Caps' power play clicks in 5-2 win

Jagr is hurt

Undercut star injures leg early in win over Rangers

October 11, 2001|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -The Washington Capitals were finally able to show off their power play last night and won, 5-2, pulling away from the New York Rangers.

But, it wasn't all good news for the Caps. Superstar Jaromir Jagr was dragged down in the opening period and did not return, and veteran defenseman Brendan Witt was also sidelined by the end of the game.

"Jags has a leg injury, and I think he's day-to-day right now," said Capitals coach Ron Wilson. "He got slew-footed [legs kicked out from under him] and Witter [Witt] got slew-footed twice and couldn't finish the game, either.

"We'll be OK. We'll lick our wounds and go on. ... I'm not worried about anybody's injury. But it's just uncalled for. When your [co-] captain does not finish, and the best player in the league doesn't get out of the first period, something isn't right."

The power play is supposed to be one of Washington's strengths this season with Jagr, Peter Bondra, Adam Oates and offensive-defenseman Sergei Gonchar providing firepower, and last night, with five power-play opportunities in the first period, the Caps finally got to show it off.

Gonchar scored twice and Sylvan Cote once as Washington blasted its way to a three-goal lead in the opening period against 18-year-old rookie goalie Dan Blackburn.

The Rangers rallied for goals by Zdeno Ciger and Radek Dvorak, but Washington quashed their hopes in the third period with a timely, even-strength score by Ulf Dahlen followed by another power-play goal from Bondra.

"Dan played fine," said Rangers coach Ron Low of his rookie goalie, who is the fourth-youngest goaltender ever to start an NHL game.

"He made a lot of terrific saves. ... Other than the first goal, I thought he was really solid."

In their first two games, the Capitals allowed opposing teams 14 power plays. Last night, they allowed the Rangers five more, but not before they had taken control of the game.

"We were definitely more intense tonight," said Caps co-captain Steve Konowalchuck, who assisted on Dahlen's goal.

Olie Kolzig made 25 saves on 27 shots last night, the fewest shots he has seen in three games, while his rookie counterpart was holding his own, making 37 saves despite allowing five goals.

Washington (2-1) will now begin a three-game West Coast swing before returning to MCI Center on Oct. 19 against Montreal.

The Caps had just taken the 3-0 lead on Cote's goal when the Rangers' Igor Ulanov, encouraged by his coach to play "in-your-face" hockey against Jagr, did just that. Jagr was rushing down the right side of the rink when Ulanov caught up to him and brought him to the ice.

The Caps' right wing already had two assists and appeared destined to do more damage. But when Ulanov took him down, seemingly using his leg to take Jagr off his skates, Jagr landed badly, his legs twisting awkwardly.

He did not return to the ice. He is now listed as day-to-day, as is Witt and fellow defenseman Calle Johansson, who was given the night off after taking a hard hit from behind during Monday's game in Boston.

Washington 3 0 2 - 5

N.Y. Rangers 0 2 0 - 2

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