Jagr, Dahlen give Caps 2-2 tie

Result gratefully accepted after 2 straight shutouts

star further strains knee


November 03, 2001|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - After going 133 minutes and 11 seconds without a goal, the Washington Capitals finally scored, and it was Jaromir Jagr who broke the ice.

The Caps had suffered back-to-back shutouts and had seen the Phoenix Coyotes take the lead again last night before Ulf Dahlen won a battle along the boards and fed Jagr the puck for a power-play goal that tied the game the first time.

But that goal wasn't enough to open the goal-scoring floodgates. It took nearly all of two more periods before Dahlen would score in the last 71 seconds to earn the Caps a 2-2 tie.

A supportive crowd of 17,027 at MCI Center stuck with the Capitals through overtime and left the building with a lump in its throat after seeing Jagr take a hard hit from the Coyotes' Brad May with 1:58 left and crumple to the ice.

Jagr, already recovering from a severe right-knee strain, suffered a further slight strain to the knee and will be day-to-day as Washington (5-6-2) heads into tonight's game in St. Louis against the Blues (6-3-3).

"When you see a hit like that, that first thing you think is it's a cheap shot," said Capitals coach Ron Wilson. "But the films show it was a clean hit. It was just that his legs were along the boards and he was already nursing bumps and bruises."

And, said May, the man who hit Jagr, the Caps' all-world right wing was surprised by the hit.

"Hopefully, he's not hurt," said May. "That's not part of the game. But he was turning back to regroup and not expecting to get hit. He was in perfect position for me.

"It's a funny feeling. You don't want him hurt, but your initial reaction is that you feel good because you made a good hit."

The Coyotes were already on the board after a power-play goal by Danny Markov when Jagr put the Caps on the scoreboard for the first time in two-plus games. But that was no surprise, because Washington has scored the first goal only twice this season and not yet on home ice.

It took three power-play opportunities for the Capitals to finally tie the game at 1. The big right wing made the goal look easy as he stood wide-open in the right circle and simply slapped the puck between goalie Sean Burke's legs.

"I was set, ready for the shot," said Burke, who made 32 saves. "He just beat me."

The Coyotes, however, were not awed. They responded by scoring their second power-play goal 1:06 before intermission. This time, it was a snap shot by Claude Lemieux, who had worked his way free in front of goalie Olie Kolzig (17 saves) and whipped the puck into the net.

For a long time, it looked as if it might be the winning goal. But, with only 1:27 left on the clock, Wilson pulled Kolzig and sent in a major goal-scoring group - Jagr, Dahlen, Peter Bondra, Jeff Halpern, Andrei Nikolishin and Sergei Gonchar.

At 1:11, Gonchar relayed the puck to Halpern for a big slap shot and Dahlen, standing beside the near post, conrolled the rebound and lofted the puck over Burke.

Less than a minute into overtime, Jagr found himself one-one-one in the Phoenix zone and made a wonderful spin move to get off a potential game-winning shot, only to see Burke knock it away.

Phoenix 2 0 0 0 - 2

Washington 1 0 1 0 - 2

First period - 1, Phoenix, Markov 2 (Lemieux, Langkow), 5:24 (pp). 2, Washington, Jagr 5 (Dahlen), 13:11 (pp). 3, Phoenix, Lemieux 4 (Berezin), 18:54 (pp). Penalties - Cote, Was (holding), 5:03; Vaananen, Pho (roughing), 5:46; Markov, Pho (high-sticking), 8:52; Lemieux, Pho (slashing), 12:21; Sacco, Was (slashing), 14:09; Klee, Was (tripping), 17:16; Simpson, Pho (cross-checking), 19:59. Second period - None. Penalties - Linden, Was (high-sticking), 7:12; Cote, Was (tripping), 16:06. Third period - 4, Washington, Dahlen 5 (Halpern, Gonchar), 18:49. Penalties - Burke, Pho, served by Kolanos (tripping), 11:29; Numminen, Pho (hooking), 18:33. Overtime-None. Penalties-None. Shots on goal - Phoenix 6-6-5-2-19. Washington 11-7-12-4-34. Power-play opportunities - Phoenix 2 of 5; Washington 2 of 6. Goalies - Phoenix, Burke 5-3-3 (34 shots-32 saves). Washington, Kolzig 5-5-1 (19-17). A - 17,027 (18,672).

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