Penguins have shot for knockout punch Caps know they must get to Wregget in Game 6 today

April 28, 1996|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

The Pittsburgh Penguins will go for the knockout punch today in Round 6 -- make that Game 6 -- of the NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal with the Washington Capitals.

The Penguins have a 3-2 lead in the series after a rough, 4-1 triumph in Pittsburgh on Friday night. Game 6 is 3 p.m. today at USAir Arena in Landover. Game 7, if necessary, will be in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.

"For us, it's do or die," said Capitals goalie Olie Kolzig. "We're going to come out hungry and determined to win that hockey game no matter what it takes."

Kolzig has become Washington's leading goalie in this series, backstopping the Capitals' two wins and their four-overtime Game 4 loss. And in Game 5, he swooped out of his crease and out of the Capitals' zone to come to the aid of captain Dale Hunter, who was tied up with Pittsburgh's Francois Leroux.

"Leroux is -- what? -- 6-6 and 250 almost, and the linesman had him by one hand," said Kolzig. "I mean, there wasn't anyone to come in and help Huntsy out. We're down 4-1, there's 1: 10 left, I'm not going to let my captain [get beat up]. . . . Huntsy can handle himself, but there was no need to risk another injury. It was more or less frustration and looking out for a teammate."

It was just one among a number of bizarre incidents in Game 5, which included on-ice fights, a confrontation on the bench between Capitals coach Jim Schoenfeld and Pittsburgh assistant Bryan Trottier over strategies, and post-match accusations by both sides about the other team's character and sportsmanship.

And the Capitals, after getting Craig Berube, Keith Jones and Steve Konowalchuk back from the team's excessive injury list, lost Pat Peake with a broken heel, after he crashed feetfirst into the boards. The Capitals also sent Joe Juneau for a CT scan of his left rib, which was hurt during Friday night's game.

Just another night in Capitals-Penguins history, and it came one game after the teams had combined for the third-longest game in NHL history.

The Capitals were perfect in penalty killing Friday, shutting out the Penguins on nine tries, including a 5-on-3 for 1: 33. But Schoenfeld said the Capitals have to take fewer penalties tonight.

"And the big key is to get to [Ken] Wregget," said Schoenfeld. "Wregget's been spectacular for two games now. We outshot and out-chanced them -- but you've got to outscore. And so he's been the difference."

This is the first time since the 1990-91 playoffs, five postseason meetings ago, that the Penguins have carried a lead into a series game against the Capitals.

"Our momentum is good," said Pittsburgh's Dave Roche. "We're carrying it into the next game. What happened [in Game 5] doesn't do anything to affect that."

NOTES: Schoenfeld said goalie Jim Carey will start tonight's game. . . . The Capitals and Penguins said that film of the fighting in Game 5 should be reviewed by the league. Yesterday, league officials said any penalties would be announced before today's game. . . . The Penguins recalled goaltender Phillippe DeRouville, defenseman Stefan Bergkvist and forward Rusty Fitzgerald from the International Hockey League's Cleveland Lumberjacks.

Pub Date: 4/28/96

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