privilege to play behind a defense like this before. You just worry about your job -- the puck -- and they take care of everything else." "Our defense is standing up and moving the puck out of our end with authority," Murray said. "We have a six-man unit that is just playing great. They're playing strong in front of our net. There weren't a lot of chances in five-on-five situations." With the game 1-0, Beaupre made two fine saves on Kevin Dineen during a Hartford power play. After Ciccarelli made it 2-0, Beaupre made a great save on Dean Evason's deflection of a shot by Quenneville. That seemed to take the heart out of the Whalers. "They're a heck of a hockey team," said Hartford Coach Larry Pleau. "The trades they made at the deadline really helped them. They played great tonight, but not that score. We struggled and can't seem to do anything right." The Whalers, who left the ice to concentrated boos at the end of the second period, down 4-0, returned to a further barrage after the public-address announcer dutifully intoned, "Here are your Hartford Whalers." For the Capitals, fast becoming unwanted guests, it revived memories of Feb. 17 in Edmonton, when the announcer said, "Led by Grant Fuhr, the Edmonton Oilers" and the fans hooted a team that was trailing, 6-0. That game also ended 8-2. The Capitals swept the season series from Hartford. They finished interdivisional play with a record of 25-12-8, handling the Adams Division with relative ease, 10-2-3.