Apparently, nobody told the Toronto Maple Leafs about the Washington Capitals' new, improved power play. The Leafs took some foolish penalties last night and Washington took advantage with three extra-man goals to record a 5-3 victory before 16,552 at Capital Centre.

John Druce netted a pair for the second straight game, giving him 14 for the season. Dale Hunter, Alan May and Kevin Hatcher also connected against Jeff Reese, who had beaten the Capitals a week ago in Toronto.

Capitals goalie Jim Hrivnak, who failed to finish that one, earned his third victory of the season with a 23-save effort. He was especially sharp early, when it mattered, and two of the Maple Leafs' goals came in the third period, long after the result had become obvious.

This was Toronto's ninth road game and the Leafs have yet to earn a point in their travels. They have only nine points at home and would be a leading contender in the Eric Lindros derby -- for the right to draft the next potential NHL superstar -- except they traded away their first-round pick a year ago for defenseman Tom Kurvers, presently recovering from knee surgery.

By converting three of their four power plays, the Capitals improved to 26.9 percent, just a shade behind Calgary's leading 27.1. They killed off both of the Maple Leafs' opportunities and continue to top the NHL in penalty killing, at 87.5 percent.

"I liked our competitiveness, but those three power-play goals certainly didn't help," said Toronto Coach Tom Watt. "I didn't think we got any breaks on the calls. I thought they were questionable penalties -- and some nonpenalties the other way."

The Maple Leafs were outshooting their hosts, 8-3, after nine minutes, with Hrivnak stopping two close-in deflections and Joe Sacco's breakaway to keep it scoreless. Then Doug Shedden hooked Kelly Miller down in the neutral zone and quickly paid the price.

Hatcher shot from the high slot and both Druce and Hunter waved their sticks as the puck approached Reese. Druce deflected it into the net for a 1-0 lead, 45 seconds after Shedden took his seat.

Next to visit the penalty box was Kevin Maguire, who objected to some rough stuff by Alan May, refused referee Mark Faucette's request to cool it and was chased for unsportsmanlike conduct. Twelve seconds later, it was 2-0.

Michal Pivonka carried the puck into the Toronto zone and the Maple Leafs' Al Iafrate dove to jar it loose. It rolled to the feet of Hunter, who shrugged off a bout of flu to line the puck just under the crossbar.

Toronto halved the deficit early in the second period on a goal that was bitterly protested by Hrivnak. The goalie blocked a shot by Lucien DeBlois, then was knocked to the ice and roughed up by Vince Damphousse. Just as Hrivnak regained his feet, DeBlois lined the puck past him.

May's second goal of the season, at 15:55 of the second period, began a three-goals-in-four-minutes burst that wrapped up the decision. Mike Lalor's shot from an acute angle in the left wing corner struck the side of the net and caromed in front, where May quickly lifted it past the bewildered Reese.

"It was a lucky bounce," May said. "Usually, there are four guys in front of me when I get the puck like that. That's the best I've felt since I got hurt {a bruised knuckle Oct. 20}. I was able to stir things up a bit, something I haven't done for a while."

Iafrate finished off the Leafs by charging into Mikhail Tatarinov and drawing his second straight penalty. This time, Washington scored in 27 seconds, on a spectacular goal by Druce. He grabbed a rebound of Calle Johansson's shot with his back to the net, turned and fired one off the post as he was falling on his back.

"Things are going my way," Druce said. "One went in off my leg in Detroit, I deflected Kevin's shot tonight and even the second one -- I just tried to throw it at the net. Even if I hadn't scored, I felt good tonight. I was skating good -- I just want to play."

With six seconds left in the period, Miller carried the puck across the Toronto blueline and the luckless Iafrate dove at him. The puck slid a few feet and Hatcher, trailing the play, scooped it up and skated in to beat Reese on a breakaway.

Todd Gill and Dave Ellett added meaningless goals for Toronto in the third period, by which time the Capitals already were thinking about turkey dinners.

Druce's 14 goals are more than twice as many as any other Capital. Toronto does not have anyone in double figures.

This was Washington's first victory at home in four games and Coach Terry Murray said: "It's nice to let them {the fans} know we're alive and we can play the game. It was a good victory."