Goaltender Don Beaupre looked sharp in yesterday's practice at Capital Centre, and Washington Coach Terry Murray said afterward there is a "good possibility" that Beaupre, who suffered a groin pull Oct. 30, would start Saturday's game in Pittsburgh.
"Donnie feels good mentally and a therapist has helped him out, getting him to do things at home as well as here," Murray said. "It's most important to have him a hundred percent physically before we put him in there, and he seems close."
"One more good practice ought to do it," Beaupre said. "I've been stretching to make it stronger. I use a rubber tubing to stretch with good resistance. It's something I have to work on constantly and I'll probably have to do it the rest of my career.
"It's the same injury I had last spring and we thought maybe it just wasn't strong enough, even though it had healed." Lemieux Still Ailing
Once again, the Penguins come here without ailing center Mario Lemieux, who has been ordered to give his back complete rest until Dec. 7, when he can began rehabilitation if there are no further problems.
In his absence, Pittsburgh has had no trouble scoring goals, with 90 in 21 games. Center John Cullen has taken over Lemieux's customary role at the top of the NHL scoring figures, with 40 points.
Cullen has at least one point in his last 14 games. But, because he sat out Saturday's game at Los Angeles with an abdominal strain, his streak officially ended at 13. In the 10 games prior to that, the line of Cullen, Mark Recchi and Kevin Stevens had totaled 51 points.
The unit is known as the Option Line, because all three are playing out their options. In an odd twist, Cullen's replacement in Los Angeles was Brad Aitken, called up from Muskegon of the International League. He too is playing out his option. Record 'Safe'
When Quebec tied Hartford Wednesday, the Nordiques' losing streak ended at 14 games and left intact the NHL record of 17 set by the 1974-75 Capitals.
Yvon Labre, the Capitals' director of community relations, was a member of that team, but he insisted he was not rooting for the Nordiques to break it.
"I wouldn't wish that on anybody," he said. . . .
The cast came off center Peter Zezel's sprained left ankle Wednesday, but he is at least three weeks away from playing.