LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals managed to stuff every emotion possible into their encounter with the Pittsburgh Penguins last night.
But the one that was most lasting was dejection after the Penguins pulled out a 3-2 overtime victory when goalie Jim Carey tried to do too much.
With 2:12 to go in the overtime, Jaromir Jagr was being covered by Mark Tinordi as he circled behind the Caps' net. Instead of holding his position in front of the net and following the play to the far post, Carey skated around the near post and tried to poke the puck from Jagr's stick.
He missed and Jagr continued on his course for the wraparound that Carey could not get back to cover.
It resulted in the first Penguins' goal of the night that a Washington player did not direct into the net.
"If I hadn't tried to poke the puck away, Jagr would have walked right out front of the net or passed out front," said Carey, who made 22 saves. "I'd do the same thing again."
Caps coach Jim Schoenfeld hopes not.
"It wasn't the play for him to make," Schoenfeld said. "But it was a split-second decision. . . . Obviously, the final result was disheartening, but I don't know if we could play a much better hockey game.
"And as bad as they feel tonight, they have to mount back up and go back at it tomorrow."
The teams will meet in a rematch tonight in Pittsburgh and the game will get harder for Washington (9-8-1). Last night, the Penguins (10-3-3) got their first victory while playing without Mario Lemieux. Tonight, Lemieux will be back.
Adding to Washington's problems is a back strain suffered by Tinordi at the end of the second period. The big defenseman hurt himself when making a hit on Jagr at the blue line in the final seconds. It came on the same shift and just before he backed up to try to cut down the Penguins' two-on-one break and inadvertently diverted the puck into the net.
"I tried to get my hands on the puck, tried to get my skate on the puck, but I couldn't reach it," said Tinordi, who also tried to take the blame for the final goal.
"I went to check Jagr in the corner, but I wasn't strong enough," he said. "My back just gave out. But I should have gotten body position. I should never have left him out of the corner. If I'd done that, Jim wouldn't have had that decision to make."
Tinordi was walking gingerly after the game and said: "Right now, it's enough to keep me out. But we'll see how I feel [today]."
Pittsburgh's first two goals were scored by the Caps. The first one, credited to Glen Murray, went in off defenseman Joe Reekie's skate with 9:57 gone in the first period.
The second goal, credited to Petr Nedved, resulted when Tinordi cut off a cross-ice pass in front of the net and inadvertently sent it on a tantalizingly slow course, just out of everyone's reach, into the Caps' goal with three seconds left in the middle period.
"This is unbelievable," said Caps center Joe Juneau. "It's awful. We go out there and work harder and harder and everything you do turns bad.
"Is there a reason for it? . . . I don't remember the last time I got a point -- and I don't remember the last time I could say that."
The Caps did fight back. They got on the board quickly in the third period, with Tinordi and Kelly Miller assisting on Ken Klee's slap shot that bounced off Pittsburgh goalie Tom Barrasso's shoulder and tumbled into the net with 37 seconds gone.
And with 2:54 to play, Sergei Gonchar completed a relay from Brendan Witt to Steve Konowalchuk for a 2-2 tie.
,3 But that's all Barrasso would allow, as he completed his night's work with 32 saves.
This was Washington's second overtime game in two games, after not having had one in their first 16 games.
NOTES: Jim Johnson returned to the lineup, teaming with Jones and Jeff Nelson, who was called up from Portland this week. . . . Left wing Craig Berube was scratched from the lineup, as he continues to recover from a concussion incurred seven days ago in Toronto. . . . The Caps introduced their new mascot, Slapshot, a bald eagle. Slapshot was named in a contest won by Stephanie Williams, a 10-year-old fifth-grader from Fairfax
Pittsburgh 1 1 0 1 -- 3
Washington 0 0 2 0 -- 2
Opponent: Pittsburgh Penguins
Site: Civic Arena, Pittsburgh
TV/Radio: Channel 50/WNAV (1430 AM)
Outlook: The Capitals and Penguins conclude their home-and-home series. The Penguins will have C Mario Lemieux in the lineup. Lemieux, who leads the NHL in scoring, rested last night as a precautionary measure. Yesterday, Washington acquired D Eric Charron, 22, from the Tampa Bay Lightning for future considerations. Charron, 6 feet 3, was the 20th pick overall in the 1988 entry draft, taken in the first round by Montreal. Charron reported directly to the Caps' AHL affiliate in Portland, Maine. Pittsburgh reports D Sergei Zubov (broken finger) and RW Ed Patterson (leg surgery) are out. Washington RW Peter Bondra (separated shoulder) and C Pat Peake (thyroid cartilage) are out.