An otherwise encouraging 2-1 victory for the Washington Capitals over the Edmonton Oilers last night was marred by a fight that broke out over alleged racial slurs by Capitals winger Chris Simon. The remarks were directed at Edmonton's Mike Grier, who is black, and earned Simon, a Native American, a gross misconduct from game officials.

The incident, which occurred after the final buzzer, will be reviewed by NHL Vice President Brian Burke, said NHL director of officiating Bryan Lewis, who was at US Airways Arena. A decision on possible punishment is expected before the Capitals play the Florida Panthers at Miami Arena tonight.

"It was Simon who apparently made some racial slurs," Lewis said. "The league said suspension {is likely} in the case of something like this. There was a directive issued. It contained a number of things in terms of incidents and player conduct."

Both Grier and Simon, who wears his hair long and has a tattoo to honor his heritage, declined to discuss the incident.

"I definitely heard a racial slur from Mr. Simon, which I thought with his race and proud background that he wouldn't do that," Edmonton Coach Ron Low said.

"I would imagine that from the memo from the league there would be a suspension. We were told that a month ago."

When asked if referee Paul Devorski heard the alleged slur, Low said that linesman Gord Broseker heard it. "He assured me coming off the ice that he heard it," Low said.

Several Capitals players declined to comment, and Coach Ron Wilson said he didn't hear Simon's comments, but Oilers captain Kelly Buchberger was upset.

"We're of all different nationalities," he said. "You just don't fire words like that around. You're showing no class."

The incident overshadowed a personal milestone for Phil Housley and an important win for Washington that pushed the team's record to 9-6-2. Housley recorded an assist on the Capitals' first goal, earning his 1,000th career point. Housley is the fifth defenseman -- and only the second American-born player -- in NHL history to reach the benchmark, and his teammates celebrated by leaving the bench to congratulate him.

It was also a special night for right wing Pat Peake, who played his first game of the season. Peake had been sick at the beginning of October and then needed some time to recondition his heel, which he shattered in the 1996 playoffs. Peake, who played just four games last season, took shifts on a line with Simon and Michal Pivonka last night and also got time on the power play.

"I'm happy. We won the game, we played well and we came out ready to play at the start of the game," Wilson said. "It's great that {Housley got his 1,000th point}, and early in the game too, so it wouldn't weigh on him as the game wore on."

Housley's 1,000th point came on a power-play goal by defenseman Calle Johansson at 4 minutes 48 seconds of the first period. The Capitals were on a five-on-three advantage, one of two such advantages they would enjoy in the period. Executing what has now become the trademark of the team's power play, Adam Oates made a pass from the low corner of the offensive zone to Housley at the point. Housley tapped the puck to the opposite point, where Johansson took the slap shot for the goal.

Edmonton's Craig Millar tied the game at 1:11 of the second period after the Capitals chased a puck to the right boards and blew some coverages. But Oates scored the game-winner on a controversial play just 30 seconds into the third period, and Washington was able to hold on for the victory despite three third-period Edmonton power plays.

"We just went hard to the net," Wilson said of the game-winner. To score it, Oates batted the puck out of the air while goaltender Curtis Joseph was floundering to make a save on Sylvain Cote. Joseph caught Oates's shot with his glove but video replay reviews showed his glove in the net at the time.

"We've been talking {about having} to go to the net," Wilson said. "We're going to keep harping on that."

Capitals Notes: Center Jan Bulis suffered a slight concussion in the second period after a hit by Boris Mironov. He did not return. . . . Peake may have played four games toward the end of last season, but he said he never felt completely healthy when he was on the ice. "The way I look at it, it's been two years," he said of his return to the lineup last night. "It's been a tough road, but the coaches and George {McPhee} have been very, very supportive. . . . They've done a lot for me."

Peake, who has had a variety of injuries never before seen in the NHL, was the Capitals' first-round pick (14th overall) in the 1991 draft. He has scored 28 goals in 134 career games, and assistant coach Tim Army thinks that if he can stay healthy, he can increase both of those figures. "We need goal scorers right now and he's got that gift," Army said. "We felt good about him in training camp. You can just tell about him that he's a guy who's got a nose for the puck.". . . . Denis Potvin, Paul Coffey, Ray Bourque and Larry Murphy are the other defensemen who have recorded 1,000 career points. All four are Canadian. In fact, Housley, who became the 48th player to record 1,000 points, is the only American-born player on the list besides Joey Mullen, who reached the milestone last season. . . . The Capitals alumni will play the St. Mary's ice hockey team at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 to raise money for the Kevin E. Reichardt Foundation's scholarship fund. Yvon Labre, Paul Mulvey, Bryan Watson and Gary Rissling will be among the former Capitals on the ice at SkateNation of Piney Orchard. . . . Washington will hold its annual canned food drive on Nov. 22, offering a free ticket to a future game to fans who bring a non-perishable food item to that night's home game against the San Jose Sharks. CAPTION: Teammates mob Phil Housley, center, after he earned his 1,000th career point by assisting defenseman Calle Johansson on a power-play goal in the first period. (Photo ran in an earlier edition)