Bondra's 4 goals, Pivonka's OT score lift Caps Bondra's hat trick in 3rd wipes out 3-goal Isles lead

February 04, 1996|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER -- Washington right wing Peter Bondra roared out of a four-game goal-less streak with four goals and two assists, including the one on the game-winner by Michal Pivonka with 1:21 gone in overtime, as he led the Capitals back from a three-goal deficit to a 6-5 victory over the New York Islanders last night.

It was one of the most entertaining games of the season and a sellout crowd of 18,130 was at the USAir Arena to see it.

"Of course this is something you dream about," Bondra said. "You picture comebacks and you scoring a hat trick. But I can't do it all by myself. I think our whole team played good. Jimmy [Carey] had a hard time, but he was there for the finish and we were getting a lot of good chances."

Bondra and Pivonka combined for 11 points and were the Capitals' offense in this one. Bondra assisted on Pivonka's short-handed goal in the first period that got the Caps on the scoreboard at 2-1.

Bondra then scored his first goal in the second to bring Washington within 4-2. He followed that with a natural hat trick in the third that wiped out a 5-2 Islanders edge.

When he assisted on Pivonka's game-winner, it was a career-high six-point night.

"We had nothing to lose when we were down 5-2," said Pivonka. "We've been there before. We just said, 'Let's go.' When everything goes this well like this, you hope it's going to be a good ending, too."

And it was, thanks to Bondra's pass landing on Pivonka's stick.

"I just backhanded it past the goalie," Pivonka said, making it sound easy.

Bondra hadn't scored in four games and had been struggling with the flu. He said he had been thinking about his mini-slump, and finally just told himself to "keep it simple." It worked.

"Sometimes it happens like this," said Washington coach Jim Schoenfeld. "He'd been under the weather in Montreal and Ottawa and wanted to do well and couldn't. There was a lot of pent-up energy. Tonight, he had the desire and physically was able to play and it paid big dividends not only for him but for us."

It is the first time the Caps had rallied from a three-goal deficit since the season opener at Winnipeg two years ago.

The Caps fell behind 2-0 in the first period on a short-handed goal by Niklas Andersson and an even-strength goal by Martin Straka, and were down 4-1 with 7:41 gone in the second.

"We thought we were playing pretty good," said Caps defenseman Mark Tinordi. "But we'd spend five minutes in their end and then they'd score. And then we'd spend five more minutes in their end and they'd score again.

"But the crowd got us going. I think a lot of the momentum came from them. And then Peter and Michal. I said on the bench, 'That line smells blood.' And I think the game plan became 'get the puck to those guys any way we can.' "

By the time the two teams got to overtime, the Capitals had used Carey and Olie Kolzig and Carey again to stop 16 of 21 Islanders shots, while New York goalie Tommy Soderstrom had stopped 37 of 42.

The win gives the Capitals a 25-21-5 record and a two-game winning streak as they prepare for a three-game western trip starting Wednesday in Edmonton.

N.Y. Islanders .. 3 .. 2 .. 0 .. 0 .. -- .. 5

Washington ...... 1 .. 1 .. 3 .. 1 .. -- .. 6

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