John Druce and Terry Murray have a lot of faith in one another. They ascended to the Washington Capitals and NHL last season time and they blossomed together in the playoffs last spring.

So when Druce was mired in the midst of a month-long slump, Murray never even suggested he might take him out of the lineup, as he did others who didn't score.

"John kept playing in all situations, power play and penalty killing, because he was doing a lot of good things," Murray said.

The good things finally resulted in a couple of goals yesterday as the Capitals ended an eight-game winless streak by beating the New Jersey Devils, 4-3, at Capital Centre.

Druce, who had 14 playoff goals last spring, was consistent through the first two months of the season. And he had an assist and an empty-net goal against the Islanders on Dec. 1. But in the 12 other December games, he managed just two assists. Bad Luck Dogs Zezel

Center Peter Zezel injured his left ankle again yesterday and left Capital Centre on crutches.

"I don't know how bad it is, we'll have to see {today}," said Zezel, who will be examined by team physicians.

Zezel missed seven weeks after initially injuring the ankle Oct. 30 in Vancouver. He returned to play three games, but then did not play Saturday in Quebec. He played the first two periods yesterday, but did not come out for the third.