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The Wayback Machine - Caps Come Back

by Mike Vogel / Washington Capitals
On October 23, 1991, the Washington Capitals rallied for a 6-5 win against the Edmonton Oilers before a crowd of 15,044 at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, Alberta.

The Capitals were outshot 14-5 in the first period, and fell behind 3-0 after one period of play. Washington head coach Terry Murray replaced goaltender Jim Hrivnak with Mike Liut to start the second period, but Edmonton quickly scored on its first shot on Luit, a breakaway goal by Josef Beranek.

“It’s tough to come off the bench and look at a breakaway,” Liut told reporters, “I thought we were cooked then.”

Down 4-0, the Capitals staged one of the greatest comebacks in franchise history. The team scored five unanswered goals, capped off by Dino Ciccarelli’s goal at 8:11 of the third period to take a 5-4 lead. Edmonton would tie the game on a power-play goal by future Capital Esa Tikkanen at 10:58, but Washington converted on a late power-play of its own on a goal from Dmitri Khristich with 2:08 left.

With the win, the Caps were off to the best nine-game start in franchise history (8-1-0) behind an offense that led the league goals scored with 42. The team had scored five or more goals in seven of the first nine games of the season.

The Capitals would go on to set a team single-season record for goals scored with 330 tallies in the 1991-92 season en route to a second-place finish in the Patrick Division.

On four different occasions, Caps teams have rallied from four-goal deficits to win games, with three of those occurring on the road. At the time, the win over Edmonton was the biggest road comeback since the Caps rallied for a 5-4 win over the Hartford Whalers on Feb. 2, 1986. In that game, Liut, playing for the Whalers, was the losing goaltender.

The Capitals most recently overcame a four-goal deficit last season, rallying to beat the New York Rangers, 5-4, in overtime on Dec. 23, 2008 at Madison Square Garden.

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