Penguins finally win long night's journey Pittsburgh beats Caps in 4th OT, 3-2, in 3rd longest game

April 25, 1996|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER -- Pittsburgh's Petr Nedved ripped a shot past Washington goalie Olie Kolzig at 19: 16 of the fourth overtime to give the Penguins a 3-2 victory over the Capitals last night in the third longest game in NHL history.

The win evened their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at two games apiece with Game 5 tomorrow in Pittsburgh.

The Capitals have not beaten the Penguins in overtime in three tries and are 0-6 in overtime playoff games since 1991.

Nedved's goal -- his sixth of the series -- came with Jim Johnson in the Capitals' penalty box for hooking.

The game was the longest in 60 years and surpassed the Capitals' April 18, 1987, match against the New York Islanders, in which Washington played 68: 47 of overtime, before losing.

The only two games that went longer were in 1933 and 1936. Both those games went to six overtimes.

Penguins captain Mario Lemieux missed the last 100 minutes of the game after getting his first game-misconduct of the season.

Last night's game had everything. But what do you expect when two teams play this long?

Washington's best chance at winning was a penalty shot that Joe Juneau took with 4: 16 left in the second overtime. Ken Wregget, who had 53 saves, made the stop.

It was the Caps' fourth penalty shot in playoff history -- they've missed all four -- and the 30th overall in postseason play -- only 10 have been successful.

Pittsburgh had its own great chance to end the game 1: 01 into the second overtime when Nedved got behind the Capitals' defense and went in on Kolzig, who made a franchise-record 62 saves. But Kolzig won the one-on-one battle.

The Capitals were able to take their first-two goal lead of the series, but, like Pittsburgh in Games 1 and 2, found it impossible to keep it.

With 12 minutes left in the third period, Nedved scored a power-play goal to tie the game at 2 and force overtime.

By that time, Kolzig, had seen 42 shots and stopped 40 of them.

At the other end, Tom Barrasso made eight saves and gave up a goal to Michal Pivonka on the power play before leaving at the end of the first period with muscle spasms. In relief, Wregget allowed a power-play goal, this one to Peter Bondra.

It was Kolzig's second start of the series and his 13th start of the season.

As the Capitals attempted to build on their 2-1 lead in the second period, Todd Krygier got under Lemieux's skin. The two collided with 36.2 seconds left in the period and their sticks went flying. When Krygier got up, he roughed up Lemieux, which didn't sit well with the Penguins' star.

As Krygier skated away, Lemieux picked up his stick and slashed at the back of Krygier's left knee and then hurled himself on top of the Caps' left wing, taking him to the ice, where he pummeled him.

Lemieux was given his first game misconduct and five-minute major for fighting of the season and two minutes for slashing. Krygier was given two minutes for roughing, and Caps forward Pat Peake, who seemed to be just trying to restrain Lemeiux, was given a game misconduct for being the third man in.

For the Caps, it was a good exchange, but they couldn't score on the five-minute power play. That turned out to be a big missed opportunity, when Nedved scored on a Penguins power play with 12 minutes left to tie the game at 2.

The Capitals managed to elude the curse of the first three Pittsburgh shots last night. And the first period got better from that point.

Kolzig had 16 saves by the end of the first period, as many as Jim Carey had in all of Game 4.

But that's the way the Capitals' goalies like it. Gets them in the game, they say. And last night, it certainly had Kolzig in the game and on his game.

When Chris Tamer took Pittsburgh's second shot from long range and Kevin Miller followed it up only to have Kolzig save both of them at 16: 43, the sellout crowd of 18,130 at USAir Arena erupted.

"Olie! Olie!" went the cry.

Kolzig continued to stump the Penguins throughout the period.

At 2: 55, he made what may have been his best save, sticking out a leg to block a bullet from Lemieux.

Pub Date: 4/26/96

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