Next to whacking opponents, there’s nothing a hockey defense
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) _ Next to whacking opponents, there’s nothing a hockey defenseman enjoys more than getting a chance to score.
Perched on the crease, his familiar power play spot, Washington’s Scott Stevens broke a 1-1 tie early in the second period, and the Caps went to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in a National Hockey League game Tuesday night.
″It’s nice to play some offense once in awhile.″ Stevens said. ″My main purpose is to try and screen the goalie, but I’m also able to get some rebounds and tip-ins.
″If it wasn’t for the power play, I’d only have four goals,″ Stevens said. ″They’re just garbage goals, but it’s the kind we need.″
Bob Carpenter, who leads Washington with 45 goals, disagreed with Stevens’ assessment.
″Nobody asks how you scored,″ Carpenter said, ″but just how many. Scott does a good job in there. He pulls the defense in so we can move around, and he’s big enough to take the abuse.″
The victory in Washington’s first home game in 17 days enabled the first- place Caps to maintain a two-point lead over Philadelphia in the Patrick Division. The Flyers defeated Hartford 3-2 Tuesday night.
Stevens scored his 15th goal of the season, his 11th on an extra-man play, tipping in a shot by Mike McEwen at 5:00 of the second period.
Bob Gould made it 3-1 for Washington at the 7:06 mark, a margin that held until Patrik Sundstrom scored for the Canucks at 14:11 of the third period.
Bengt Gustafsson, back after missing six games with a pulled hamstring, scored the lone goal of the first period at 19:56 for Washington. Petri Skriko tied it for Vancouver at 1:51 of the second period.
It was the third consecutive loss for Vancouver, which was held to two shots on goal in the first period.