VANCOUVER, OCT. 30 -- With his wife about due to give birth, Dave Tippett had a cab waiting at the Pacific Coliseum tonight, so he could catch the redeye home to Washington. The last thing he needed was overtime.
So, to ensure that, Tippett converted Dale Hunter's pass into a goal with 3:55 left in the third period to give the Washington Capitals a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in front of 14,503.
The Capitals pulled to .500 at 7-7, ended the Canucks' three-game home winning streak and beat the NHL's hottest goalie in rookie Troy Gamble, who entered 4-0 with a 1.68 goals-against average. Mike Liut got the win in goal in relief of Don Beaupre, who pulled a groin muscle in the first period.
It wasn't the only injury suffered by a Capital. Peter Zezel hurt his knee in the third period and went to a hospital for X-rays.
The game-winner by Tippett came from 30 feet after Hunter took a passout from rookie John Purves. That followed a giveaway by Dave Capuano in the Vancouver zone. Hunter was on his knees in the corner and he spotted Tippett in the slot.
The Capitals played another solid game, especially in their end, and converted enough chances to earn their second straight victory and end this road trip with a 3-2 record.
Tim Bergland had scored his first goal to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead in the second period, only to have Steve Bozek tie the game late in the second.
Beaupre had come into tonight's game playing quite well. He had two shutouts and a 3-2 overtime loss in his last three games.
Beaupre probably will miss at least two weeks, so the Capitals will have to call up Jim Hrivnak from Baltimore.
"Same as last year," Beaupre said. "A pass from my right to my left, I go down on my knees and the weight goes on the inside of my groin and it's too much."
Liut, who was in the net though not entirely at fault in the Capitals' 9-4 loss in Calgary, played extremely well in relief.
"He played tremendous hockey," Coach Terry Murray said.
Beaupre, who missed two blocks of time last season with groin pulls, was hurt with about 11:15 left in the first period. Stan Smyl led a Vancouver rush and Beaupre shifted to stop a pass. That motion apparently caused the injury. The puck was cleared from the zone and Beaupre tried to play on.
About 90 seconds later, referee Mark Faucette signaled a delayed penalty on Vancouver, so Beaupre skated to the bench. But once there, he told Murray he couldn't go back. So Liut pulled on his white mask and helmet and went into the game. Beaupre went into the locker room, accompanied by trainer Stan Wong.
Beaupre returned to the bench for the start of the second period, but did not return to the game.
Oddly, the Capitals had a third goaltender in the building. Byron DaFoe, who appeared in two exhibition games before being returned to his junior team in Portland, Ore., was watching the game. However, he was here because he tore a hamstring and is unable to play for several weeks.
The Canucks also lost a key player tonight as Ron Stern suffered a fractured right wrist.
The Capitals' fourth line played wonderfully through two periods. It gave up very little in its end and generated quite a bit of offense. One such play gave Washington a 1-0 lead.
Defenseman Kevin Hatcher gently shot the puck into the corner, with the puck ending up behind the net. Two Canucks couldn't stop center Rob Murray from nudging it out front, where right wing Bergland backhanded it past Gamble for a his third goal, with 16:40 left in the second period.
That fourth line can't be counted on to score many goals and Terry Murray has been concerned about some of the people who have to score for this team. Among them are Steve Leach and Zezel, who has yet to score an even-strength goal.
In Sunday's win in Edmonton, Murray dabbled with some line combinations. One scheme had Michal Pivonka moving to center with Zezel going to left wing. Pivonka had been a center for most of his Washington career until this season.
Leach didn't score a goal until the 11th game (his eighth), when he connected against Calgary. The goal was of little consequence in that 9-4 loss, though Leach was hoping it might get him started.
"It was nice, but it didn't help much," he said.
With a pass from Mike Ridley, Leach did have a great chance to put the Capitals up 2-0, but Gamble stopped him.
Late in the second period the Capitals failed to clear their zone. Rob Murphy intercepted Hunter's pass and sent a shot toward the net, which Bozek deflected past Liut for a 1-1 tie 77 seconds before the intermission.